Nobody can deny the huge impact COVID-19 is having on businesses around the world.
From supply chain issues to the challenges involved in working remotely, businesses and people are struggling to come to terms with the impacts and new way of life Coronavirus is bringing.
The transition has been a little easier for us at Reward as we are already a fully remote marketing agency based from our homes in and around Manchester, having made the decision to close our studio space in late 2018 as part of our plan to be more sustainable. The benefits we’ve seen in our agency since making the move to become fully remote have been phenomenal – from increased employee productivity to reduced stress levels and CO2 emissions.
The decision to become a remote marketing agency
In 2018, we made the decision to go fully remote. A scary decision at the time venturing into the unknown.
The main priority was to reduce our carbon footprint, with everybody travelling into the Manchester city centre studio daily, we were contributing to a growing air pollution problem in Greater Manchester.
Secondly, the daily commute left most of us feeling stressed and frustrated starting our day – something we all agreed wasn’t good for anybody.
And finally, the financial cost of city centre office space is growing so it made sense for us as a planet friendly business to go remote and reduce our own operating costs in the process.
The impact Coronavirus has had on our business
Despite the virus being relatively new to the UK, Coronavirus is already having an impact on our agency and our clients. In the last few weeks we have had 3-4 client projects cancelled, reducing our expected revenue by around £50,000-£70,000 in the short term – this is obviously a huge revenue loss to the business and has put a hold on some of our growth plans.
But it’s not all bad news, we’re still working with our clients to make sure they’re communicating with their audiences during the crisis and in the past few days we started to see more enquiries coming through our website again, which can only be a positive sign that businesses are trying to push through and continue growing with sustainable marketing.
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Remote marketing agency: the lessons we’ve learnt
As with any new initiative remote working wasn’t all plain sailing in the early days and we had to learn a lot to make sure everyone had everything they needed to work effectively.
The biggest learning point was the need for routine and structure in our day to day work life. Whilst we would never dictate when someone should work, we have set times when we work on specific project types based on how each team member is more creative. By taking into consideration when people feel more productive we have been able to increase productivity.
Another learning point was the need for better communication tools. Introducing messaging on Whatsapp and Slack meant we could keep in touch and our daily “standup” moved over to Zoom, this transparency meant each of us felt accountable to each other to deliver the work we said we would. Where we might lack in meeting face to face we make up for with consistent communication across digital channels.
Before going fully remote we trained the team on Agile, Kanban and Lean Principles, using Jira we’ve been able to create a project management process that lends itself naturally to remote working with people assigning themselves tasks from a backlog created and managed by the team.
Remote is good for people and the planet
My hope for the future of working is that the practices people learn and adopt during the COVID-19 crisis live on when things get back to normal. Remote working is the future of work and sometimes it takes a shock to the system like Coronavirus to push people to make changes to their habits.
Remote and flexible working isn’t just great for people by increasing wellness and reducing stress levels, it’s also great for the planet. The reduction in journeys to a place of work has meant carbon monoxide mainly from cars has been reduced by nearly 50% in cities during the Coronavirus outbreak compared with last year.
Keep moving forward
In a world surrounded by doubt and panic it can be easy to get caught up in the hysteria, but to make sure we have an economy to come back to after this has all settled down we can’t be complacent.
We need to push where we can and keep moving forward.
We’re here to support our clients and we’re taking on new projects as normal – remote working is nothing new for us and we’re here to help you thrive whilst others might be cutting back.