Managing Productivity, Client Communication and Team Morale During Coronavirus
We think it’s safe to say that 2020 is not what we expected. COVID-19 has taken over and it looks like the virus might stick around for a while. With a palpable impact on people’s lives and nearly every industry, us marketers need to find ways to adapt to new rules and regulations while being physically separated from our teams and having to work from home. Here are the lessons we’ve learned on managing productivity, client communication and team morale in the first weeks of living with Corona. It truly is a different world out there. Apart from a few key workers, the Australian government has asked us citizens to not leave our homes. In a bid to flatten the curve, we escape our abode only to buy food, medicine or to go for a once-daily walk or run. For those of us who are lucky enough to have the option, it also means working from home. Too great is the risk of catching or passing on the virus during a commute or in communal office spaces.
Digital Marketing Agencies Can Rely On Remote Work Experience
For some of us marketers, COVID-19 completely changed the ways in which we work. Remote work has suddenly become unavoidable, and although it may seem like a challenge to some, others have been embracing the idea for years and can now help to make the transition for everyone else as smooth as possible.
Despite loving our Fortitude Valley office (pictured above), the Anchor Digital crew too, has transitioned 100 percent of operations online over the past weeks, taking all necessary precautions to ensure our clients’ and colleagues’ safety. While putting health above all else, the very nature of our industry still enables us to confidently carry out campaigns, tasks and client communications while working from the safety of our homes. As it’s common in the industry, a few of our team members had previously been working remotely at different frequencies, meaning that we already had all communication systems in place that are needed to successfully manage a remote working team. And we weren’t the only ones riding the digital wave: Before the pandemic found its way onto the world stage at the beginning of 2020, roughly 62 percent of employees between 22 and 65 said they worked remotely at least occasionally, according to the “Remote Worker Report” by Owl Labs. We are still waiting for an update on the numbers of remote workers during COVID-19, but it’s safe to assume that we will see them skyrocket during March 2020 and the following months.It becomes clear that times of crisis are not only challenging us marketers, but offer an opportunity to build trust with customers and clients, and grow as a team. So is there a silver lining after all? What lessons has the Anchor Digital team learned in times of social distancing? If you have thoughts to add, email us at email@example.com — we’d love to hear from you.
How to Power Through Corona - A Smart Guide For Marketing Teams
1. Keep in Touch With Your Clients
Get in front of your existing customers. Keep them up to date on all the changes you’re implementing in order to deal with the new health and safety regulations. Nothing is worse than radio silence. You should try to keep calm and address the topic while keeping things professional. Answer questions honestly. Face-to-face communication may be cancelled, but that doesn’t mean your clients don’t have a tonne of questions. Make sure to be proactive and answer them before you get a call from a worried client. An email update going out to your client email list is a great way to start a conversation.Share on social media what you’re doing to flatten the curve. If your team is taking smart actions to fight the spread of the pandemic, you may have the power to influence others to do the same and encourage your followers and other companies to follow in your footsteps and take action.In your response to the crisis situation, make sure that your communication is clear, efficient and safe. If you’re quoting recent statistics, fact check! But that’s not all…
A few things to keep in mind when communicating with clients:
- Stay overall positive but adjust the tone and focus on the facts and developments within your control
- Acknowledge your clients’ anxiety, but keep calm and objective
- Address what you as a business are doing to flatten the curve and what your customers can do to help
- Avoid taking an editorial stance on the crisis
- Make it easy for your clients to arrange a virtual meeting
- Give your clients information on how to access your services remotely, should any changes apply
- Include company event updates or cancellations
How can you support clients online and remotely?
Besides emailing your clients with updates, you should continue to keep them in the loop with what’s going on and show that COVID-19 has no effect on how their marketing campaigns are run. The Anchor Digital team has developed a highly productive and efficient communication system that serves a variety of purposes and can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. To allow for a stress-free and effective exchange between the team and clients, we rely on:
- Basecamp. A project management app that you can access in your browser and on your phone. With tools to set up to-dos, a project schedule, upload documents and files, message and chat with all stakeholders, it’s the perfect solution to help everyone stay on the same page and on track to project finalisation.
- Virtual meetings via Skype and Zoom conference calls. This is the closest thing to face-to-face meetings you can get in COVID-19 times. Make sure to schedule virtual meetings ahead of time. Nobody wants to be caught in their pyjamas.
- Good old phone calls. It’s less common, but sometimes a phone call is the best way to communicate efficiently and calm worried minds. Have your mobile on you at all times to make sure not to miss us - equally, feel free to ring us with urgent matters.
- Google Drive. You need to share work documents, presentations, and spreadsheets across multiple team members or with clients? Google Drive is a free and easy-to-use solution that can be accessed from any internet-enabled device.
- Figma. Just one of the many amazing software our designers love, Figma is a browser-based UI and UX design application, with excellent design, prototyping, and code-generation tools. Everyone with the link to a project can access it remotely to check out the progress made.
Great tools provide tremendous value to every remote team, allowing you to easily create and analyse Facebook campaigns, keep up with your SEO efforts, content writing, email marketing, social media, design and development.
2. Communicate With Co-Workers
Stay in touch. Working from home doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t socialise anymore. We believe that staying in touch with everyone on our team helps to keep the morale up. Missing opportunities to catch up during a coffee break or engage in office banter, some of our crew members like to prevent the quarantine-induced cabin fever by connecting via facetime and working “together apart”, each on their own project but in a virtual office space.
Communicate smarter. Slack is yet another powerful communication tool that has long been a favourite amongst the Anchor Digital team. From organising daily admin tasks, giving feedback or encouraging others, to planning lunch breaks, Slack is our go-to platform to stay up to date and come together, no matter where we are. The number of Slack users has skyrocketed since Coronavirus. The productivity and communication platform is the perfect tool for agencies, companies and groups to keep up to date with projects. See the Twitter thread below to see the stats yourself. During this pandemic, lots of small and big companies around the world are discovering just how useful and effective slack can be for remote teams. Making working from home during the Coronavirus a breeze, you should still know a few tips and tricks that help you to get the most out of working with the messaging tool.
Tuesday: More signs of demand surge. 1,597 days after hitting 1M *simultaneously connected* users in Oct ‘15 (see https://t.co/G6DeO1W08a) we pass ten million. 6 days later: 10.5M, then 11.0M. Next day, 11.5M. This Monday, 12M. Today 12.5M. 📈 pic.twitter.com/GPaKF3VgOr
— Stewart Butterfield (@stewart) March 26, 2020
Establish a routine. We recommend scheduling regular, predictable check-ins to avoid the surge of any feelings of loneliness or isolation and keep every team member accountable. In cases of a sudden transition to virtual workspaces as we are seeing it during COVID-19, many employees are finding themselves in makeshift home-offices, with possible sources of distraction all around. This unplanned change is harder for some than it is for others, and only communication will ease the transition. Rules of engagement. With a variety of communication technologies to choose from, it’s vital to establish “rules of engagement” and clarify when to use which communication tool. For example: “At Anchor, we use slack for social interaction and anything of urgency, zoom for daily check-in meetings and conference calls, basecamp for project work and emails for client communications.”Google Apps for Work. If you haven’t already, it’s time to give each member of your team a professional email address and grant them access to a central storage hub that can be synced up from anywhere in the world with any web-enabled device.
3. Keep Your Productivity High
With a lack of face-to-face supervision and the challenges of suddenly working from home,you may be worried that your team’s productivity could suffer. Being in the office offers a relatively distraction-free environment. Just as seeing your colleagues get up to mischief can derail your productivity, seeing them work hard also can inspire you to do the same. Remote work isn’t much different. To stay on track, it helps to minimise the likelihood of getting distracted by external factors.
Here are a few tips for those new to the home-office:
- If you can, set up a dedicated workspace - away from pets, the kids, tv, the kitchen and most importantly bed.
- Get natural lighting, fresh air and make yourself comfortable.
- Pretend you are actually going into the office and let your family or flatmates know that you wish not to be distracted.
- Structure your day like you would in the office.
- First things first: Make sure to write a list of all the things you need to do each day. Be realistic.
- Plan short breaks in between chunks of focused work to give your brain a break.
Remote Work is Not The Future of Work, it is The Present
We’re learning that there is almost nothing you can’t do from your home and are taking this as an opportunity to not only grow as a team but prepare for a future in which remote work is the standard. With the right tools and processes in place, we’re able to provide valuable work to our clients, while staying connected to each other. We understand that it’s currently difficult not to feel uneasy. Worries about the effects of new regulations only add to the existing concerns about our health and safety. But “social distancing” doesn’t mean social isolation. Keeping in touch with clients and co-workers becomes increasingly important. So let each other know how you’re handling the new challenges you’re facing. We need a community now more than ever. Luckily, life and growth continue - if we let it. Stay safe and stay connected.The Anchor Digital team.