FROM OFFICE TO HOME—REFRESH MARKETING’S JOURNEY TO CREATING A FULLY DISTRIBUTED WORKPLACE
As the current pandemic forces more and more companies to adapt to working remotely, many are finding it has benefits far beyond what they expected—and Refresh Marketing is no exception.
Long before the recent pandemic, we had already embraced a distributed workplace model for many of our employees. So, when stay-at-home orders became mandatory, it was relatively easy for us to fully transition everyone to work remotely. And we are doing it on an international scale.
For digital marketing companies and others like us, the experience and knowledge of our employees is what’s really relevant—not necessarily their location. By understanding that remote work is here to stay, we quickly abandoned typical workplace methods, ratcheted up our use of technology and borrowed from others’ experiences to become a fully modern, virtual company.
After a few short months, Refresh Marketing is enjoying increased productivity and much lower overheads. In fact, everyone on the team reports fewer distractions, more flexibility, reduced stress, and improved organization.
Here’s how we did it
Refresh Marketing has set clear workflows and communication protocols for our team of 11 people. Working from three cities on two continents, our process uses a good balance of technology and project management tools to produce the intended results. We have a clear strategy—both short and long term—and all remote team members understand what’s expected.
The scope of our work
There are a lot of moving parts in an organization like ours, so orchestrating efficiencies between copywriters, designers and web configuration specialists is critical. So, too, is the onboarding process for new clients. Add the tecnical team to the mix and collaboration becomes even more important. To keep the wheels turning, we set clear deadlines and meet frequently via Zoom and Google Chat to ensure optimum communication.
Learning to use the tools effectively
We’ve discovered that it’s not necessarily the “tools” we have, but how we use them. Clearly, everyone on the team is very tech savvy, so that works to our advantage. However, with the vast number of solutions for remote working available, it’s prudent to define what your company’s distributed workplace should look like, then research and deploy the ones best suited to your needs. For us, we decided to:
• Retain social interaction by having video meetings three times a week to review status of projects
• Encourage team building by including team members from all departments—design, production, development and sales
• Use Google Chat to communicate continuously throughout the day
Is a distributed workplace right for your business?
While there’s no one right way to work remotely, a growing number of companies are certainly embracing the concept. According to a recent study by Global Workplace Analytics, some 82% of U.S. office workers say they want to continue to work from home, at least once weekly, when the pandemic is over.
Here at Refresh Marketing, we have seen the benefits of a distributed workplace in a short time. While reduced costs are a definite plus, our team enjoys a better quality of life by driving less, reduced stress and more leisure hours. We've found that good technology has helped overcome the lack of social interaction and kept us more accountable. Our process has proven to promote faster, better problem solving than being in the office together while increasing productivity. The ability to chat with our wider international team three mornings a week and regularly throughout the day sets the ball in motion for everyone.
As we forge ahead into a new working world, we realize we will encounter hurdles along the way, but having been forced into working remotely due to the current pandemic, we have adapted well—and will continue to perfect our processes over time.
Our new “virtual” address is 18911 Hardy Oak Blvd. #237, San Antonio, TX 78258. Our phone number remains the same: 210-467-5400.
If you are thinking about working remotely and would like to chat, we'd be happy to share more details about our experience with you.