Businesses around the world have swiftly adapted their remote work practices to accommodate their teams in the last two years. A little bit of trivia for those of you who may not know, the Clix team has always been fully remote! So we felt a little more comfortable with how communication and work changed for so many, but we had to make some adjustments as well.
The benefits and drawbacks of remote work are pretty heavily debated, with things like feelings of isolation or experiencing burnout pretty high up on the list of negatives. It’s crucial to both your professional skills and mental wellbeing to find a solid balance of producing valuable work and refilling your joy along the way. The key to maintaining that balance is being intentional with both your time and the activities you put on the calendar.
Here are some of the ways our team has been able to stay connected recently, in our collaborative work and to lighten the mood from time to time.
Prior to 2020, the team would pick an industry conference and use that venue for skill development and to discuss the path forward as a team. With that option still not fully viable for us this year, we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to collaborate. So we blocked off two full days and started organizing ourselves as solo or shared presenters holding our own mini-conference! We took time to verify goals for our team and for our clients, and to provide one another with feedback and different perspectives for our various initiatives. But of course that meant we were going into the retreat with a large set of topics to cover, and time management was going to be important.
One of the ways we accounted for that need was to make entirely separate meeting invitations for each major agenda topic, with unique links for our team to join at the associated times. I’ll be honest – it made my calendar look like a madhouse, but the intention of it came through. There was a clear break, even if just for a few minutes, for everyone to put down Topic A and prepare for Topic B. Each portion of the conversation was managed to ensure we got through the important stuff, but left room for the creative juices to flow and plant seeds for what we could do later.
What resulted is a deep and wide list of ideas and plans we can all choose from throughout the next year to help move the needle, between the ebbs and flows of responsibilities we share. Even better, we have a few distinct Slack channels that continue our method of isolating major topics so they don’t get jumbled together with everything else. That keeps conversations and documents or files organized together vs. searching through your Google Drive or email folders.
We’ve gone the route of a weekly ‘happy hour’ where we put the work down for 60 minutes as a team and share stories about other aspects of our lives. Sometimes there are jokes. Occasionally we share hidden facts. We discuss our families, pets, vacation plans, and we would be fooling ourselves if we didn’t admit PPC topics slip in the discussion from time to time, too!
In-person happy hours require choosing one place for everyone to gather, and personally what I love about the virtual version is each person can choose their atmosphere. We have members of our team who take the call while they go for a walk, or are able to get on the road for a little one’s school pick up without having to miss the camaraderie. Even if we move the time of day or agree to a shorter meet up, the team always feels a bit refreshed when we pause to laugh and catch up.
We wanted to make sure our training days were inclusive of some rejuvenating activities, as well. The Clix team happens to feel refreshed when they’re learning, so we went to the folks at Boombox Events to find a couple new experiences to share. We chose a succulent planting workshop that included a full lesson on the do’s and don’ts of succulent care, in addition to our virtual host walking us through the step-by-step instructions to build an adorable planter with the materials they sent along ahead of time. We also selected a brigadeiro chocolate class (our instructor, TinyB, is offering a holiday version!) that resulted in yummy treats while also teaching us about various Brazilian traditions. Plus, our host played some memorable tunes while we created our desserts and we were able to share with our families at home when we logged off for the day!
Collaboration and connection are imperative to the continued evolution of digital marketing and how we can all do our best work. Get creative! Find methods that work for your team, and remember – everything is test worthy in this industry. Give a few things a try and acknowledge they may not all stick or be a hit, but you’ll learn something no matter what!