As the creative brain of a company, you might think that marketing teams would benefit the most from in-person collaboration. In an office setting, impromptu meetings and brainstorming sessions are common, and can often lead to great ideas. But more people are working remotely now than ever before, and marketing managers must adapt to new ways of leading their teams. A mindset shift is the first order of business when effectively leading a remote marketing team. You need to realize that work is a thing that you do, rather than a place that you go. There really isn’t any reason that a team can’t be just as productive and creative outside of the office, given the abundance of collaboration tools and technology we have available.
In fact, 86% of workers say they feel more productive working remotely. However, according to Hubspot’s remote work report, most also said they needed more support from managers and better technology to do their job. That need for additional support can be hard to balance with the added layer of technology between you and your team. If you previously had an open-door policy, or a culture of deskside problem solving with your team, it can be a challenge to replicate that ease of communication online. But the solution is not to try replicating those in-office collaboration tactics. Instead, you’ll need to explore new ways of communicating with your team and find what works best for everyone.
I’ve had the unique opportunity to work primarily remotely for more than a decade, leading employees in different work environments across various time zones. While I admit, it can be hectic at times, I’ve learned a lot about how to connect with people in a meaningful way in our increasingly digital world. To that end, here are the three things I found to be most important for effectively leading a remote marketing team.
Don’t expect your team to know what you want from them. Give them more direction than you would in the office. When you’re in the office and interacting with your team every day, it’s much easier to keep track of what everyone is working on. You may not need as many formal meetings or status updates when a quick deskside chat will do. When everyone is working remotely, it can be a challenge to effectively keep everyone informed. Communication issues are a problem often cited by employees and managers alike.
To combat this, whether it’s setting targets, assigning tasks, or asking for updates, communicate often what’s needed and what you expect. This is especially important when you are communicating primarily online. Email, messaging services and collaboration tools add an extra layer of communication with your team, and they can simplify many things within your overall workflow. Rather than assigning tasks in a meeting and expecting them to get done, use a project management tool to aggregate tasks, deadlines and resources. Provide as much information as you can and outline specific outcomes you want to achieve and be sure to provide feedback and discuss those outcomes.