Why experienced remote workers are an untapped resource

Survey highlights value that experienced remote workers can bring to new ways of working.

Eighty per cent of regular remote workers have not been promoted since working remotely and 44% have not had access to training, according to a survey from workingmums.co.uk in partnership with The Changing Work Company.

The qualitative survey highlights the experiences of those who have been working remotely or in a hybrid way, half of them since before the pandemic, and aims to give them a voice on how to improve these different ways of working.

It found that the majority of respondents worked for smaller companies with under 250 employees. The figures showed that smaller companies were more likely to offer remote working – 41% worked for companies with fewer than 25 employees and 20% for employers with 26-250 employees.

Better work life balance (28%) was the top reason for choosing to work remotely, although another 20% said their role required remote working. Caring reasons and Covid were other reasons given. Thirty per cent found it difficult (22%) or very difficult (8%) to negotiate remote working.

The survey also showed that employers are missing a trick by not asking those who have done remote working pre-Covid for advice on how to do it better: 68% of respondents had not been asked about their experience of working from home to help others who switched during Covid.

Two thirds (66%) of respondents were offered resources such as laptops by their employers but 71% said their employer did not pay for things like work-based calls.

The survey also showed that:

- 31% felt they missed out on crucial information. But over half of those who said they didn’t (55%) said this was down to their own efforts to find out what was going on, with just 32% saying their employer made an effort to ensure they didn’t miss out

- A third (33%) didn’t have access to technical support

- 36% felt they were not included in decision-making due to being remote, which one in five (20%) said was the most difficult thing about working remotely.

- 63% have a distinct start to the day vs 18% who don’t.

- 53% have regular breaks vs 15% who don’t and 32% said they do not always have regular breaks.

Participants were also asked what helped them when it came to isolation at home. Keeping in touch, planning social interactions outside work and keeping to a routine were popular choices. To keep in touch one respondent had started a virtual lunch chat. Others had created Teams chats and other forums for communication.

Asked what skills they think are needed to work remotely, 85% think self motivation is a vital skill; 68% said independent thinking; and 58% said resilience. 74% said they had honed these skills through remote working and 22% had developed them due to homeworking.

Asked what would improve their situation they said better communication and appreciation of what they do. While 58% felt as valued and listened to as office-based people, the rest mostly didn’t or were unsure.

On the positive side, participants said they had learnt discipline, to value their own capability and resilience from remote working. Their advice to others included organising and planning, having a structure, sticking to your working hours and thinking about alternative forms of social interaction.

Gillian Nissim, founder of WM People, the umbrella group for  workingmums.co.uk, workingdads.co.uk and  workingwise.co.uk, said: “This survey was driven by a sense that the voices and experiences of those who have worked remotely or in a hybrid way for years are often not heard and that they must surely have a valuable contribution to make on how to make remote and hybrid working work better.

“We know that employers who seek feedback from their employees through employee network groups or other forums, listen to what they are saying and take action are the most innovative and attractive and have the highest engagement scores. Too often remote workers have been left to their own devices to make the best of remote working, but this one-sided approach means neither the employee nor the employer overcomes the biggest challenges or reaps the full benefits.”

Lucy Goaman of The Marketing and PR Clinic said: “Employers can sometimes struggle to understand the power of hybrid working in 2022 and beyond. Great members of your team can work hard from anywhere. Communication skills are by far the most important skill that managers need to hone in order to successfully motivate remote workers, especially those who have a long standing involvement and invaluable depth of knowledge with a business or specific industry. Each day we are given 86,400 seconds. Everyone is given the same. No exceptions. Time is the remote workers – employees and self employed – biggest gift to an organisation. There is one simple truth, your remote workers time is limited and one day they may choose to not spend their time on your brand or business because they didn’t feel appreciated. Value your entire team, whether they are employee, self employed, working in the office or remote working.”

Bridget Workman of The Changing Work Company said: “More than four in five people surveyed are either working remotely now or have done so in the past. Half of them have been working that way for more than three years and a quarter for more than five years. This represents a wealth of experience that, surprisingly, most employers have not yet tapped into.

“68% of those surveyed said their employers had not asked them to share their knowledge to help colleagues suddenly switching to homeworking nor have they been consulted for their special insights on how to make the hybrid mix of office, home and remote working work. Although usually provided with equipment, the majority had to learn the hard way, through trial and error, having received no training. They know the pitfalls and have learned the necessary skills and tricks through their own resourcefulness and resilience.”

Share of Voice Online vs Share of Time

 

 Has the rise of digital technology had an impact on your business, and your life?  Has it given you more time or eaten it away?

For many of us the day is now a 24-hour operation, no longer the 8.30am – 6pm days of old. My Withings watch reliably informs me every morning that I have clocked less and less sleep. My phone beeps and lists for me all the updates and communications activity across multiple channels for numerous brands since my head hit the pillow 6 hours before. And so the day begins.

Marketers are undoubtedly working significantly longer hours as technology advances, perversely. In many businesses marketers are required to be ‘on’ a lot more, with real-time messaging and communications, as the battle for the share of voice online heightens. As technology provides greater flexibility, and in many cases far greater accessibility to brands, and the teams behind the brands, demand on content and time has dramatically risen.

In the ‘good old days’ when annual brand and media plans were crafted, aligned and signed off, everything was rather more scheduled and prescribed.  A TV ad would air on a known day with pre determined frequency and channel list to a well research audience profile. A product line would launch after 18 months of hard toil. A brand team would leave the office each evening knowing that they could switch off, socialise and return the following day to the office with a certain degree of predictability in regards to work tasks.  (Unless Asda has decided today is the day they are going to slash the price of blades in their razor category with a national advertising campaign causing anarchy across the UK retailers, and you are sitting in the Gillette office at the other end of the buyers’ phone.  Eek.  Trust me, it wasn’t a day that was predicted!)

Today social media influencers are becoming a go-to option for generating consumer trust and credibility.  Move over Superbowl advertisers, peer to peer brand ambassadors such as Zoella are storming ahead.  In the beauty markets content creators have been widely employed for a number of years, ahead of most other industries.  Indeed over the coming years I predict that brands will start moving significant spend to social media influencers. Unlike offices, social media does not close. It never sleeps.

As I watch influencers’ profiles shift on a daily basis to ever increasing followers, and new posts and opinions updating every second, it is a beast that needs careful control.

For the newbies the race for the largest number of followers is well and truly on. Like all channels though I question whether reach via quantity of followers (most especially referring to empty paid for followers) should ever be overlooked for quality and credibility of influencer.  For the brands I associate, I most definitely choose depth of relevance and experience ahead of popularity to ensure a long-term audience growth.

So back to that old subject of work-life balance, even writing it seems so old now.  Work becomes your life. For many of the marketers I know, their lives have never been more fulfilled, especially the most entrepreneurial marketers. Social media content creators open up unlimited possibilities, provoke debate, inspire people to dream more, learn more, make change happen, create movement, entice action and shape minds.

I actually don’t mind losing a little sleep for that.

Stop the Trolley!

Recognising that modern women are savvy and seriously short on time, the nation’s supermarkets have been busy compiling chic capsule beauty collections for some time.

Today’s developments in this trend has seen Tesco unveiling their new in-store beauty concept in Lincoln.  Beauty treatments are taking place alongside the weekly shop, so make sure you go to your out of town store when this goes national!

You may have also noticed that Tesco beauty teams have been investing significant energy in their social media. The brand is definitely catching up with the non-high street beauty brands. Beauty at Tesco is now on Instagram which will give followers exclusive behind the scenes shots and videos from beauty photo shoots; while offering tips from experts who work with the team, including celebrity hairdresser Leo Bancroft and nail artist Sophie Greenslade. The new look Pinterest page shows seasonal beauty collections, offering the latest images and looks. Pins link through to the Tesco site so shoppers can purchase beauty items with the click of the mouse. The brand’s Twitter page is designed to offer advice, news on product launches and Beauty World store openings.

Supermarket shopping never seemed more appealing – well done Beauty at Tesco!

https://twitter.com/beautyattesco

http://gb.pinterest.com/BeautyatTesco/

http://instagram.com/beautyattesco

Lucy Goaman

Marketing and PR Clinic

 

 

 

 

Just in time Gifting!

 

 
Soap and Glory
has just launched its ‘Yule Monty’ Christmas bag, designed by Jonathan Saunders. It contains nine full size bath, body and beauty Soap & Glory hero products such as Righteous Butter Body Butter, Peaches & Clean Deep Purifying Cleanser, Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Plumper, Fast Super Volume Mascara, and others. Strange that a brand is offering a new seasonal gifting product 6 sleeps before Christmas, I am quite sure it has given the Brand Managers sleepless nights!  However, priced at £27, vs. typical retail value of the contents in the £50-60 range, I am sure it will be a successful sell out to all the brand loyalists of this fantastic brand, and a great trial mechanic for newbies to the brand.

Lucy Goaman

Cowshed’s Calf – Cheeky!

Beauty brand Cowshed is celebrating their 15th birthday by launching a new brand, Cheeky. Cheeky is to take High Street distribution, plus stand alone stores. Think manicures and blow-drys that are quick on time, cheap on cash but with no compromise on quality, launches end October. Positioning is spot on.

 

Lucy Goaman

Bold Marketing

Just wanted to clock in! All fine here at the Marketing and PR Clinic, just been a busy few months.. sorry I have not been regularly blogging.

I have been spending my time with a wide range of businesses, mainly in Devon, from commercial agents, new product developers, charities, beauty brands, schools, and health and fitness businesses.

A similar theme amongst clients at the moment seems to be emerging. I am noticing an increased willingness to be bold and take risks with new product extensions, partnerships or simply in looking at new ways of doing business.

Often it is the marketing department that pushes decision makers into trying all things news, and now visionary thinking and willingness to take risks appears to becoming wider spread amongst businesses.

I am sure this is not just me noticing this shift, and I would really like to hear from others on whether they too are seeing businesses taking a more positive approach to taking risks, and decision makers beginning to enjoy being more bold in their marketing, to ensure their competitive advantage.

Is this the beginning of the end of austerity marketing?

 

Lucy Goaman