Corporations are moving away from office spaces in droves, instead adopting the advantages of completely remote teams.
Often built from members all over the globe, remote marketing teams tend to either thrive or crumble entirely in this fully remote setting.
Over 70% of workers find a better work-life balance when they work remotely. A happier staff should equal higher productivity, right? Interestingly, this isn’t always the case.
In this article, we’ve outlined six tips for managers of remote marketing teams to improve their team’s morale and relationships, in order to boost productivity.
6 Tips To Manage A Productive Remote Marketing Team
1. Cultivate a healthy, friendly team culture
Synergy is the force that binds remote teams — the largest detractor to remote-team synergy is poor communication. Without frequent, inclusive, and open communication between team members, you can expect:
- Poor productivity and collaboration;
- Team members feel disconnected or out of place;
- Intra-team issues and burnout aren’t communicated;
- Goals or deadlines missed completely.
Regular team meetings are a good start to get your team communicating effectively. When appropriate, one-on-one meetings help to clear up any underlying issues with a single team member (as long as you avoid making them feel singled out).
2. Set clear expectations, goals, and deadlines
As much as poor communication can be attributed to team culture, the blame can often lie with you, the manager. Even more than in-office teams, remote teams require crystal-clear expectations and goals.
Your team might consist of individuals from half a dozen time zones, so ensuring you’re all working on the same timeline is key. Especially in marketing, deadlines can mean everything.
As a remote marketing team manager:
- Define deadlines by time zone, as to avoid misinterpretation;
- Clearly express minimum working hours, weekly progress, etc.;
- Check in regularly to ensure goals are being met.
3. Equip your team with the right tools
A remote team is only as effective as the tools you equip them with. Productivity and communication apps are the obvious choices, but what many teams disregard, is their cyber safety.
Cyber attacks happen on marketing firms and teams of all sizes, stealing everything from client data to confidential business information. Malware, IP address hacks, and phishing pose the biggest threat to your team.
At the very least, the tools your team NEEDS are:
- Communication and team meeting platforms;
- Project management tools like Trello or Asana;
- Any relevant marketing, design, or research software;
- Cybersecurity tools like antivirus, VPNs, password managers, etc.;
- Accurate, non-invasive time-tracking tools.
4. Understand the nature of remote workers
Why do you hear of so many failed remote marketing teams? It’s often due to a manager who doesn’t understand the difference between remote and in-office workers. Assuming that what works for one, works for the other, is a huge mistake.
Remote workers often suffer from a feeling of disconnection and loneliness. Strict managers often drive these individuals away with their overbearing management styles. The best remote team managers learn to compromise to suit their team.
This team chose to be remote for one reason or another — whether due to flexible working hours, freedom of location, or personal preference. By understanding and compromising with your team, you can work with them to improve productivity.
Another key to managing a successful remote marketing team is investing in DEI training for hybrid workplaces. Such training helps managers and team members alike to understand the varied dynamics and cultures that influence remote working environments. Through this training, teams can learn the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, which is critical when team members span different geographies, backgrounds, and time zones.
5. Include appropriate team-building practices
Try as hard as you like, but forcing your team into boring team-building exercises will do little to improve productivity. However, productivity gains can still be made through this method, but only with extreme precision.
Team-building exercises do work, but the bulk of existing exercises were designed for in-office teams. These workers already know each other on a personal level, as they get to hang out and catch up every day at the office.
These exercises tend to fall apart when applied to remote teams. This is a group of individuals who don’t know each other as well as an in-office team. Choose your team-building exercises based on:
- The kind of work you already do (e.g.: “sell me this tube of toothpaste…”);
- Promoting sharing and friendship between team members;
- Explore more casual options like virtual dinners, seminars, etc.
6. Invest in premium onboarding and training
No matter how rigorous your hiring process, poor onboarding and a lack of further training spell bad news for a remote marketing team. In an industry where goalposts change constantly, having a well-trained workforce is paramount.
Not only does a strong onboarding practice improve employee satisfaction and understanding, but they’re also up to 82% more likely to keep their job. Hiring is always costly and time-consuming too, which hinders productivity.
In the beginning, powerful onboarding tools make sure your workforce feels confident in their roles. From then on, offering further training increases industry knowledge, trust in you as an employer, and ultimately, productivity.
With something as nuanced as a remote team, marketing managers need to stay on their toes and be ready to adapt to their diverse team.
Through targeted improvements, team managers can see dramatic boosts to their team’s output, quality of work, and productivity.