How marketers can navigate the ‘perfect storm’ of remote working

In the context of the global coronavirus pandemic, the world of work has entered a dramatic new phase. Whereas daily life was focused on working in …

In the context of the global coronavirus pandemic, the world of work has entered a dramatic new phase. Whereas daily life was focused on working in offices and face-to-face meetings, the need for social distancing has created a new normal based primarily on remote working.

However, a recent analysis of the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on businesses – conducted by Marketing Week and its sister title Econsultancy – reveals some alarming findings about marketers’ attitudes towards, and preparations for, remote working.

Only 40% of the 887 UK brand marketers surveyed say their business is “very proficient” at enabling remote work. Half of marketers believe their company will be compromised by an increase in remote work, while 68% of senior marketers are concerned that creative collaboration will suffer.

Asked if there will be any significant long-term changes in working practices once the threat of the virus has abated, just 32% of UK marketers think their working life will return to normal entirely.

Remote working has long been a regular part of working life, but it’s clear that doubts remain about its validity, particularly when it comes to issues around trust and productivity. Some 92% of senior marketers admit that remote working is not suited to everyone, while 37% believe it is not well suited to junior staff.

This is the first time we’ve seen large organisations adopting the policy at scale and new formats need to be found to keep people motivated, spark ideas and stimulate communication.

It’s a perfect storm for leaders and particularly for leaders in marketing, given that the role of the marketer is to bring insight into the organisation.

Mark Evans, Direct Line

Technology, video conferencing, webcams and messaging services can all bring greater engagement, but it’s how marketers communicate and interact in a meaningful way, not just with work colleagues but with their wider networks, that will be key.

Former Adidas and Diageo marketer Leila Fataar is the founder of consultancy Platform 13, which helps brands connect with a new breed of agencies and creatives. Having always had a flexible mindset that comes from working with startups, the events of recent weeks have not presented too much of a culture shock for Fataar.

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