The Modern Agency’s New Normal
Where are you reading this? Your company office? Your laptop? Your phone in a coffee shop? In 2020, these are all one and the same. Work is wherever you, your device and the internet are and, in that sense, we are always and never on the job. The remote revolution (with a new momentum being strongly pushed forward by today’s global COVID-19 pandemic) foretells a business-scape with half of its global workforce being mobile by 2022.
If you segment information workers specifically, i.e., anyone at a digital agency, you’re talking about nearly everyone in this industry working remotely as the new normal in just two years. This isn’t the inevitable future for business; it’s the current reality. And beyond teams and managers, the benefits of remote work also extend to your clients.
Your Benefits Package
Productivity: Remote workers are more productive than their in-office counterparts; with no commute or the need to be in an office environment, they automatically have more time/bandwidth, less distraction and stress, and the much-revered work/life balance. The better their lives are, the better their deliverables will be. And the more likely you’ll receive them sooner.
Talent: Access to remote teams means access to any team. Your organization no longer has to be housed in San Francisco or New York to attract diverse, top-tier experts. The better the talent; the better the quality of the product.
Retention: What ruins the rhythm of any project? Turnover. Remote workers are more likely to stay with their agency, which ensures that the team you started a project with will be the same team to see it through completion.
The Everywhere Office & Remote Control
When partnering with a digital agency that has a remote workforce, there will be the following tiers:
Office HQ/Remote Option: An agency with a brick-and-mortar hub that features team members who are remote in varying capacities
Fully Remote Team in one Time Zone: If this shop were a Washington, D.C.-based firm, their employee roster would be fully based on the East Coast, regardless of whether they have a physical office or not.
Globally Remote: There is no actual physical office in this scenario, but you’re catered to by a remote team with an international presence.
Featured remote tools have become so standardized in offices that teammates will often Slack each other messages even when they’re physically right next to each other. This speaks to a future where these tools are more ubiquitous, each specializing in certain digital needs — data storage, video calls, word processing, et al — and customized for specific industries. The core idea with all this tech is maximized efficiency, no matter where you’re located.
Virtual Conferencing Tips & Exercises
- Our team uses Google Hangouts for conference calls and virtual meetings.
- Individually test the internet connection, hardware, and software, ensuring the microphones/cameras work — eliminate echoes and feedback.
- Request everyone to enable their camera and encourage the use of headphones.
- Share shortcuts with the entire group beforehand within the calendar invite, e.g., keyboard shortcuts for muting/unmuting the mic as well as toggling the camera.
- The facilitator should share their screen to anchor the rhythm of the session.
- Exercises that can be completed through collaborative documents should be prepped with appropriate permissions and shared through links in the chat.
- Designate an individual to moderate the chat and be sure to record and save the session.
Future-Facing & Business As Usual
To ensure the project stays tethered to reality in a remote relationship, it takes trust, constant communication, and a foundation of unshakable parameters:
- What are the deliverables/milestones?
- How/when is communication necessary and why?
- What needs to be managed?
- How is performance measured?
As long as these considerations are steadfast, no aspect of a remote project should feel out of reach. The only potential drawback to remote working is when you feel the need for a face-to-face meeting. As a client, beyond the initial sales meetings and presentations, video conferencing can resolve this in person meeting conundrum. When you partner with a remote team, you’re losing almost nothing and gaining nearly everything: more access to productive, skilled and consistent experts who will bring you closer to realizing and obtaining the vision of your project objectives.
WDG’s Own Shift To 100% Remote
With the current COVID-19 pandemic impacting normal social and professional settings, our own team’s shift to a 100% remote-working model has had and will continue to have minimal impact on WDG’s business operations. Our dedicated team of creatives will continue working as normal to provide the reliable and up-to-date services for which WDG is known. And, if you’re a current client, your dedicated account or project manager will be touching base with you individually to help prepare for any upcoming workshops and meetings as we pivot these events to WDG’s video conferencing process. Our teams look forward to continuing to provide quality service and communication for you as our peers, clients, and partners.