Although the remote work lifestyle was not a wonder for the world, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered this lifestyle more than anything. Remote work was possible in most fields, so a shift in work lifestyle took place. The prolonged pandemic literally made it a lifestyle for many people who continued working from home during this period.
Initially, it felt like freedom to stay at home for most employees. However, with time, people started realizing the challenges with the benefits of this lifestyle. These varied depending on the type of industry, but they were almost similar for most employees.
Digital marketers are one of the few people that can permanently work from anywhere. Digital marketers can be either employees of a digital marketing agency or work in any other business organization as digital marketers. Let’s talk about the benefits and challenges of remote working for people in the digital marketing field.
Benefits of Remote Work Lifestyle for Digital Marketers
As most activities involved in digital marketing jobs are online, these can be done from any place with the internet. Therefore, digital marketers experience the following benefits –
Better Work-Life Balance
The difficulty of striking a good work-life balance was a frequent complaint. After working eight or more hours daily, people had little time for family and other aspects. Especially when it comes to commutes and sleep. But now, by eliminating lengthy commutes, working from home allows more time with loved ones. Also, employees can choose to wear clothes of their comfort except on the days when they are required to attend video meetings. With this sense of comfort and better work-life balance, employees experience less stress.
Remote work allows employees to work from anywhere, not just in their homes. Options now include coffee shops, beaches, and other countries. In the case of asynchronous work, organizations can extend operations beyond a typical 9 to 5 workday. Flexible working hours can be a blessing for digital marketers who are night owls or those having small children. This freedom is invaluable for digital marketing agencies looking to stretch their working hours while maintaining a limited staff. It is another attractive benefit that enables agencies to draw from a deeper candidate pool during their hiring process.
With remote teams, businesses may prefer renting smaller office spaces. They can even move to a remote, cloud-based operation entirely. This saves their money on rent, utilities, and office supplies. Remote working also helps employees by eliminating transportation costs as they don’t have to visit offices every day. Thus, a remote working lifestyle is a cost-saving option for both employers and employees.
According to a “Great Place to Work” report, remote employees reported stable or increased productivity while working remotely than in an office. In 2020, the steepest productivity improvements were recorded in April and May, during the peak of the pandemic. Much of this was caused by eliminating daily commutes and no lengthy in-person meetings.
While working from home, several factors causing tardiness are reduced or removed. These eliminated factors include getting stuck in traffic, oversleeping, and waiting in a long queue at the drive-through to get morning coffee. Being able to start working once you roll out of bed is a huge time saver.
Reduced Absenteeism and Decreased Turnover
Digital marketing agencies can retain employees and prevent absenteeism by allowing remote work. The feeling of not being micromanaged and the belief that their employer trusts them helps remote workers to develop positive feelings toward organizational leadership. In turn, employees will be less tempted to look for another job, thus promoting a sense of loyalty and dedication. Even if employees are not planning to switch to new jobs, they might be less tending to call out of work at random.
Improved Workplace Technology
Companies scrambled to put the right tools in place to allow remote work when the pandemic hit. Many companies were operating with outdated tools, which forced them to upgrade their systems. At the time, some companies were already experimenting with telework and were pretty much able to meet this challenge. But they also had difficulty scaling from a very few employees having remote work privileges to an entire staff.
For replacing legacy systems and physical office processes, businesses required cloud services, business messengers, timekeeping software, video conferencing platforms, and task management systems. Then they needed VPNs and other cybersecurity tools to secure these systems. In the end, with this technology investment, organizations joined the modern business world while putting them on equal footing.
Challenges of Remote Work Lifestyle for Digital Marketers
Despite the above advantages, digital marketers also face some of the following challenges while working from home –
Inconvenient for New Hires
Most people find starting a new job quite stressful, even under the best of circumstances. However, new hires might feel overwhelmed if they are going to work from home rather than from a traditional office. Not only do they need to learn how to perform in their new role, but they also have to learn to navigate new technology. As a result, managers may spare more time training a new remote employee.
Unstable/Inconsistent Internet Access
Internet connections are not always perfectly stable, not at every possible second. Apart from electricity and internet outages, connections may vary in speed and reliability over the period of a day. For people in crowded areas where several others also work from home – like apartment complexes and densely populated cities – buffering, slow speeds, and poor audio and video connections are prevalent.
Discrepancies in high-quality internet access across the country compound the problem. Reliable internet service is still not available in rural areas. Digital marketers who are working from home depend largely on internet service as their entire work is online. With frequent fluctuations in internet services, their performance also may get affected. In addition, the quality of work they produce may also decrease.
Difficulty Maintaining Confidentiality
Organizations also have to contend with the chances of confidentiality breaches. This can include someone overhearing a part of the confidential discussion or looking at sensitive documents on an employee’s computer. Digital marketing agencies must stress the significance of maintaining the confidentiality and also consider limiting work in public spaces.
Security is always the topmost priority of every business. But it becomes critical when a company must accommodate remote working arrangements. A business’s potential security loopholes increase with factors such as antivirus software, firewalls, and VPN settings for remote employees’ home internet connections.
The problem becomes more complicated when employees prefer to work from a coffee shop or other locations with public Wi-Fi or when they bring their personal devices onto a business network. Even before this idea of remote work is mentioned, companies must be sure they are not compromising on any security expectations to minimize a cybersecurity disaster.
Increased Need for Meetings
Once a company’s staff is spread far and wide, managers will want to keep tabs on them to a certain extent. However, in a remote work world, managers won’t be able to walk across the office and check in on their employees. Instead, they have to schedule virtual meetings to discuss routine project management tasks. Although digital meetings can be less disturbing compared to in-person meetings, they are hardly the highlight of the workday. And having multiple meetings frequently causes frustration among employees.
Loss of Work-Life Balance
Even if sometimes a better work-life balance is an advantage, many remote workers find the opposite to be true. Some of them find that work bleeds over into their personal life more and more. It usually starts with something simple, such as replying to an email after clocking out for the day.
But if employees aren’t careful, that may turn into several emails or putting in extra work after hours. For some employees, this turns their eight-hour day into a 10-hour day or even more. When the employee is working from home, the line between their work life and home life usually becomes blurred, which may lead to burnout and lower morale.
Remote work can result in feelings of loneliness and isolation, particularly for those who live alone. Even when employees have their own office in a traditional office building, they can see others throughout the day in shared spaces such as the hallway, elevator, and parking lot. They also communicate with people at gas stations or coffee shops during their commute to work and their lunch as well. Even if employees may only exchange pleasantries, in-person social interactions mean a lot. There is no scope for such conversations for employees who work from home.
Distractions at Home
There are several distractions at home that can easily detract from a remote worker’s focus on their work. Some of these distractions include screaming children, household activities, loud noise from passing traffic, ringing doorbells, and dogs barking. When employees continue to work from home, they must have a dedicated workspace, a schedule, and access to childcare.
After going through the above article, it’s clear that a remote working lifestyle is neither purely beneficial nor purely challenging. A digital marketer’s job is not as easy as it looks! And our marketers will surely agree! Socinova offers a variety of digital marketing and social media management services that help boost your business.