In a mobile world, more and more people are leaning toward a work-from-home setup. In the United States, 68% of the workforce says they are expecting to work remotely in the future. In this light, if you are already managing a dispersed content marketing team, remember to use a proactive approach. Remote workers may feel isolated from the rest of the organization. It is your duty as the manager to make them feel less so.
Here are 7 steps to take to become a better leader to your multi-location, mobile content marketing team:
“As the manager, you need to set clear, deliberate expectations in advance and establish ground rules for how interactions will take place,” says Keith Ferrazzi, the founder of Ferrazzi Greenlight. Just like you would treat an office employee, let remote workers know they are subject to a set of performance metrics. This way you will be able to set “clear lines of accountability”.
Acknowledge their work
Even though you have limited to zero face-to-face interactions, these employees are still contributing to the success of your organization. Acknowledging their work and rewarding them accordingly are two of the most important steps to take when managing them. Develop a system by which they can see themselves growing as an individual and team player in your company. For instance, you can set criteria to determine who is team member, writer, or marketer of the month. You can also give away bonuses or commission when you hit a revenue target or a remote worker goes out of his or her way to bring success to the team.
Automate time- and activity-tracking
Rather than requiring your staff members to self-report, encourage them to use tools that track activities. For instance, Asana has a feature that lets you know how much work has been done per assignee. Trello, which deploys the agile method, is another simple task management app. Likewise, introduce some productivity boosters such as the Pomodoro Technique. Do not forget the little-known Outlook Journal, which logs emails and task and meeting requests when activated. Your subordinates can send progress reports to you as well using the email client service.
Set a BYOD policy
Giving employees the freedom to choose which mobile device to use at work is a start for those steeped in the traditional system. Through the Bring Your Own Device Policy, your content creators and editors can enjoy some flexibility should they choose to work remotely. However, this setup can also pose some security risks to your business and data. Make sure to mitigate the issue by giving them their mobile WiFi or installing a VPN client on their device. To protect your intellectual property, you may also have them sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement at the outset.
Engage your remote employees as you would office employees
Treat remote workers as people, not robots. Sure, it may take more time to engage them than employees you see in the office on a daily basis. But making them feel known and understood can keep them satisfied about their job. In other words, invest time in earning their trust. It is important to understand what motivates them and what depletes their passion and energy. After all, you are dealing with imaginative and creative individuals. It would be great if your company can provide them with some of the stimuli necessary for them to continue churning out relevant and interesting content.
Further, provide them with an avenue for growth. For instance, train remote employees through webinars. Reward them with financial or substantial perks. And, allow them to share their ideas with you freely.
Check up on them on a regular basis
More importantly, you need to schedule check-ins with remote workers regularly. This responsibility entails knowing which times are they most available to answer your calls and emails. Having the equivalent of a FaceTime in the office can improve their engagement. It can be as simple as a chat or a video call on Skype. See this not only as a chance for you to assign tasks but also as an opportunity for them to ask questions and learn from you.
Support them by sponsoring their tech needs
Lastly, you can express your support by shouldering the costs of tools or letting them access company software programs. You cannot leave them to rely on freeware forever. All-in-one solutions for digital marketing can be quite expensive sometimes. But think about it as an investment in your human resources. Also, help them avoid downtime by educating them about preventive maintenance. According to Limble CMMS, “it is performed regularly on a scheduled basis to lessen the likelihood of the piece of equipment from failing. Preventative maintenance is performed while the equipment is still in working condition to avoid unexpected breakdowns.” When your remote employees’ tech or system breaks down, it is your problem too.