Remote digital and creative agencies have become increasingly popular in the design and marketing industry since the COVID-19 irruption in 2020.
Offering advantages such as open access to international talent, lower costs compared to traditional marketing and branding agencies, and higher adaptability to their client's demands, remote digital agencies positioned themselves as a precious option in the market.
As a matter of fact, Lento is among such young agencies determined to mark a new era in the branding & digital industry. Yet, our journey hasn't been easy.
As with every disruptive idea and innovative structure, we have faced several challenges that made us look deeply into improving our internal processes to provide a more reliable service to our clients. Such a close look at details regarding our service and overall functioning as a remote team has made us evolve into what we are today: an independent, solid and responsive remote digital agency.
Although the purpose of this blog is not to speak about our journey as Lento but to offer you valuable information based on experience about the everyday challenges remote digital agencies face, improve the overall performance of your remote team, solidify your processes, and offer an outstanding service.
Communication challenges, time management, workforce issues, and team administration are some aspects that affect remote teams significantly and must be addressed sooner rather than later.
Let's explore each remote branding and creative agency's challenges that must be overcome to become a reliable client ally.
Internal Communication Issues.
Clear communication is vital in any romantic, family, or work-related relationship. Unfortunately, one of the biggest challenges of working remotely is achieving effective internal communication when managing team members based in different locations.
Creating channels that facilitate clear communication is essential. Hence, your team knows exactly what to do and how to fulfill their roles, create a dynamic working flow and, most importantly, achieve customer satisfaction.
Here are some of the communication tools that have helped us to do so:
TOP CHOICE FOR INTERNAL COMMUNICATION: SLACK
Yes, Slack is on top of our list, and there are plenty of reasons for it. A survey by Slack found that organisations using the platform reported a 32% reduction in internal emails, a 25% decrease in meetings, and a 23% increase in team productivity.
Indeed, Slack does a great job at resembling a virtual co-working space where you can communicate with your team in real-time, create channels and groups related to your projects, share files and integrate other tools that help you make your communication and project management more efficient.
TOP CHOICE FOR MEETINGS: Dialpad
When you can't be present with your remote team, having weekly meetings in which you can come together and speak about your projects is primordial. We love Dialpad as that it also doubles up as our VoIP business phone system so we can also be easily reachable by our clients in the United States.
The success of apps such as Dialpad, Zoom, and Google Meet are clear examples of how relevant it is to interact with your remote workers, letting them know that they are not isolated islands but are supported by a team that shares a common goal.
One of the most beautiful advantages of building remote teams is that you enjoy the rich diversity of working with people from different cultures. In fact, this is one of the reasons why remote digital agencies are interesting to many industries.
However, it is also one of the most common remote work challenges. Variables such as working in different time zones and relying blindly upon your remote employees' or co-workers' time efficiency are among them.
Every remote digital agency must implement tools that help create work conditions that emulate the office environment.
At Lento, we use different techniques and strategies that help us daily to manage our time efficiently and promote a balanced workflow. Here are some:
Top choice for time trackers: Clockify
If your team works hourly, Clockify is a functional time-tracking website, allowing you to follow your team's overall task performance, track their progress, and know precisely how long each task took to complete to improve efficiencies and accountability for our clients.
Best time efficiency technique: Pomodoro technique
Some of our team members always speak about how this technique is one of the best tools to keep the freshness of their workflow and prevent lack of concentration, time waste, and, eventually, stress and burnout.
By alternating 25-minute periods of constant, focused, and committed work with 5 minutes of relaxation, your team will gain great accuracy and improve their overall productivity.
RELATED READ: HOW MEDITATION CAN BOOST YOUR WORKPLACE PRODUCTIVITY>
Making everyone feel part of a unit is challenging when your remote working colleagues are spread worldwide.
It is crucial for your remote digital agency's well-being to know how to bring them together and make them feel that they are collaborating toward a common goal that will benefit each team member.
Team dynamics, individual accountability, and overall management can be challenging remotely, but there are effective ways to make it simple and easy.
These are our top recommendations for you:
Best project management tools: ClickUp
ClickUp is a great tool that helps you manage your projects with clarity and efficiency.
Through it, you can create tasks, assign them to the right employees, see the project's status, attach documents, and even communicate with your employees about each assignment. It also includes a time tracker that helps you follow how long a task took.
Several remote companies also use Asana, Trello, and Monday.com as their remote project management software, which are also excellent for achieving your goals. You can decide what works better based on your personal taste and the company's qualities.\
Some tips to promote effective collaboration in your team:
1. Design a transparent workflow
By setting well-defined how-to processes and step-by-step ways to accomplish roles, your employees and co-workers will gain clarity about the general overview of the tasks at hand and adapt to a solid base that ensures the success of the remote work process and its time efficiency.
2. Set tangible objectives and priorities
It sounds obvious, but many remote digital agencies and companies fail to remember it.
Defining an achievable list of objectives and communicating them to your employees will give them direction about the task, create boundaries, and inform them about what is expected.
3. Schedule regular check-ins
Regularly following task processes and checking in with your employees will help them feel accompanied in the distance and show your availability for improvement. It will also open the door to contact you when essential questions arise.
4. Research more and provide more tools
Remote digital agencies' internal processes are never fixed; they must always be open to improvement.
Nowadays, there are plenty of productivity tools in the market, and researching more to simplify and improve the process for you and your employees is always a great decision.
Remote workforce issues.
Managing a team remotely is complicated as many factors surpass your domain of expertise as a manager or director.
From isolation to lack of inspiration, several human and emotional aspects come into play when working from home. If you wish your remote digital agency to accomplish all its goals creatively and efficiently, they must be considered.
The good news is that there are ways in which you can work on such aspects and take your remote digital agency/company to the next level.
Engagement and motivation
As human beings, we all need to feel motivated, embraced, and encouraged to do our work in the best way possible, even more so when working alone in our homes.
Simple initiatives such as creating wellness programs that benefit your employees' mental health, investing in social causes that make them feel part of a higher purpose, or creating weekly meetings in which they can connect with other members of the team and share time as human beings beyond their roles, will ensure that your team members will feel content and at ease with their work-life balance.
Onboarding and training
We are confident that your employees want to put their best work toward your remote digital agency's growth. Yet, your company must also work to offer your employees the opportunity to improve and go further.
Thinking about how you can help them develop their skills and grow beyond will ensure their satisfaction and craft quality.
From purchasing online courses that will help them acquire new skills to hiring a mentor or coach to creating communal workshops to actualize their already valuable knowledge, these are great ways to keep your team motivated and current with global trends.
Maintaining company culture.
Indian social leader Mahatma Gandhi once said: "A nation's culture resides in the hearts and the soul of its people." Such a statement also applies to your company.
As a CEO or remote team manager, when you define clearly how your agency thinks, acts, and contributes to the world, your employees will likely take that culture to their heart and work proactively to contribute to a common grand vision.
Some of the strategies that will help you maintain your company culture alive can vary from promoting selfless collaboration between team members, taking a stand against what is not fair in society, establishing rituals like daily mindfulness practices or virtual hangout meetings, or open discussions about how the agency can contribute to something bigger.
No matter what road you walk, your remote digital agency's success highly depends on your workers' commitment to a shared interpersonal culture.
As a remote branding & digital agency, we have faced some of these problems and found the right strategies to solve them thoroughly.
Empathy, availability for open communication, proactivity, and a constant improvement mindset will help you manage your team even better than if you were sharing the same office.
Considering each team member's qualities, flaws, mental health, and personal processes is necessary. Remember that, apart from its creative quality, what makes an agency stand out is the love and commitment each remote worker feels toward the team.
As human beings, we all long to belong and feel acknowledged by our bosses and colleagues. Such invaluable sentiment combined with a positive work-life balance creates an enjoyable environment to work in, a heightened productivity level, and, better than all, the feeling that we are all an essential part of the same family.