Best practices for driving greater connections and performance with remote teams

Matt Heinz

The human brain is amazing in its capacity to accept massive change in a short period of time.  What felt like a massive disruption in March, when many of us stopped traveling and started working from home full-time, now feels a bit more normal, in part because it’s become more routine.

But that doesn’t make it any less disruptive or stressful.  According to recent research, a full one-third of Americans are exhibiting signs of clinical anxiety.  Not casual or occasional anxiety, clinical anxiety.  

Furthermore, a full 69 percent of employees are experiencing burnout from remote work.  And with many schools staying remote and offices staying closed, more of the same is in front of us.

At last week’s CMO Coffee Talk, we were joined by team dynamics specialist Jackie Insinger who shared a wide variety of insights and best practices to help marketing leaders increase productivity and decrease anxiety amongst their teams.

A few highlights from the session:

  • Relationships are the greatest predictor of success for office workers, which means we have to work harder when those relationships are more difficult to develop and maintain in a remote environment.  Hallways and kitchenettes and water coolers are gone.  Marketing leaders must work harder to create opportunities for their teams to foster relationships, especially among new teammates as well as groups that require a high degree of collaboration that is now more difficult without in-person time together.
  • The Platinum Role says treat other people the way they want to be treated.  Jackie has a whole article focused on helping marketing executives become platinum leaders.
  • Measure stress level and workload separately.  Jackie recommends starting team meetings, starting the week and/or starting 1:1 meetings by asking employees to rank themselves on a scale of 0-10 first based on their stress level and second based on their workload.  These two things are not always inherently linked, and your ability to separate them can help accelerate your ability address and alleviate stress related to either stressor.
  • Celebrate small wins!  A winning culture self-perpetuates, and helps people feel like they are making progress.  Jackie said that progress is one of the greatest motivators of happiness amongst employees, and further recommended companies create a highly visible, public place to celebrate progress and small wins.   How about a #SmallWins Slack channel?  Or a virtual “win wall”?
  • In team meetings, ask attendees to share one success AND one failure.  Make it clear that everyone is succeeding (even in small ways) and everything is facing adversity.
  • You can’t experience gratitude and fear at the same time.  Encouraging teams to express gratitude to each other – for big and little things – as well as encouraging a regular habit of expressing gratitude yourself can be incredibly powerful.

If you’re a marketing leader in your organization I’d like to invite you to our CMO Coffee Talk series, presented by 6sense and Heinz Marketing.  It’s an informal but highly engaging drop-in interactive Zoom meeting Fridays at 8:00 am Eastern and another at 8:00 am Pacific.  

Think of it as coffee with CMOs - you can participate actively or simply watch and read what others are thinking.  Get registered with a hands-free calendar invite here.

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