The majority of marketers do not believe their businesses have policies in place that can adapt to the rapidly changing nature of remote working caused by the evolving coronavirus outbreak.
Marketing Week and sister title Econsultancy conducted an exclusive survey of 2,249 marketers globally. It found that among the 887 UK brand-side marketers that responded, just 42% of marketers believe their organisation has a best practice resource for remote working that is adaptable to emerging needs.
A further 49% believe their company’s policies for remote working and their tech team set-up is adaptable, while 53% believe the definition of remote work is adaptable and 53% say that their suite of tools is adaptable.
Furthermore, only 40% say their organisation is ‘very proficient’ at enabling remote work, with strong technology, culture and processes. Some 43% say their organisation is ‘somewhat proficient’, while 16% describe their organisations as ‘not proficient’ with weak tech, culture and systems in place.
This lack of preparedness is reflected in the impact marketers believe a significant increase in remote working will have on their business. Some 12% believe their organisation will definitely be compromised, while 51% say that their business could be compromised depending on the scale and duration of the coronavirus outbreak. Just 38% suggest their organisation would not be compromised.
In order to limit that impact, 97% cite being able to hold virtual meetings or events as critical to their business’ competitiveness. A further 86% say rapidly training the workforce to be effective at working remotely is key, while 81% cite being able to upskill the workforce through virtual training and on-demand learning resources.
However, just 23% of marketers say their company currently offers virtual training or learning resources, and 15% offer on-demand training. Only a quarter (24%) have best practice resources for working remotely.
The challenges of remote working
When it comes to the challenges of remote working, creativity is seen as the biggest issue, cited by 53% of UK brand marketers. Half believe performance management is a significant challenge, while 45% cite performance management.
Data sharing, data security and maintaining GDPR/privacy compliance are also seen as critical or significant challenges. Meanwhile, campaign co-ordination, running productive meetings, attending productive meetings, accessing data, and vendor and contractor management are seen as ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ challenging when working from home.
The survey also exposed some key myths around remote working. For example, 45% believe video meetings are less efficient than conference calls, while 25% believe getting tech support remotely is very difficult. A further 45% believe that having some people in a room together while others are remote is ineffective for the people dialling in.