Why remote working is the future of work and why its not working for marketing

Technology and changes in perceptions mean that workplaces are moving towards new directions. How do we get there though? And even more importantly where is “there”? 

There is no doubt that the working environment is changing. The old notion of “bums on seats” is just that: old. Technology and changes in perceptions mean that workplaces are moving towards new directions. How do we get there though? And even more importantly where is “there”? 

A while ago I was sitting on a beach in the Athens riviera. I remember it vividly to this day. It was summer, the weather was hot and it was mid afternoon. After a day of swimming I was settling down and thinking about getting stuck into work. And then it hit me.

I had everything I needed, right there. And not just to to half an hour’s work. Everything I needed in order to cover my day to day tasks and then some. I have been blessed with working in a profession that by default does not require my physical presence. My laptop, notepad and wifi was all that was needed. The wonderful view and brilliant temperature was a bonus.

Why couldn’t every day be like this? Most of my work was done over emails or calls, any buying can happen via the platforms. There isn’t really much that needs to be done in person, then why isnt that way of working more widespread?

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one thinking in that way. One would need to look no further than Google Trends to see that more and more people are looking for remote jobs.

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The truth is that remote working represents a great opportunity, especially for cash strapped startups. In essence, it opens up the radius of options and can enable finding the best talent globally. Due to wages being cheaper in certain parts of the world it can even help with cost efficiency.

Most of my work was done over emails or calls, any buying can happen via the platforms. There isn’t really much that needs to be done in person, then why isn’t that way of working more widespread?

No brainer, right? Well, not exactly. Fully remote roles are few and far between. According to a piece by the founder of Remotive.io, a job board dedicated to remote job postings there are only about 3,000 companies that are hiring for quality remote positions, a very small market indeed, especially when compared to the traditional work landscape.

So why aren’t more companies going down the remote route? 

There are a number of good reasons why remote might not be an obvious choice:

  • Not every job is suitable for it. Whilst most jobs can be digitised up to an extent and therefore done remotely there will always be some professions that are just better suited to in person execution. Unless something really changes in the future, surgeons, nurses, bus drivers, are unlikely to go fully remote any time soon
  • Structural reasons: some organisations are built on having bums on seats and are resistant to change. There needs to be significant confidence in the selection of employees as well as the management of their performance to ensure that businesses get the best out of remote teams. Some are just not willing to take on what they perceive as risk. Managers, especially, might feel particularly challenged by language, culture and time difference barriers, whilst the demands for clarity of direction from them will be much more pressing
  • Infrastructure: Let’s be honest, managing a team of remote workers across different time zones can feel a little like herding cats. A company who is serious about working remotely will have to invest on the right systems to ensure they get the best out of their global talent pool
  • Talent selection: here is where it gets a bit hairy. If you are interviewing talent locally you have a common frame of reference. From looking at a cv you can easily gage how good their education has been and how solid their work experience. For someone from a different background, this can be very challenging as that frame of reference is missing

In truth, there are more opportunities than ever to go remote. That said, going remote might not be easy or straightforward and it all depends on creating the right conditions for your organisation.

Remote working and digital marketing 

So what does it all mean for remote working if you happen to be in digital marketing?

As mentioned above, digital marketing is one of the top fields that can go remote. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have its own unique challenges. Depending on whether you find yourself working client or agency sides there might be different hurdles to overcome.

For future-facing startups access to a global workforce can definitely seem as a plus.

From an agency perspective a lot of the work, especially on the account management side of things, is relationship based. That does not necessarily mean face to face. It does, however, mean that especially the senior leadership of an agency is more likely to see remote work as a cheap outsourcing solution than as a true value add.

Clients themselves might take convincing and might need time getting used to the idea of working with remote workers. Attitudes do shift however and for future facing startups access to a global workforce can definitely seem as a plus.

From an in-housing point of view it might mean its trickier to assimilate a remote marketer into the fabric of the organisation. Marketing is all about understanding user behaviour. The fear is that someone too far removed, literally and actually might in fact be exactly that. Too far to be able to get under the skin of it. Moreover, as we mentioned above, vetting remote resource is hard enough. Vetting remote resource when you yourself lack knowledge of that particular channel you are trying to hire for is a whole different ballpark of hard.

Are these fears justified? Of course! It would be naive to dismiss them as invalid. But there are also ways around them:

  • Make a conscious decision and invest accordingly. The future of work is remote. If you are willing to reap the benefits you have to incorporate a solid plan for going remote within your company roadmap. Communicate it to your team and make sure you have set the right goals and milestones
  • Make sure you have the right systems and processes in place. Depending on your field of work this can be project management software, finance software etc. More importantly your company processes will have to be tailored to the unique set of challenges that remote represents
  • Work with the right partners. You might be a small business, or a startup or you might be a corporate. Either case it’s hard to do everything alone. Some of the best projects are run as partnerships and its definitely work exploring that route. There are outfits that have been specifically created with remote marketing in mind. Companies who can help with the infrastructure selection and / or the vetting and onboarding of talent.

Remote working is at the heart of Adadot and being in a prime position to enable access to top global marketing is something we are fiercely proud of. We have taken our experience of working with remote resources over the past decade and made it widely accessible.

We deliberately create something much more reliable than a freelancer platform, more flexible than an agency; we provide access to experts without compromise. Our engagements are all project based which means that you are not entangled to long term contracts. 

Our experts are vetted and pre qualified through a series of tests and interviews. We onboard only top marketers, the same people we would hire for our in-house team if we were running it.

Ada, our algorithm ensures that you are matched with the most relevant talent globally.

We are also a community, supplying support and guidance so that your team is benefiting from ongoing development which can be a challenge for distributed teams. 

Going remote is not easy but it could be the best option for you or your company. If you are considering a remote marketing team get in touch.

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