When I entered the workforce in the pre-Internet days (yes, I’m dating myself!), the thought of working from home on a regular basis never crossed my mind. In fact, no one at that time could have imagined the explosion of virtual work on the horizon, especially where virtual digital marketing is concerned.
I came prepared for the “lounging on the couch all day” conversation, and mapped out why I needed to be home, as well as how I would stay connected and how committed I was to hitting my deliverables.
After some initial reluctance, I was given the green light. That morning, I was at my computer by 8 a.m., and only stopped briefly to let in the plumber (the reason I had to work at home). I put my head down, stayed connected with colleagues by phone, and before I knew it it was 5 p.m.. The results speak for themselves:
- Nearly three days of ‘to-dos’ were completed.
- Clients received deliverables ahead of schedule.
- I was more creative, happier and literally on fire with productivity!
From that moment, I knew a virtual work environment was in my future. In fact, my next full time job allowed me to work from home twice a month – pretty progressive for 2001!
How Working From Home Makes Us Happier and More Productive
You don’t have to take my word for it. Many professionals, medical and otherwise, have documented the benefits of virtual work. Nicholas (Nick) Bloom is the William Eberle Professor of Economics at Stanford University, a Senior Fellow of SIEPR, and a Co-Director of the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. In other words, he’s pretty smart.
In this TEDtalk by Nicholas Bloom, he shares some research he completed with one of his graduate students, James Liang. Liang is also a cofounder of the Chinese travel website Ctrip. Their study involved allowing half of Ctrip’s call centre staff to work from home for a length of time, while the other half, the control group, remained office bound.
And the results (of this study and many, many others), make one thing abundantly clear: people are more productive and happier when they can engage in virtual work. In fact, the study revealed that the employees who worked from home had a massive increase in productivity—almost equivalent to an additional workday, primarily because of fewer distractions and fewer pointless conversations.
And if being happier and more productive wasn’t enough, the virtual employees were much less likely to quit. Goodbye costly employee churn. They were also much healthier, resulting in less absenteeism, reducing costly strain on the employee health care plan.
Virtual Digital Marketing Companies Turn Productivity Up A Notch
Have you ever tried to write a strategic plan, client pitch or anything that requires peace and quiet in an open concept office? It’s highly distracting, and pretty much a nightmare for anyone who’s the slightest bit introverted. And it makes perfect sense that employees can work faster and more effectively when they work from home.
At Spodek & Co., we work in a virtual environment with experienced and highly skilled team members located throughout Ontario, as well as New Brunswick and Pennsylvania, U.S.A. In the past, they’ve even been as far away as Madrid! The absence of a traditional work environment doesn’t make us any less of a team, and to our clients, it’s completely seamless (and more cost-effective).
The very nature of what we do (virtual digital marketing and communications)—with all of our work living in the digital space—means we can work wherever and whenever, 24/7 if need be.
Tips and Tricks: How We Make Virtual Digital Marketing Work
Here are a few ways we make this work:
- Slack conversations are shared and visible to everyone working with particular client.
- Slack is also used to communicate internally, both in groups and individually.
- Our bi-weekly staff meetings are also on Slack, via video. Seeing faces is important, and we feel totally connected to each other.
- We have a shared corporate email account that everyone can view and/or use to send messages to clients. This is particularly helpful when a team member is on vacation or, heaven forbid, has a sudden illness or emergency to deal with. It provides a real sense of security to our clients that important, time sensitive emails never get missed.
- We use a shared calendar to add meetings, notable dates and/or events we want to be mindful of, including out of office time and vacations.
- And periodic face-to-face work days and meetings (for those of us in and around the Toronto area) as well as fun team gatherings help us stay connected.
The bottom line is this—virtual work, works. It helps employees be more productive and feel trusted, resulting in increased corporate loyalty. And it saves companies money in the end, due to increased productivity, reduced absenteeism and employee turnover, as well a reduction in office space. Don’t be afraid to test it out in your organization. And certainly don’t be afraid of hiring a virtual digital marketing company to work on your behalf. It really is a win win for everyone.
What do you think about working from home or at your favourite co-working space? Do you ever have that privilege, and if so, are you more productive when you do? Have you hired outside virtual firms? What was it like working with them? Hit reply and tell me about it!