This article was previously published on B&T.
Before COVID-19 changed the way businesses work, most marketing teams spent their days together in a meeting room collaborating on the next big brand activation or huddled around someone’s computer reviewing the analytics from the recent digital campaign.
But now? Many companies have made the switch to allowing employees to work a lot more flexibly — whether that be the hours they are available or the location they choose to call the office for the day. And while this has had many benefits in terms of work-life balance, job satisfaction and improved productivity, it does mean it’s harder to get the whole team in the one (physical) place at the same time, which can impact the culture and communication between your team.
So, without face-to-face catch ups, team lunches and incidental conversations, how can you build a successful remote marketing team? Here are my top five tips.
1) Establish team communication rituals
As marketers, most of you are used to using a range of different communication platforms in your job. But even the most tech-savvy person can find the slew of notifications and variety of channels overwhelming when working alone.
As a team, it’s important to discuss and agree on what works best for you — for example, you might decide that Slack is used for quick questions or general discussions, a shared document works for brainstorming ideas and picking up the phone is best if something urgent comes up.
When you schedule virtual team meetings, make sure there is a clear agenda and you stick to the allocated time (just as you would if you’d booked a slot in an office meeting room), as there’s nothing worse than hanging up from a Zoom call feeling like you’ve wasted time.
2) Utilise your brand and style guides
Whether you’re working on a set of digital ads, a blog post or a client email, marketers (more than anyone else in the business), need to ensure they are living the brand consistently.
Because of this, ensuring you have up-to-date digital brand and style guides for everyone in the team to refer to is a must. This will provide consistency in every piece of marketing collateral that goes out, but will also take away potential stress and guesswork for the team.
3) Consider inter-team collaboration
Remember the days of joint sales and marketing meetings or casual catch-ups at the coffee machine? Ensuring that strong alignment and relationships are built between marketing and other relevant teams in the company is not just good for business but it’s important for building a healthy team culture.
Regardless of whether you’re a junior social media coordinator or the General Manager of marketing, understanding your wider role in business goals and having access to information is important for fostering connections. Setting up a monthly call between relevant sales and marketing managers is a good start.
4) Prioritise wellbeing
Marketers are a passionate bunch, so encouraging your team to make sure they don’t burn out is more important than ever when you don’t have oversight over their daily routines.
As long as everyone keeps calendars updated and communicates proactively, there’s nothing wrong with being flexible about blackout periods if people aren’t available for meetings, for example a parent who has to go and pick their child up from childcare.
You might even like to suggest blocking out diaries over lunchtime and stepping away from screens to get out for a walk (or a takeaway pizza, self-care comes in many forms!). And if your team is scattered across various locations, it’s good to be mindful of timezones when you schedule meetings.
5) Take remote onboarding seriously
Whether you’re building a new remote marketing team from scratch or hiring a new remote role, it’s important to have a solid onboarding process in place. Not only is it the new-starter’s first impression of the company, but it’s also the time for you to set expectations around many of the above points like communication, collaboration and work styles.
Schedule regular video calls and help them get comfortable with the different programs and systems you use are a few good places to start. Most of all, don’t overwhelm them and try to break up onboarding training with introductory calls with other team members, so they have a chance to break up all the reading with conversations, just like you would in an office.