From the boardroom to smart working
The pandemic situation due to COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the rules of society, our personal habits and work as we have always conceived and experienced it until now.
Before February 2020, things worked as they have always worked:
- Meeting with the client to establish web marketing goals.
- Defining workloads for the team.
- Internal brain storming with marketing, key account and IT experts.
- Recap meeting with the entire web marketing team to strategize.
- Individual meetings to streamline day-by-day processes, with updates often done by "voice."
This all took place on the premises of the web marketing agency, and direct, personal relationships were the standard.
It doesn't work that way now, the smart working took over, and for those who were not ready, it was not easy.
Before giving you some useful pointers, it is important to define terms.
What is smart working
Smart working has always existed, you may know it by the term telecommuting, but it is not new in 2020.
It was already regulated years ago, and then redefined by a law in 2017 and later by the March 4, 2020 DPCM.
I report verbatim what can be learned here:
Agile working (or smart working) is a mode of performance of the employment relationship characterized by theabsence of time or space constraints e An organization by phases, cycles and objectives, established by agreement between employee and employer; a mode that helps the employee to reconcile work and life times and, at the same time, encourage the growth of his or her productivity.
Web agency in smart working: processes and tools
Whereas before it was all about formal meetings and chats in front of the American coffee machine, now it is all about virtual meetings with a wide variety of tools.
The first major change is in relationship habits.
Not being able to see each other in person requires efficient and effective communication while reducing time and without high costs.
A web agency, like any other company, is made up of people who are constantly interfacing, on different planes of relationship and confidence.
The distance given by smart working could be an obstacle for some but a new relationship opportunity for others.
Step #1: internal meetings in smart working
The first thing my team and I did was to schedule and block off days and times of the week to keep up to date.
Sort of forced meetings, that even if you have nothing to say, something always comes up.
Zoom turned out to be an excellent tool for this type of meeting because in its meeting version it gives everyone the opportunity to participate equally by taking the floor and showing up on video with the web cam.
However, this mode, and those I will tell you about in a moment, make sense if you have a shared calendar.
Step #2: schedule of shared smart working
It is not enough to tell all team members: "be sure to block every Tuesday from 5 to 6 p.m. for the meeting."
No, something more agile and easily managed is needed: shared calendar.
Every calendar, from Google Calendar to Calendar (iCal) on the Mac, offers the ability to create one that can be shared, that is, subscribed to, by those who have the link.
In the case of iCal or Calendar (Apple) it is set in 5 minutes, like this:
- Create a new calendar, giving it a name (e.g., Weekly Meeting in Smart Working)
- You assign them a color.
- Click on the "ripples" to receive the sharing LINK
- [optional] then CLICK on the share icon and send the link easily
The advantage is quickly stated: Those who manage the calendar can set up meetings and appointments that will be automatically added or updated to all employees who subscribed to it, complete with notifications and notices.
So if Tuesday's meeting is moved to Wednesday, everyone will get a notice and see the calendar update accordingly.
Web marketing agency: managing the group call
The most difficult part, for those not used to group calls, is managing people.
We take it for granted that there are no instances when someone goes to the bathroom with an open microphone or attempts daring explorations of the nasal cavities while in conference 🙂
The management we have adopted follows a very simple protocol:
- The team leader immediately establishes and states the main topics.
- After a quick introduction or reminder, everyone steps in to update on the status of the work.
- A quick question-and-answer session gets underway.
- New tasks are assigned to each of the participants.
The whole process happens while you are live, and believe me, it is easier done than explained.
The process is not very different from what is usually done if you are on the premises of the web marketing agency.
What to avoid: when you are on smart working calls the attention span is less than in face-to-face meetings, so you need to avoid repetition or being too long-winded at all costs. The pointers I gave in this article on How to manage time and productivity.
Advantages: at the end of the meeting, the team leader shares the Zoom call recording with all participants, which is super useful for reviewing some steps or taking more detailed notes.
Calls and meetings, however, are not enough.
As mentioned a few lines above, relationships within a web marketing agency are often peppered with more personal or deep relationships, and at the same time, in business processes many people are not always required to complete their tasks.
For one-to-one communications, good old Skype always works.
Easy, free and with a flat learning curve, it is the ideal tool. It also installs easily on smartphones and tablets.
To give it an extra touch you can purchase Ecamm Call Recorder To record calls and put them in sharing.
In the second part of this article, where I will tell you about client management of the platform we use to keep every job under control, you will see even more closely how I manage my web marketing agency and team in an agile and efficient way.
Until then, if you want to learn more about distributed teams and remote collaborations, I recommend the following the book GLOBAL TEAMS by Jo Owen, which you can find here.
And how is your smart working organized?
If you also have agency web marketing or a company with the remote team, I'd like to know what you think.