Virtual Work is on the Rise: 5 Ways to Prepare Yourself to be a Remote Marketer

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More and more people every year–including marketing contractors and full-time staff–are working traditional professional jobs from a nontraditional location.

New business management techniques and breakthroughs in technology have made it easier for many roles to be completed outside of the confines of office walls. In the United States, more than 25 million professionals will do most or all of their work from a remote location–and that number grows annually.

The appeal of virtual marketing staffing is understandably attractive to marketers of all kinds, and more and more employers are offering workplace flexibility to their staff. But before you become dazzled by the idea of working from the comfort of your own home or favorite cafe, stop to consider whether you’re really cut out for working in that kind of environment.

Working Remotely: Harder Than it Sounds

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Marketing is an obvious field for virtual work opportunities, and it’s easy to see why professionals and employers alike would find them appealing.

The worker gets to operate from a comfortable place of their choosing. That means avoiding soul-crushing commutes and the associated costs, lower stress levels, and often much higher job satisfaction.

The employer gets to drastically expand their candidate pool of potential hires and marketing contractors, can have dedicated workers, and saves on office costs.

It’s a win-win; at least in most situations.

Unfortunately, remote work simply isn’t for everyone, especially in long-term arrangements.

Sure, almost anyone can power through the occasional work-from-home day. But it takes a special combination of discipline, mindset, and work culture in order for marketing contractors and other professionals to be successful and productive when working on a virtual basis most or all of the time.

Working from home or other nearby location of your choosing sounds easy enough. But it’s all too easy to let yourself get distracted and lose motivation.

Heading into the office every day can be a drag, but there’s something to be said for a collaborative work environment where everyone is keeping each other accountable for staying on task and behaving professionally.

If you’re used to working in such a situation, transitioning to virtual work can be quite a shock.

You become solely responsible for keeping yourself on task and remaining productive despite distractions like a needy pet or noisy coffee shop neighbor. Perhaps you’ll miss the social interaction with your coworkers or the ability to use office facilities and amenities.

So before hopping on a remote marketing work opportunity, make sure that you’re really ready to adopt the new responsibility and take steps to prepare yourself for the shift.

How to Make the Most of a Remote Marketing Staffing Opportunity

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If you’re considering taking a virtual marketing position, or already have one and are concerned your productivity is starting to wane, here are some things you can do to stay on task and keep your motivation up:

  • Start slow: If possible, don’t go entirely from working in an office to working remotely overnight. If your manager allows it, start with one or two days a week and work your way up. You can find out if you really do or don’t like working away from the office, and choose to scale it up or down accordingly.
  • Keep an eye on your KPIs: Most people love the idea of remote work and think they’ll be able to adapt to it. But the only way to make sure your productivity stays high is to analytically watch your performance over time. Take note of where you stand with your KPIs when you start transitioning to remote work and track any changes. If they start slipping, you might need to adjust your work location.
  • Go out of your way to stay connected: In healthy work environments, there’s usually a steady amount of interaction between peers. That is likely to fade if you start working from an entirely different location, which can be highly damaging as marketing has become an increasingly collaborative and interconnected field. You can’t afford to lose touch with your coworkers, managers, and direct reports. Go above and beyond what you’d normally do to communicate and make yourself heard.
  • Use the right technology, the right way: Advances in technology have been the driving force in the latest wave of the telecommuting trend. Basic options like Google Docs, instant messaging services, and video conferencing can get anyone started, while more advanced options allow can nearly entirely eliminate most of the problems associated with remote marketing work. Make use of the growing suite of marketing tools designed to help disparate teams work together. Having a strong digital fluency and tech-savviness are almost essential to being a successful remote worker. You’ll need that comfort with technology in order to make the most of your tools and troubleshoot any problems (remember, you won’t have IT down the hall to save you when something breaks down!).
  • Develop good work-from-home habits: One thing that often kills the productivity of professionals working remotely is that they tend to naturally slide into the natural, relaxed mindset they adopt in those out-of-office environments. But if you emulate your work environment during your virtual hours, you can put your mind in the right place for productivity. Maintain a strict schedule that matches office hours. Dress yourself appropriately–you don’t have to go full business-formal, but at the very least get out of your sweats or other extremely casual wear. Maintain a dedicated, tidy workspace that’s well apart from areas where you would normally sleep or relax.

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