We’re no strangers to remote work at JSL Marketing and Web Design. We’ve been mostly remote for years and we honestly love it! Remote work situations offer a lot of flexibility and agility for teams, but it’s not for everyone. WFH comes with its own challenges – challenges that can be daunting for even the strongest team. To counteract those challenges, we’ve developed our own tips for working remotely over the years to help serve our clients in the best possible way.
Odds are, your team is now working remotely as well, given the spread of COVID-19 in 2020. By some estimates, the percentage of full-time remote workers in the US doubled over the course of the first few weeks of the outbreak in the spring of 2020. The tips and tricks laid out below are specific to our team, but there’s a high chance you can incorporate some of these practices to help your team reach new heights from the comfort of your home office.
Read on for some of our thoughts on maximizing online work for our team, whether you’re a full-time or temporary remote worker.
Why We Love Remote Work
Flexibility: Working remotely means that our team has a lot of flexibility in how they work. Work better early in the morning? Fire up the laptop and send out those emails early. Prefer to do your brainstorming late at night? By all means! We have specific office hours and follow a set business cadence, but not being in a specific location means our team has a lot of flexibility to control their hours, within reason.
Efficiency: The average American spent around 9 full days in traffic in 2019. When you consider that the average American commute rose to 27 minutes that year, that amount of time is not too surprising. That’s still a lot of time spent in gridlock. Online work frees up quite a bit of that. The lack of commuting means that our team spends their days working for our clients, not stuck in traffic. That free time also helps us provide our employees with …
Work-life balance: At JSL, we really value our employees. And well-rested, content employees are much more productive, plus we’ve found that a healthy work-life balance is quite beneficial for our team!
Online work means that our team is able to turn off work at the end of their day without the stress of a commute and can work late (if absolutely necessary) from the comfort of their home without burning the midnight oil within the office. That balance means that our team members get more time back for their own rest and relaxation and their work improves from that recharging!
Tips for Remote Workers
While we love our online work culture, we’ve discovered there are a few prerequisites for efficient WFH teams. Ensure these practices are in place before moving to an online workspace.
Use the best tools: Working online is great…when you have the tools for it. To really maximize your team’s productivity, invest in the tools they need. Slack is a must-have for the JSL Marketing & Web Design team. We’re always working in multiple cities, so it’s imperative that we can instant message each other the countless quick questions and brainblasts that happen in a marketing office.
Hive is another great resource for our team. We use this app as our project management software, a central staging ground for our team’s work. Hive is where we set deadlines, leave client notes, set reminders, and manage client deliverables through to completion. There are a lot of great project management tools out there, so explore and see what’s best for you!
Of course, any remote team needs access to a platform for virtual meetings. Whether it’s Zoom, Google Meets, or another platform, make sure you have a virtual meeting platform that allows recording, screen sharing, and file sharing to promote successful remote collaboration.
Be sure to also take employee feedback from time to time. Remember, your team is in the weeds for your business every day and often comes across remote work use cases where the current tool set comes up lacking. Probe your team on the wins and losses of your current work from home situation. Are you having a hard time file sharing? Is everything becoming an email, to the detriment of the team’s inboxes? Pick their brains now and again to determine what’s working.
Weekly Meetings: Any office culture requires structure and stability. Online work cultures especially require that structure to keep your team feeling productive and orderly. Make sure you continue to have established meetings at specific times with the entire team to keep that established. This is also the best way to keep the team feeling connected. It can be lonely working entirely through the apps we talked about previously. Use regularly scheduled meetings to give your team a sense of interconnectedness. At JSL, we rely on weekly staff meetings, plus other weekly and monthly meetings on specific topics, such as content planning, SEO, and executive planning. And that’s without even mentioning specific instances like team luncheons or video shoots! Regardless of your team structure, make sure your team spends time hearing each other’s voices.
Scheduled Team Bonding: A lot of remote teams forego the office holiday party and that’s a huge mistake! Yes, there might not be a physical office location to gather in, but your team deserves some fun, digital interaction. It helps build camaraderie within the team and helps employees better feel that sense of interconnectedness we discussed previously.
Zoom and Google Meets aren’t always the most conducive, but they’re still useful mediums to help your team enjoy the company culture from afar. Schedule those office parties, happy hours, and birthday celebrations digitally and create a vibrant remote work culture! And, when possible, schedule time away from Zoom. At JSL Marketing & Web Design, our Grand Rapids team visits our Dallas team and vice versa a few times a year, when possible, to keep that sense of connectedness! We certainly get a lot of facetime digitally and enjoy the opportunity to work side-by-side during those trips. This might not always be possible for every team but make the attempt when doable!
Constant Contact: Our last tip is simultaneously so simple and so complex. Communication is key for any team, but it’s especially true for an online team. It’s a lot easier for centrally located teams to stay on the same page. Whatever you use to communicate with your team, ensure that you’re always in communication.
An important caveat here is to respect boundaries for your remote workers. Be in constant communication, but also know that your team might not respond to after hours emails, even though their laptop is at home. Establish a specific guideline with your team for what communication should be responded to immediately and what can wait until the morning. Your team will thank you for not taking communication to the point of overuse and your clients will reap the benefits of a happy and rested account team!
Running a full-time marketing team from remote locations across the country is challenging but rewarding! Online work works for the JSL Marketing & Web Design team and we hope the information laid out here helps your remote team make the most out of their work situation.
Call JSL Marketing & Web Design at 877-514-0276 for any further work culture questions.