Erica Gunn
Erica Gunn 10 November 2022

How Can Marketers Meet the Productivity Challenge of Remote Work?

Managers must help bridge the divide between those who want to stay remote and the benefits of face-to-face collaboration in the office. But how?

As a return to normal begins, there hasn’t been a universal rush back to the office. Workers now feel they are as productive at home as in the office. But there’s a gap in perception growing between managers and their employees.

The Work Trend Index by Microsoft has produced some startling results, with 87% of employees feeling that home was as productive, if not more, than being in the office. Perhaps not surprisingly, only 12% of bosses felt the same way about the productivity of their remote teams.

This large disconnect between employers and employees has to be addressed. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says: “We have to get past what we describe as ‘productivity paranoia’.”

Stated another way, productivity paranoia is simply a lack of trust. The market is already seeing those voting with their feet to find roles that suit their work/life balance needs. Understandably, those remote workers prefer this new flexibility. Not only do they cut out their commute, but they feel they can focus more and, in their eyes, deliver more too.

The strict views of ‘office first’ employers are no longer applicable in the post-pandemic market. Knowledge-based jobs can be done anywhere with good internet connectivity and the right set of tools.

So, perhaps the questioning approach of ‘I can’t see you; therefore, I don’t trust you’ should be flipped to ‘Do you have the right tools to deliver what we need to get done?’. Is productivity paranoia more of teams not being optimised to do their work?

Rethinking How we Work Thanks to the Pandemic

It’s fair to say that all the rules of office-based work were thrown upside down by the Covid pandemic.

While IT functions rose to the challenge of remote working for their employees through cloud-based software such as Office 365, Zoom, and Google Docs, organisations needed to think about how work would get done when the whole workforce was distributed geographically rather than in one location. 

Chris Marsh, at 451 Research, part of S&P Market Intelligence, has said: “It kind of exposed how little strategic thought companies historically gave to how work happened, how it was organised, how it was designed, how it was executed.” This seismic shift in workers has moved from a factory style of working that is firmly based on the previous century.

The word of 2020 was Zoom, as video conferencing kept the human interaction going. As connectivity and engagement products evolve, they are helping to answer the question, ‘How are we going to get work done?’. Despite these advances, much more work must be undertaken to improve the symbiosis between employer and employee.

Frustrations and Futility

At Canto, we recently undertook research with over 400 digital and creative teams across the UK and US. Unsurprisingly, only 22 percent expected a full return to permanent in-office work. 

The real challenge is overcoming the productivity pain points that have always been there. Fifty-eight percent of respondents stated that duplicating work and reworking is an even greater challenge than it was 12-18 months ago. This all leads to frustration, lack of job satisfaction and poor productivity.

Respondents to the research also stated their frustration with miscommunication and the ability to find the right materials and control the production process, with challenges around rights management and convoluted workflows cited.

Why has the ability to create new digital assets become more challenging from pre-pandemic times? Is remote work broken, or do remote teams need additional tools and platforms to get things done? The answer could be somewhere between, but with organisations using multiple platforms and tools within their remote ecosystems, there is likely to be plenty of friction. 

Empower me, Trust me

Loosely using an old proverb, if you give colleagues the right tools, they’ll get the work done efficiently and effectively. If you don’t, frustration will rise, and organisations may see more quiet quitting. As Satya Nadella said: “We shouldn’t be asking the worker “Can I see you?” but “Can I see the impact of your work?”.

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
The Impact of New Technology on Marketing

The Impact of New Technology on Marketing

Technology has impacted every part of our lives. From household chores to business disciplines and etiquette, there's a gadget or app for it. Marketing has changed dramatically over the years, but what is the...

Alex Lysak
Alex Lysak 22 September 2020
Read more
The 3 Most Important Stages In Your Presentation

The 3 Most Important Stages In Your Presentation

If you want to deliver a presentation on a particular topic and you have to prepare yourself for it you should make sure that you go through several very important stages in order to craft a compelling, persuasive and...

Nicky Nikolaev
Nicky Nikolaev 16 February 2016
Read more
The Carrot of a Bigger Market is More Powerful Than the Stick of Legal Action in Driving Web Accessibility Investment, New Research Finds

The Carrot of a Bigger Market is More Powerful Than the Stick of Legal Action in Driving Web Accessibility Investment, New Research Finds

Getting web accessibility right is a massive commercial opportunity. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.3bn people worldwide are living with some form of impairment. The benefits of making it easier for...

Michael Nutley
Michael Nutley 30 November 2023
Read more
It’s Time For Brands to Move From Personalised, to Personal

It’s Time For Brands to Move From Personalised, to Personal

At a time when almost every brand is tailoring content and offers to individual customers based on their demographic data, purchase history, and online behaviours, are these personalisation efforts still adding value?...

Shafqat Islam
Shafqat Islam 27 November 2023
Read more
From Success to Setback: Lessons in MarTech Decision-Making

From Success to Setback: Lessons in MarTech Decision-Making

We often talk to clients about the consolidation of MarTech capabilities across vendors, to the point that it’s often not too difficult to pick up a new technology if you’re comfortable working with an alternative...

Andrew Addison
Andrew Addison 29 November 2023
Read more