Empathy grows as marketers get closer to their teams during Covid-19 crisis

But marketers are split over the impact of the coronavirus crisis on team cohesion, with almost as many saying team efficiency is worse than before the pandemic as say it is better.

Remote teamsAmid the continuing Covid-19 lockdown and mounting pressures of remote working, marketers are developing more empathy for their colleagues.

Some 83% of UK marketers say they feel more empathy for their colleagues, while 64% report feeling more empathy from their co-workers, as personal and working lives blur amid the crisis.

According to an exclusive survey of 849 UK brand marketers conducted by Marketing Week and its sister title Econsultancy, 46% of marketers say they have got to know their colleagues better during the pandemic, while 45% say they now feel closer to their co-workers than before the coronavirus outbreak.

Part of this feeling of closeness could be down to the fact 80% of marketers have had a glimpse into their colleagues’ homes thanks to video calling.

A further 36% of marketers say team cohesion is better than normal since the pandemic began, while 44% report an improvement to team communications.

However, 31% of marketers say team efficiency is worse than normal amid the challenges of remote working and 42% report a decline in team morale.

Marketers working in larger organisations (revenues of more than £50m) report stronger team cohesion (41%), compared to their counterparts in smaller companies (33%). They are also more likely to say team communications have improved during the crisis (51%), compared to marketers in smaller businesses with revenue under £50m (42%).

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Marketers in smaller organisations are more likely to say team efficiency (34%) and team morale (49%) have worsened due to the coronavirus outbreak. By comparison, 25% of marketers in larger organisations have seen efficiency suffer and 33% say morale has dipped.

As uncertainty worsens and businesses in all sectors consider furloughing employees, more than half (56%) of marketers are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned for the job security of a member of their team.

Worries for the security of their teams become more pressing for marketers the smaller their organisation. Whereas 46% of marketers in large businesses are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned for the job security of a member of their team, this rises to 62% for marketers working in smaller companies.

Teams evolve

Marketers are, however, making changes to their team structures in order to cope with the new working reality.

Some 41% have taken action to create teams more rapidly, while 45% are creating cross-functional teams and 39% have been working on identifying the right people for the new teams. A further 57% of marketers are now working cross-functionally while working remotely.

More than half of marketers (51%) in larger organisations have taken action to create teams more rapidly, compared to 35% of those working in smaller businesses. Likewise, 55% of marketers in bigger businesses are creating cross-functional teams, whereas just 37% in smaller companies can say the same.

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When it comes to identifying the right people for new teams, 45% of marketers in large organisations have taken such action, compared to 34% in smaller companies.

In general, communication channels are also evolving. More than half (58%) of marketing teams have moved from telephone and email communications to video conferencing since the onset of Covid-19.

Overall, 64% are now using video check-ins, 78% are catching up on email and 66% are communicating via chat channels such as Microsoft Teams and Slack. Some 40% are even hosting virtual social events.

Crucially, 51% of marketers say they are checking in individually more often to ensure the members of their team are working efficiently.