In April 2020, there were more than 8,000 martech solutions.
That number will only continue to grow as it has since it began being tracked in 2011. With so many solutions, how can you determine the right mix so that you can execute your strategy, enhance team collaboration, and scale going forward? It’s a common question many teams are facing as we begin to look ahead to 2022 and one addressed in a recent Reuter’s webinar.
Wrike’s Head of Marketing, Esther Flammer, was joined by Ryanair’s Director of Marketing, Communications & Digital, Dara Brady, to speak on “Fueling Growth in 2022: Technology, Collaboration, Marketing Strategy.” Topics included managing budgets during the pandemic, collaboration and scaling while working remotely, building relationships, the movement towards automated technologies, and future digital workplace trends in marketing.
Go here to watch the webinar recording and read on for the five takeaways from Esther and Dara.
Digital workplace trends to watch
Digital fatigue is real
As much of the world went remote, many realized that in-person collaboration wasn’t happening again anytime soon, so teams quickly turned to video conferencing solutions as their backup plan. It was great at first because companies could still hold their weekly and monthly meetings. But since they couldn’t just pop around the corner to a colleague’s desk, impromptu meetings began to increase. Before long, the calendar went from manageable to “how am I supposed to get any work done?”
Back-to-back meetings are, no doubt, draining. Now, many employees work extended hours since they don’t have to commute. And, with easy access to work from a home office or mobile device, managing global teams and bridging time gaps is all that much easier.
A growing number of teams are looking for ways to minimize meetings and get back to being more productive. Couple that with the fact that many people are glued to their mobile devices and it only compounds the issue that digital fatigue is real and we need to take steps to modify our behaviors. Having an outcome-based mentality can help support employees. Another way to appreciate employees and prevent burnout is to offer mental health or “thank you” days where they can unplug from emails, chats, and “being on.”
Creative planning and clear communication remain necessary
Like many companies, Ryanair wasn’t poised to make the work from home transition overnight. Many that were accustomed to the in-office setup suffered from less collaboration (there’s an app for that) and relationship building. As Dara says, companies need to be far more planned and concise to manage their work remotely.
In hindsight, remote work has made Ryanair’s team sharper because they’ve had to adjust and be creative to remain successful. During the planning stages, providing clear feedback and requests is paramount since the desk pop-in isn’t an option to ask follow-up questions. Here, dynamic request forms and blueprints are key because everything is customizable and is automatically routed to the correct teammate.
Though with most everything being digital and virtual, there’s more room for interpretation over online communication. One way to get around this is to use emojis — a smile, clap, or thumbs up can go a long way in establishing the right tone of voice and ensure your message doesn’t get misinterpreted.
Interpersonal relationships are still taking a hit in a hybrid working environment
Dara asserts that emotional connection to the business and colleagues don’t translate as well if teammates are 100% online. They lose the “learning by seeing” aspect of onboarding. Rather, Esther says that organizations need to be more methodical in their onboarding plans for fully remote employees, which raises the question: How do you provide new employees access to everything they need while helping them build relationships virtually?
Exposing new employees to new faces and teams with a “buddy” program, virtual networking, and shadowing are great options. At Wrike, some teams hold coffee chats and happy hours to talk about anything except work-related items. This gives us a chance to talk about personal hobbies, current events, or our weekend plans. It’s a pleasant way to get to know each other better and establish camaraderie.
Establishing an in-house collaborative knowledge base where you can organize all company information from anywhere is another suitable route, too. Also, going beyond digital channels by sending direct mail welcome kits or coordinating local socially distanced office gatherings. For example, our team in the Dublin office recently participated in a canal cleanup day followed by a barbeque social.
People + technology = best collaboration
Collaborating in a remote or hybrid working environment presents some challenges, but they’re not insurmountable. Coordinating meeting times across time zones and rallying teams around tools in the tech stack come to mind. Both Esther and Dara agree that people are still the greatest assets to organizations because they’re at the root of innovation and collaboration. That said, people and processes around technology are key to growth and scalability.
Dara advocates that less is more when it comes to technology and consistency of usage is key. He continued by saying you’re better off having three or four tools that are used by an entire team rather than 10 tools that are only used by a handful of people. Esther agrees and posits that consolidation may be necessary but it’s best to have a single source of truth that houses data and encourages collaboration for all stakeholders with dashboards and OKRs that are visible to everyone.
Future digital workplace trends: Remote working and automated tech will lead the way
If remote work on a global scale has proved anything to the world, it’s that it works. Dara predicts the days of teams working 100% in-office as a thing of the past and sees many organizations moving to either a hybrid working environment or full-time remote working model, as evidenced by the growing list of companies making the transition. Also, all legacy processes that take manual effort from employees will become automated. Ryanair is focusing on self-service technology and breaking down the customer journey, seeing where they can automate to scale quicker.
Esther believes the market will become more saturated and consumers increasingly distracted. To push through the noise, marketers must continue to become more personalized and rely on their data to reach audiences. Marketing will continue to be the strategic driver and there will be more opportunity to become “smarter” and strategic due to tool and data availability. She looks for technology that breaks down silos and eliminates manual processes along with solutions that can identify and nurture early stage buyers. In both cases, investing in cloud tools are key so employees can access tools and collaborate remotely. After all, automated tech will be a primary driver for hyper growth companies looking to thrive in Q4 and moving into 2022.
Watch the webinar recording
These are only a few highlights covered during the Reuters event and there’s much more to unpack. Visit the webinar recording here and keep up with digital workplace trends. Then start your free trial of Wrike today and experience the most robust collaborative work management platform. Your team will thank you.