We live in an ever-changing environment and work landscape. More people are now choosing to be remote team members or freelancers and they expect companies to be able to accommodate this way of working. In addition to changing preferences for methods of work, there is also a more current and more environmental effect that is pushing people towards work remotely. ‘Working from home’ is a privilege for some office workers but may become a more forced reality of working in 2020 and beyond. Here are some ways that technology can help your workforce become a well-oiled remote working machine.
At the time of writing the largest remote working experiment in history is taking place as companies across the globe instruct their employees to work at home in order to assist infection control and curb the spread of COVID19 aka the coronavirus. While the magnitude of this directive is unprecedented it is not the first instance in modern times that companies have had to ask their workers to stay at home. On multiple occasions in recent years, extreme weather and subsequent warnings have enforced closures of offices and climate change patterns would suggest that this scenario will be repeated in the future.
This blog is not a eulogy though - it is an acknowledgement of change and a short guide on how certain solutions can help companies adapt to a new way of working. Going forward, remote work is going to be built into the strategy of firms and this will require fundamental changes on a cultural and technological level. Before creating or enhancing a culture of remote work, there needs to be a review of your collaborative work management tools and whether they’re ready to empower a mobile workforce. Marketing operations management software can help assist this change by building a strong performing and collaborative team across locations and even continents.
4 ways that Marketing Operations Software can help facilitate remote working:
A common fear among inexperienced remote workers is that members within a team will be cut off from each other if they’re working from home. Collaboration is the most fundamental ingredient for a successful operation and working remotely can make communication difficult if the right tools aren’t in place. Collaborative work management enables people to connect with their colleagues and manager regardless of where they are based.
Many newly remote based workers will feel isolated as they come to terms with the sudden loss of instant access to their connections. They may not be entirely sure how to progress projects as the lines of communication are blurred. Marketing operations management software creates a platform for collaborating and a structure for working together which will help move projects along and completing tasks.
Quick approvals and mark-ups
Collaboration is key to driving collective effort and bringing new ideas and strategies to the table. While new ideas are important there is also another critical process which needs to be efficient to keep projects moving. Approvals and mark-ups are easy to talk through in a face to face meeting but can be tricky if approvers are based in separate locations or working from home. Collaborative work management software enables people to share ideas but also rapidly review, mark-up and approve marketing assets. In addition to speeding up the review process there is the added benefit that all comments and changes are recorded within the software. Those who need to offer their feedback or approval will be notified when required and projects will continuously keep ticking over as a result.
Regardless of their industry, companies need to keep tabs on how their greatest resource is being used. As a manager of a remote team has no physical visibility of his / her team’s working day they need to provide a method of time tracking and time management that will ensure that people are aware of what they should be spending their time on.
In addition to the satisfaction of knowing how their team is utilizing their working day, time-management has been shown to free up to a day every week for managers, while also making them more efficient at their jobs. For example, managers have shown that they can reduce their working week from 50 to 40 hours by employing time management technologies.
Capacity planning is a process that balances the available hours of teams against what the project needs. Capacity in this case is the most work that can be done over a certain time-frame. The first question to address when planning for capacity within an organization is whether you have the capacity, or the resources, to do the work. Capacity planning is a feature of marketing operations management software and will visually and systematically ensure that people are only assigned work for the hours that they are available and will identify potential resource shortfalls before they occur. This enables remote teams to assign work in an efficient manner and ensure that a lack of face to face interaction will not result in people being over or under resourced.
As you will have read, marketing operations management software can provide some clever features that can boost a remote team’s project performance, speed to market, collaboration, and approval processes. In addition to these technological advancements there are also more high-level benefits that can occur when companies embrace technology and remote working:
In a remote workforce trust is even more critical than in an office-based environment. As colleagues and managers are not visibly able to see what their teams are working on, they need to have confidence that the work is being done by those at home. Remote work can foster a culture of trust as it effectively removes the ability of leaders to micromanage which can produce a long-term benefit provided employees are committed to the cause. Work management software can boost application as it enables best practices through easy to use processes and workflows.
• The ‘Freelance Revolution’
Modern employees want more flexibility in how they work and a better employee experience. This has resulted in more people choosing the freelance career path. A 2018 report conducted by Upwork found that 1 in 3 Americans worked as freelancers during the year while in the UK and Ireland there are over 2 million workers currently freelancing. This is a massive pool of flexible talent available for quick hire if companies have the technology available to on-board and effectively manage remote workers.
We have mentioned concerns about application and productivity on a couple of occasions in this blog but a Stanford study from 2017 found that remote workers worked a ‘true shift’ (a full day) more often than office workers that had staggered start times and distractions throughout the day. The Stanford professor, Nicholas Bloom, said it was time for companies to implement ‘work from home’ strategies into their portfolio. In order to benefit from increased productivity, it’s imperative that the right marketing operations tools are in place to avoid pitfalls and bottlenecks.
Screendragon – Marketing Operations Management Software
Screendragon software has been supercharging business teams and enabling remote work for over 10 years. We believe the true test of a product is how it used by its employees. At present, Screendragon team members across Europe are using Screendragon software to keep operations running smoothly while working remotely. We’re collaborating in real-time, effectively managing all incoming requests and using our resource calendar to plan for future projects, all within the safe confines of the Screendragon platform.