Going Digital in the Midst of COVID-19

Parents working from home

Written by Majda Anwar

March 20, 2020

Over the next few weeks, The Pedowitz Group will be providing insights for marketing teams adjusting to their new work environments due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We understand you, we hear you and we are with you to support you and your team during this change. If you have any questions or want coaching on how to help your team adjust, we’re just a phone call away.

No matter where you look today, evidence of COVID-19 is everywhere. It has permeated daily life in every aspect, from working families now homeschooling their children to big-name companies are worried about how they will continue to do business without real-time, in-person collaboration.

Major industries have canceled events around the globe, and companies in the service and hospitality industries seem to have taken the biggest hit. Online publishing companies are seeing a downturn in ad revenues, as the New York Times projects their ad revenue could tumble by around 10%. Facebook and Google could feel the burn next.

This uncertainty is clear as the world’s digital marketers weigh in on the effects. Similar themes abound surrounding short- and long-term impacts, and there are many questions arising, such as:

  • How can e-commerce benefit?
  • How will coronavirus impact supply chains and logistics?
  • What’s the best way forward in digital transformation?
  • How can employees begin working remotely?
  • Can we build a virtual office?
  • Which verticals will suffer most due to coronavirus?
  • Where does demand generation stand?

And, perhaps most of all from a marketing viewpoint, how can you vigilantly protect your employees and families and still maintain some semblance of normalcy within your company?

Best Practices for Collaborating in a Virtual Office

As evidenced by the growing “gig economy”, more and more people every year are learning the benefits of working from home. In fact, Global Workplace Analytics reports that working from home grew 140% from 2005 to 2019, and these figures don’t include self-employed individuals. Think about that – remote working grew almost 10 times faster than the total workforce, not including self-employed individuals. And now, those numbers stand to skyrocket as hundreds of thousands of people are asked to go home.

It’s inevitable, really – companies need to consider remote teams working together from a centralized virtual office. Here are five best practices for ensuring a smooth transition and that can help your employees remain connected:

  • Consider using technology that’s innovative
  • Create a plan that maintains structure and accountability, but that’s flexible
  • Bring your teams together under a “We’re all in this together” mantra for a unified culture
  • Loosen regulations regarding time “on the clock” and lengthen the “workday” so employees have more flexibility
  • Stringently uphold team member respect and trust

Remote employees don’t have the luxury of teammate interaction. A severe lack of time spent face-to-face with other employees leads to feelings of isolation and being left out. In fact, studies show that remote workers can feel mistreated by coworkers, as well as:

  • Worry they’re being gossiped about
  • Think that projects are being changed without any notice
  • Feel they may be lobbied against
  • Feel that they’re priorities don’t matter

And managing a team of remote workers can be difficult on management, as well. Management may feel a profound disconnect that leads to feeling they have no control or that it’s impossible to build trust within the team. In light of COVID19, remote work and virtual employees are a new reality. But there are plenty of principles to help you continue to function effectively. At the risk of sounding cliche, we must remember – we’re all in this together.

Best Practices for Running Virtual Conferences

Regardless of your industry or company size, it’s already hard enough to lead an effective meeting – and there’s plenty of research to back that up. There’s an even greater challenged posed now with virtual conferences and meetings. An ever-growing sentiment now is: “Do we really have to meet, in any capacity?”

Actually, virtual conferences are the perfect way to keep your team on the same page, build an audience, grow an email list, or generate revenue. Considering coronavirus and its exponential reach, in-person conferencing is currently not an option. Even so, virtual conferences hold attractive advantages just the same – for you and for your attendees. Right off the bat, your overhead costs are slashed, but you can still offer the same or greater value.

Today’s question, however, is how can we still meet and forge personal and professional alliances during COVID-19? Take a look at these best practices for virtual conferences:

  • Outline the meeting prior to the actual meeting
  • Promote the benefits of meeting by video
  • Use tech that allows interactivity and engagement
  • Actively encourage attendance
  • Share your meeting successes

Events Cancelled Due to Coronavirus and COVID19

Events around the world have been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 uncertainty. Marketing events set to draw tens of thousands of individuals and businesses have been scrapped, but a majority of organizers have said they’re considering simply postponing the events until a later date. Events that have been affected include:

  • SXSW
  • Adobe Summit
  • Advertising Week Europe
  • Cannes Lions
  • The Webby Awards
  • …and many more.

Final Thoughts

Around the world, cancellations of events are causing tech giants and other companies to rethink their world of work. Companies like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are asking employees to work from home where possible, and the world of digital marketing could perhaps be the hardest hit.

At the same time, marketing in and of itself is largely a behind-the-scenes venture that relies on reaching out virtually as opposed to in-person. In other words, there’s no reason to think that even the largest companies cannot continue on a near as-was trajectory by conducting their normal business processes virtually as opposed to in-office. Following the guidance provided above, your company can weather this outbreak, come out ahead, and even perhaps learn a bit about yourself and each other along the way.

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