Marketing is one of the fastest changing industries, and it only continues to. From direct marketing to digital, the landscape has constantly changed over the past decade. But what’s the next evolution for marketers? A remote workforce.
On any given day during the week, I head to bed hanging up the phone with Nectar Sleep’s head of search in India about a customer segment we saw on Google. I wake up with my morning coffee to Slack messages from my data analysts in Israel with insights to the same segment I discussed the night before. As I head into the office, I’m on the phone with the head of performance marketing in London about how we can use these insights for new marketing tests. When I sit down at my desk, I’m able to work with my head of product in New York about how we can launch a website test to address this marketing. And finally, by the time my marketing manager in Los Angeles wakes up, my team is able to launch and execute our tests. In less than 24 hours, my team is able to research, test and implement a campaign that could potentially take more than a week to enact.
This is a prime example of why remote workforce is the next frontier of internet marketing, and eventually all business. Companies willing to embrace a remote workforce strategy have the potential to see major benefits to their business, providing improvements to hiring, culture and productivity.
Now your company may not need 24-hour support, but imagine the possibilities of having the opportunity to have a selection of the best pool of talent around the world, allowing you to hire the best of the best. Hiring the best people is one of the hardest and most important parts of scaling a company. You can build a wish-list of experiences, skills and interests within a certain budget, but when you confine your search for any specific city or region, you dramatically limit your chances of hiring the best people.
When hiring in one location, you either end up taking a long time to find and train the right people, or you make compromises with who you hire. Neither sound like a strategy to support a fast-paced organization. Focus on the right person, independent of location, and you’re able to tap a bigger referral network, more job boards from around the world and more recruiters in major cities.
Productivity is always a concern when starting a remote workforce, and there are numerous published studies showing productivity has increased from remote workers. What I found most interesting is that everyone has peak hours during the day that they are productive. The saying, “It’s five o’clock somewhere” is coined for a good time. My motto is: “It’s always 9 a.m.–12 p.m. somewhere,” which studies have shown are relatively the most productive times of the workday. Imagine having at least one or two people on their A game at every hour of the day.
I’m always asked about work culture and if it can even exist when you have a team working remotely. It does! Not only is it informing to learn about different tactics and techniques from around the world, but it forces workers to communicate. With tools such as Slack, Trello and Hangouts, you’re able to be connected at all times, work cohesively and make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. Even with businesses that might be location-dependent, incorporating remote workers forces companies to build processes that support these teams that remote workers feel proud to be part of setting these processes in place for.
A remote workforce actually increases worker loyalty, too. Work-life balance is one of the most sought-after perks employees flag as critical when assessing their next career move. By allowing staff to work remotely, they have flexibility in how they structure their day. They can make that yoga class that isn’t wait list-only with the after work crowd, it removes the hassle (and wasted time) of commuting to and from work, and they can be in whatever environment makes them happy and most productive, whether that be from their local coffee shop or curled up on their bed. To the right employee, having the opportunity to work remotely is a major perk and not one they take for granted, which is why you will often see higher levels of productivity and long-term loyalty to the company.
A tip on how to enhance your remote teams bond with the company and their colleagues is to hold quarterly offsite meetings where you bring in the team from all over the country—or the world—for a chance to get some face time and share a meal or two.
I’ve always pushed the companies I’ve helped build to implement remote work as the way to build a high-performing team. Working remotely used to be a challenge for companies. As more marketing teams and businesses become data-driven, modern tools and processes have made it easier for remote team members to participate. If there are clear goals and metrics for remote team members, their output will be clearly measured by results, not time spent in an office.
Consider expanding your team to be remote and distributed. The future will require it.