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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2022-02-16
As a small business owner, one of the most intriguing aspects of the Great Resignation is how it has shifted our focus away from what employees can offer a company and toward what companies can offer their employees. With many job seekers and employees looking for more balance in their lives, we’re seeing that shift play out at scale with the move to hybrid work schedules.
From a B2B marketing perspective, the work from home (WFH) phenomenon has thrown a curveball at how we target and reach today’s decision-makers (read this blog to find out how it impacted marketing data quality). And from a business owner’s perspective, I’ve seen how it has transformed lives, both personally and professionally. If you’ve made the switch to a hybrid work model or are considering it, here are six lessons I’ve learned from my own experiences that might guide you in your journey:
A hybrid work schedule won’t look the same for every company. As you plan your approach, ask yourself, what’s the reason for having employees in person? And what’s the reason for allowing them to work remotely? Knowing your why, as it relates to your specific business, can help you determine a schedule (or options for employees to choose from) that best fits your business and the culture you want to grow.
Giving your employees a say in how often they will be working from home can help them have ownership of their work model. Some may love working remotely, while others may appreciate going to the office. Workers that previously had an hour-long commute could see working remotely as gaining two hours each day. Some may find the WFH life isolating, while others might appreciate the ability to eat lunch at home or see a pet throughout the workday. Especially for longtime employees who were with your company before the shift to hybrid, providing options can go a long way in keeping morale up.
Make a point to ensure your team has a good WFH setup. Desk, chair, mouse and mousepad, monitor, footstool, lighting, etc. The right equipment supports health and wellness, so be sure to address your employees’ individual needs – not just at the point of onboarding or as you transition to hybrid, but at least once a year after that.
Simply put, the right technology allows you to keep the lines of communication open regardless of location. Messaging apps, video conferencing, and scheduling tools can make daily tasks easier. Project management apps are also useful for assigning new jobs, tracking progress, and collaborating on complex projects more efficiently. Some employers choose to provide a phone for employees to use for work calls.
Whatever you choose, make it clear how you expect employees to communicate with others, as well as how often. Finding the right technology—and encouraging adoption across your company—can keep teams working together wherever they are.
It wasn’t too long ago that WFH employees were viewed as less productive than their in-the-office colleagues. But we’ve seen that stigma go away during the pandemic. A recent Stanford University study that analyzed 16,000 workers across a nine-month period found that remote workers increase their productivity by 13% by working from home.
With more employees working remotely, leaders have had to reimagine how they motivate their teams. Setting formal goals with timelines and scheduling regular check-ins can ensure work is getting done without micromanagement. The key is to trust that your employees will be autonomous and take ownership over their responsibilities but set clear expectations for results.
Transitioning to hybrid work can be an adjustment. While I never minded before the pandemic if my team worked from home, I have always preferred to go into the office. I’ve found that transparency and open, frequent communication are essential with a hybrid model. I make a point to check in regularly with each team member. It may sound funny, but we’ve strengthened our relationships by working remotely because we intentionally connect more frequently now.
We are fortunate to have had a hybrid work model in place at OMI even before the pandemic began. We’ve stepped it up over the past few years, and we are grateful for the flexibility we have, recognizing that many businesses simply can’t WFH or go hybrid, such as brick-and-mortar retailers.
Sometimes it takes a worldwide catastrophe to create change, and perhaps the memories of the past few years will be all business owners need to remind themselves that employees are the lifeblood of our companies. There’s no doubt that a hybrid model is here to stay, and in the future, I hope innovation will allow even more people to participate in it.
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate B2B data can enable you to achieve better digital marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Go here to find out about leveraging our SMB and medical market data on the LiveRamp Data Marketplace, where 95% of our email data matches the identity graph for use with display ad marketing.
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