marketers working from home
March 26, 2020

Marketers working from home, how to survive it, part 2

By Paul Laughlin

Continuing our welcomed focus on how to adapt to recent changes, here is part 2 of our series on marketers working from home (and others).

To be fair, this set of tips from guest blogger, Simon Daniels, applies as much to any leader and indeed everyone else. Building on the 4 tips that Simon shared with us in part 1, he now shares 3 more to help you practically adjust.

Having spent most of today in 9 different video conference meeting, I’m conscious of the need for everyone to be suitably equipped. So, I will also be sharing some technology advice in a coming post. Plus, guest blogger William Buist will return to share tips for leaders working to maintain team morale.

For now, though, back to Simon to help us lay the foundations. This time he continues the theme I started on the importance of social interactions, as well as touching on the need to maintain work/life balance (as I discussed with Kevin Watson in his recent podcast interview). Over to Simon…

Continuing my list from where we left off. Here are the final three. Wider considerations to not overlook at this time.

(5) Social small-talk

Many organisations have already instigated “virtual coffee breaks”, comprising a standing calendar invite and dial-in link that anyone can join to hang-out for a few minutes. Simulating the water cooler or break room random encounters and banter that would normally happen in the office.

This is well worth setting-up if it hasn’t been already and extending as widely as practical. Clearly, in larger organisations, it will be necessary to place a limit on the number of attendees and perhaps set-up more than one. But they shouldn’t be restricted to individual teams as the idea is to encourage wider interactions.

(6) Adapting your team meetings

That’s not to say that teams shouldn’t catch-up regularly though of course. I used to hold a daily agile-stylestand-up” meeting with a fully-present team I was running in the past. That could easily be translated to virtual, providing the opportunity for everyone to update on actions, forthcoming deliverables and blockers.

This is a good way to maintain team cohesion and coordination that makes up for the loss of casual interaction during the day. Teams should also be encouraged to make liberal use of collaboration tools such as Slack or MS Teams to share anecdotes or even just say “good morning!” every day.

My experience of managing remote staff is that there is a balance to be struck between being unnecessarily intrusive and inadvertently removed. Depending on the seniority and experience of each individual, more or less contact time may be appropriate, ranging from a daily check-in call to less frequent one-to-ones.

A quick chat message in between though can give people the chance to raise an issue or query without feeling that they’re bugging you. I usually stipulate video-on as well, reflecting my previous points, which naturally creates a more face-to-face experience.

(7) Don’t forget to ‘leave the office’

At the end of the day, it’s important to actually finish work. As we all know, it’s hard enough at the best of times to switch off. But not being able to leave the office and wind-down on the way home makes it especially challenging.

Try and set a finish time and commit to “getting home” at a reasonable time. If you can shut the door on your working space then so much the better. But regardless, log out and deactivate notifications. Especially on personal devices.

Most collaboration and messaging tools allow working hours to be set, outside of which notifications are muted, so make use of such a feature where available.

Some also allow ad hoc “do not disturb” periods to be set for specific durations, which can be useful when taking a break, if for no other reason than to notify others not to expect an immediate response. If there’s a genuinely urgent issue, there’s always the phone.

Then, when the day is over and you’re no longer at the office, you can kick-off those work shoes and know you’re home.

Did those tips help you? How are you doing?

Thanks to Simon for his thoughts & practical advice for marketers working from home. I know that he’s keen to hear feedback. Both on his ideas and any other practical tips you may have. So, please do use the comment box below or social media to share those.

If you’re keen to hear more practical advice from those experienced at working from home, check out my podcast. In episode 4, you can hear from William Buist and in episode 6 from Kevin Watson. Both also offer their tips for getting working from home working.