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HYBRID WORKING

How hybrid marketing teams can thrive in the Great Reshuffle

By our News Team | 2022

The world of work has changed dramatically and rapidly since the onset of Covid. Marketers and employers must come to terms with the reboot.

With workplaces slowly reopening, marketing leaders are establishing their long-term approach to build and scale effective teams in a hybrid environment. 

Partnering with a research consultancy, global online design and publishing company, Canva, asked over 1 200 marketers across the US, UK and Australia about their experiences, and discovered that at least some level of work flexibility is expected over the long term — with over 6 in 10 respondents saying they would refuse to take a job that was fully confined to an office.

But despite the popularity of hybrid workplaces, 44% are considering leaving their jobs, a figure that rises to 52% for fully remote marketers. Using the research, Canva uncovered some of the reasons behind this and the core ingredients for successful hybrid marketing teams.

Hybrid working

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Asynchronous and visual communication essential for engagement

It comes as no surprise that it’s challenging to keep teams engaged when most interactions are taking place through a screen. Video calls are useful, but when left unchecked ‘meeting creep’ can quickly take over full days. 

But effective asynchronous (communication that doesn’t happen in real-time) visual communication requires more than simply recording and sharing a meeting. To keep people engaged, it’s important to keep communications succinct and consider things like images, animations and data visualisations – all of which help to engage more visual learners.

While online meetings are important, they are best reserved for times when dialogue and interaction are required. For example: brainstorming, team building and personal development.

New marketing processes to battle burnout

While some facets of hybrid and remote work can help to improve work-life balance, the research shows this isn’t always the case for marketing teams. Seven in 10 struggle to balance work and home life and 88% say their excessive workload is a challenge. So how can marketing teams mitigate this without rejecting hybrid work completely?

Approval processes have never been perfect, but it seems that hybrid work is making things worse. As the research shows, 69 percent say that processes for approving assets are too time-consuming and 87 percent say this is a major blocker. If marketers operate in silos, this harms productivity, leads to longer hours, as well as perhaps creating miscommunication and duplication of work.

Mayur Gupta, the Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer at publishing company Gannett, predicts that “the future will be based on trust, tremendous flexibility, clear accountability and transparency. It also requires relying on tools that will inspire collaboration and creative thinking”. 

Given the reduction in face time, it’s important that marketers have a way to keep everyone’s work visible, without feeling micromanaged or under pressure to overcommunicate.

Connection and happiness in a hybrid setting

In hybrid workplaces, it’s equally important that no one feels left out, particularly for teams working across different time zones, or those individuals who are juggling additional responsibilities at home. 

A total of 83% of marketing leaders say flexible work makes it easier to hire better overseas talent, so we can expect marketing teams to be increasingly international in the composition.

But without regular facetime in the office, it’s vital that everyone has equal opportunities to collaborate. In all, 68% of marketers say that hybrid work limits social opportunities and 63% indicate that it’s more difficult to maintain a hybrid work culture.

Marketing leaders are looking at several areas to facilitate this, with increased investment in personal development and teambuilding (86%). Yet surprisingly, only 42% of companies have implemented virtual team-bonding exercises, and just 36% have implemented a regular employee pulse survey.

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