Here at SME each of our employees work from the convenience of their own home. Does this mean we necessarily wear pajamas to our team meetings and sip lattes from our favorite cafés while we fill out spreadsheets? Well… yes it does. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact I would argue that it actually helps with our productivity immensely. Throughout history working environments have shifted multiple times. From factories and coal mines to offices and desk jobs, we’re in the midst of a new shift back to the home. Remote work is coming and we all have to prepare for it one way or another.
Home is where the heart is… and the office
It’s obvious that feeling secure and comfortable with a work environment is paramount to a happy and productive workforce. But keeping employees at home has an inherent financial incentive. As brick and mortar offices begin their descent into obsoletion, more employers are transitioning to remote work as the advantages present themselves. Infact, According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 23 percent of employees in the US did part or all of their work from home. That’s almost a quarter of working citizens sipping tea with their kittens on the clock.
Freedom does not equal laziness
At first glance through the lens of traditional business this doesn’t make sense. Employees aren’t meant to be productive with such freedoms afforded to them. What would you do if you were given 0 oversight and left to your own devises? I’m assuming you answered something along the lines of “Watch netflix and crack open a beer” and I wouldn’t blame you. However recent studies have shown that, with proper training, remote employees can not only survive but thrive.
Having the choice to do what you want keeps you motivated and inspired to pick up new projects and test new directions.
Therein lies the key to successfully transitioning to remote work: proper training. Employers considering the shift have to define their expectations and best practices moving forward. When I was hired on by SME I was told that I had 100% control of my schedule and to work only when I felt inspired. At first I was blown away with the level of freedom I now had but sooner than I expected I found myself working even more than I had with my previous employer. Having the choice to do what you want keeps you motivated and inspired to pick up new projects and test new directions. On top of this the work I was doing was more qualitative as I actually cared about what I was doing. Getting your employees to care can be invaluable and the first step is to give them the freedom every human being craves on a primal level.
Training the pajama marketers
Onboarding for this type of work is a mixed bag. For a marketing agency you’ll have to define expectations and core goals. Your goals have to be precise and open ended to keep your employees both accountable and inspired. An example would be telling your employees you expect $30,000 in new revenue from advertising before the end of the year. This allows them to find new channels and tools to reach this goal while simultaneously giving them a number to strive for. An open ended structure sparks creativity, passion and a drive to try new things which is what you need to keep a remote team motivated.
When I first came on to SME I was a bit overwhelmed with the freedom at first. You sit down to your computer each day and feel a surge of motivation when you realize you can do whatever you want to make the company great. However after just a couple weeks I was starting to notice a pattern in my working habits. I would start off energized and excited but begin to trail off a bit after a few hours. The way I was able to work around this was by keeping a highly organized calendar and todo list. You have to become your own boss which means structuring your work life a bit more than you’re used to. Use tools like Trello to become the ultimate pajama marketer.
The tools you’ll need for the road ahead
Here at SME we use a wealth of tools to make remote work feel as natural as possible. Here are a few we can recommend when designing your remote workspace.
Sococo – The Virtual Office to keep your team connected.
Team Password – For sharing passwords across your entire workforce.
Hootsuite – Helps you schedule social posts across multiple channels as a team.
CoSchedule – The most full featured content calendar we’ve found built with collaboration in mind.
Slack – For team wide chat when E-mail is just too slow.
The future of work is upon us
Adjusting to this brave new worklife will take time. We can’t expect employees to ‘get it’ over night. However with a little patience and a bit of training remote work will begin to take on a much deserved surge in popularity. Nullifying the unnecessary expenses of office spaces and supplies will allow new lean businesses to pop up across the globe giving thousands of marketers the chance to do what they do best despite their physical location. It only makes sense that an equally skilled & experienced marketer from Idaho get’s the same opportunities as one from New York. This is the next step of globalization and we all have to do our part to become a part of it.