This article was originally featured on PerformanceIn.
Acceleration Partners is, and always has been, a 100% remote working company, which was unusual until the pandemic forced millions of people to work from home. The remote working trend isn’t new; it was gaining traction before but has accelerated since.
A recent YouGov survey found that 57% of British people want to work from home after the pandemic. So, it seems that remote work is here to stay, but what does it mean for the affiliate marketing industry?
Location and talent
The digital marketing industry has traditionally mainly been London-based; however, we have seen a trend towards other hub cities emerging, such as Bristol and Manchester. The speed of this change has dramatically increased as both employees and companies realise the daily office commute is not a necessity.
In the last six months, we’ve recruited 18-people into the EMEA business; 12 of those people live outside of London. A diverse range of backgrounds and skills applying for roles from outside of London can only be a good thing for the industry.
There is a disadvantage to the workforce being more dispersed. Affiliate marketing was built on relationships and socialisation, dispersion will dilute what has made the industry unique and thriving in the last 25-years, and we will need to work hard to keep this.
There is a cost to working from home in terms of equipment, fast internet, increased living costs, the need to have a workspace. Companies need to ensure that there is levelling, and nobody is disadvantaged due to their circumstances, which will be challenging for companies to navigate.
Remote working is only successful if you have robust technology to support communication, processes, and collaboration across a large, dispersed team. Since the lockdown, companies have needed to upgrade their technology so people can work effectively from home. In an eCommerce world where country barriers don’t exist, this is a positive development for our industry – being able to communicate effectively with colleagues and clients globally and remotely will support the development of the industry.
But can technology ever really replace the value of face-to-face contact? I think back to when times have been tough in my career, or we had been working on a big client pitch or project, working together in a room made it possible to overcome challenges. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to create that same togetherness via video conferencing.
What do you need to get right as an employer?
- Equip all employees with what they need to be successful. Reimburse for the fast broadband, make sure all employees have access to the best equipment, technology, and tools to do their job.
- Have robust processes and structures to monitor performance, clear goals, strategy, and transparency. Everyone should know their role and the part it plays in the broader company vision.
- Create social interaction, but don’t make it forced. Use technology like Slack, allow organic affinity groups to develop, create local Hubs where people can interact face-to-face.
- Train and coach people to communicate effectively in a remote environment. Don’t expect people to know how to deliver a presentation, create discussion, or present themselves on video.
Despite the YouGov survey results stating that 57% of British employees want to work from home, I think it’s too early to say what employees will want to do when the pandemic is over. These have been strange times and working from home hasn’t been ‘normal’. 37% of the people surveyed said they wanted to work from home some of the time. Many companies will likely need to manage a hybrid approach, creating many challenges such as managing capacity in offices, to equity across all employees regardless of how they are working.
In the same survey, 37% of people said they never wanted to work from home, and just 20% said they wanted to work from home full-time. People are hugely diverse, with different lifestyles and needs at various stages of their lives. Companies will need to decide how and if they will offer their workers flexibility. It will likely become a choice of where to work for many employees, rather than how to work.
You can learn more about our award-winning remote work culture on our website.