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Will the Coronavirus lead to re-thinking collaborative but remote working practices?

The impact of the Coronavirus is hitting us all hard. In a week that’s seen most marketers cancel non-essential appointments and turn their kitchen tables into work- from-home desks, we asked David McGeough, Director of international marketing at Wrike to look at the need for tech solutions to collaborative working at a distance.

In today’s global economy, we need global connection. That doesn’t just mean open trade and communication across borders, but the ability to collaborate with our neighbouring colleagues and partners without physically seeing them. It’s one of many challenges the current Corona pandemic is highlighting to businesses across the globe.

But even without these extreme circumstances the trend is moving us towards greater reliance on tech-based collaboration. Marketing efforts require the entire department – alongside any external agencies they work with – to be fully aligned. This alignment is critical in creating consistently high-quality brand experiences at speed and scale. This collaboration has never been more important for marketing teams, but due to the rise in distributed teams, remote work, and the increasing number of channels, it has also never been more difficult. 

Collaboration is key 

Traditional tools like spreadsheets and email are part of the problem. Frequently teams using such tools don’t have dependencies accounted for. Inefficient processes and complicated project management systems aren’t tailored for marketing departments to keep track of activity. 

To combat this, marketers need to invest in a collaborative work management tool that will unify the entire team across priorities and enable them to create high quality, consistent brand experiences globally, quickly and efficiently. The right technology should enable teams to:  

Align people across teams and distances 

These tools help teams – regardless of how big they are or where they are based – to communicate effectively and in real-time. All work is visible to all team members, resulting in fewer miscommunications and increasing the likelihood of people bouncing creative ideas off each other.  

Having all the project information and content in one centralised location that’s easy to access can also help improve general team organisation while also contributing to overall brand consistency. It can also help to foster a culture of sharing and collaboration within the workplace – encouraging employees to communicate and work as one team.  

Create a sense of ownership 

By increasing visibility, you ensure that each team member is more aware of the process and where they fit in. Everyone will be able to see which tasks need to be completed, in which order, and who is responsible. If a project has been held up, the wider team can easily source what the root of the problem might be and therefore begin to make changes and get things moving again. Ultimately, productivity across the entire team will likely see a major boost.  This increased sense of ownership could, in turn, help improve the quality of work. When work is no longer anonymous, individuals are more likely to check for mistakes. After all, everyone likes to impress their colleagues. 

Meet those all-important deadlines 

Time waits for no man or woman. Deadlines are present at every turn, whether you’re hooking your campaign to a specific international event or planning some content to coincide with a new product launch.  

And marketing departments aren’t just reliant on their own deadlines. You could be waiting on approvals from sales or finance but if these are late it can make certain deliverables, and even the desired end result, impossible to achieve. 

 Effective collaboration tools enable teams to prioritise and map out clear project deadlines across an entire business from the very start and then closely monitor and track the progress throughout in order to make sure everyone is pulling their weight and one department isn’t slowing others down.  

Balance workloads 

Collaboration tools aren’t just about enabling employees to do more work. They also help teams to manage resources and ensure that work is evenly distributed so that individuals aren’t under too much pressure.  

By presenting managers with a clear, real-time view of workloads and capabilities across a team, they enable tasks to be assigned to the right person at the right time. This can help to prevent feelings of stress and burn out amongst team members, which will ultimately help with staff retention.   

Teamwork makes the dream work 

In a world full of silos, collaborative work management platforms can enable marketing teams to act as one. Through better resourcing management and improved visibility, this can improve the entire team’s output – helping individual performance and overall productivity. That’s both in response to the Corona virus and for the much longer term.  

But it goes much deeper than that. These technologies can help to establish a feeling of belonging among team members. The ability to share and collaborate can inspire and cement relationships, leading to happier employees who are more committed to their work and the company.  

Ultimately, collaborative work management platforms can enable marketing teams to build and believe in a shared vision and purpose – leading to a more consistent brand image, stronger messaging and campaigns that rise above the industry noise, standing out from competitors and resonating with the right audiences.

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