With Covid-19 threatening travel shutdowns, many marketing agencies and internal marketing departments are facing the prospect of having no one in the office. For many companies, this would mean an immediate, catastrophic loss of revenue and productivity but for some, it’ll just be a work from home week. So don’t stockpile toilet paper, set up a Work From Home (WFH) policy so your business survives and is better able to handle emergencies in the future! Many of us at ActiveDEMAND make good use of WFH, so we thought we’d share our experience.

WFH Technology Stack for Marketing Agencies

Generally, most marketing agencies are heavy users of cloud-based applications that make it easy to work from home. G Suite and Office 365 are easy to access from home, and chat/video apps like Slack, Google Hangouts, Skype, and Microsoft Teams are available in-browser, apps, and on phones on the go. Anything still installed on an in-office server stack is going to be a pain to hook up to remotely. Most ad platforms like Google, Facebook, etc are accessible via a login and are easy to work on from home.

Other software that’s based on the computer may pose an issue. Design software, some installed SEO software, and anything else that’s license based on a per-computer basis may be more difficult or expensive to get going from home. Some design files, especially large files like high def video, will also be a bit more difficult to get into the cloud and work on from home.

To meet with clients, you’ll need a video conferencing option like GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts Meet, Zoom, or Join.me. You may need to create a “boardroom” calendar for the video conferencing login if you only have 1 license available that the team shares.

Being a digital marketing agency, our business operations have the luxury of being almost completely computer, and better yet, cloud-based. Working from home (WFH) will not be on the table for every business, but for Top Draw it was. And, even though we already offer a very flexible and well-used WFH home policy with our staff, moving our entire business out of the office abruptly and indefinitely was something we were ready to do overnight. We felt just as unprepared to pivot to a WFH policy as most businesses probably will. But, we did it.

All staff will need to hear and be heard on your plan. They may identify more considerations that will need to be addressed in the implementation, but also in the message for your customers. Messaging your customers en masse or personally is the last critical step. You can model off of the many different business continuity plans and company outreach emails that are circulating right now.  Let them know how they will still be able to reach you and conduct business with you, and that every effort will be taken to ensure that their experience remains a positive one throughout.

Mike Ausford, Top Draw

Work From Home Policies

Many agencies around the world already offer some or a lot of WFH opportunities. In essence, WFH requires clear, up to date job descriptions so people know what is in their scope, as well as clear expectations from management on what needs to be done. A project management platform can help add clarity in what’s expected from everyone, what their due dates are, etc. We like ClickUp, but there are lots of other great PM platforms out there too.

In the absence of clear job descriptions, expectations, and task management software, the next best thing for WFH is frequent management touchpoints. A daily team scrum + weekly 1:1 check-in between team leads and staff is a good start. Daily meetings are to divide work and for leads/management to know priorities, weekly meetings are for feedback, career growth, etc.

Some companies opt for a no-flexibility office hours, while others require people to at least be working and available during a reduced “core hours” like 9-3, but they have some flexibility to start earlier or later.

Because client emergencies happen, you may need to share team phone numbers and setup policy on what constitutes a phone emergency vs just sending a Slack message or email.

WFH To-Do Checklist:

  • Audit software required on a per-role basis. Is the software in the cloud? Is it installed and licensed per computer?
  • Do you have appropriate licensing for video conferencing and the other shared tech?
  • Are expectations clear on channel response time and what hours people have to be available?
  • Have team leads and managers set up recurring daily team scrums or 1:1’s?
  • Are there clear boundaries on what hardware the company will pay for and what employees are expected to pay for?
    • Do you need to supply new computers or will staff bring their work computer home?

ActiveDEMAND helps marketers get more done from home

ActiveDEMAND Marketing Automation software is in the cloud, so employees can access it from home to:

  • Create, review, approve and send client email campaigns
  • Analyze marketing campaigns for results
  • Setup phone call tracking for clients
  • Build custom or scheduled reports for clients
  • Deploy text-in campaigns
  • Schedule social media posts for clients
  • Deploy dynamic personalization on client websites
  • and more

Working from home can help with more than just emergencies like Covid-19. It can save your bacon if a water main breaks, if an employee needs to work from home to wait for an important package, and helps employees stay productive if they’re just a bit sick and want to work, but don’t want to get everyone else in the office sick.