More than half (62%) of UK marketers believe their organisation could be compromised by the need to work remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic.
An exclusive survey of 887 UK brand marketers conducted by Marketing Week and its sister title Econsultancy, finds that remote working has been somewhat rare or rare until recently among 38% of marketers. However, 83% believe it will become somewhat or very common over the near to medium term.
Amid the shift, marketers have genuine concerns about how their teams will manage working remotely during the Covid-19 outbreak and the impact it could have on business.
Fortunately, only 12% of marketers believe their organisation would definitely be compromised if there is a significant increase in remote working.
However, a further 50% believe it could be compromised depending on the scale and duration. Just 38% believe there would not be an impact on their organisation.
The impact on marketing teams
Some 59% of respondents say that running productive meetings remotely will be somewhat or very challenging, while 54% believe that attending such meetings will prove difficult.
Likewise, 32% worry about the challenges of accessing data and databases, 29% are concerned about campaign coordination, and 25% are worried that vendor or contractor management will be compromised in the context of remote working.
While 81% of senior UK marketers (director level and above) say that remote working is excellent for concentration, 92% also admit that it is not suited to everyone. Some 68% of senior marketers believe creative collaboration will suffer if workers cannot share the same space and 75% think collaborating in person will always be superior to virtual meetings.
A further 37% of these senior marketers are concerned that remote working is not well suited to junior staff, while 63% admit that training in best practice is needed to make remote working most effective.
The impact of remote working on work/life balance
In addition, there are real worries that working remotely could impact on marketers’ lives.
Some 25% of all respondents say that remote working will inevitably intrude on their personal life. And while 73% of marketers believe they are more efficient working from home, 68% are concerned they will work more hours from home than they would in the office.
In addition, 23% are worried that getting tech support remotely will be difficult, while 45% say that dialling in remotely for a conference call, when other people are in a room together, is ineffective.
It is clear the issues around remote working are not likely to disappear any time soon. Some 73% of marketers think that enabling remote working at scale will be important or critical over the next one to two quarters. Likewise, enabling remote sales calls/job interviews/meetings will be important or critical for 75% of brands over the coming months.
While 6% of the marketers surveyed believe that there will be significant long-term changes to the way they work following the Covid-19 outbreak, 54% think most ways of working will go back to normal, but there will be some changes.
Just 32% of UK marketers think their working life will return entirely to the way it was once the pandemic is under control.