Will marketers return to the offices in 2021? What companies need to know [Data + Expert Tips]

I chose HubSpot in 2018 because I loved the HubSpot content and culture.

Oh – and the smoothie bar, the waffle on Wednesdays, and the ping pong tables didn’t hurt either.

Office space has undoubtedly changed in recent years. Open floor plans have become increasingly popular, as have standing desks, draft beer, playrooms, and even greenhouse rooms. As that decade came to an end, many of my closest friends were choosing jobs that were at least partly based on the office atmosphere.

Yet it has long been said that remote working is the future. In fact, HubSpot has been promoting the benefits of remote working in its Culture Code since 2012, which says, “Work is not a place we go, it’s a thing we do.”

That premonition became a reality in 2020 when the pandemic forced an entire global workforce to switch to remote working virtually overnight.

And now that the dust has settled and employees are finding new, innovative ways to work productively from home, many companies are asking themselves: do we still need an office at all?

Let’s examine how marketers in the US feel about remote working in 2021, and whether remote working is just a current necessity – or the new long-term reality.

Will the employees return to the office?

To find out whether employees will return to the office in 2021 or not (if they are allowed to), I first conducted a survey 496 marketers and asked the question: If you have the opportunity to return to your physical job in 2021, will you return or continue working remotely?

The results were roughly divided in half. 40% of marketers will continue to work remotely full-time – and the remaining 11% do not have the ability to work remotely, but they want to

However, that leaves 49% of marketers who want the opportunity to work in an office spaceat least part-time.

Let’s break down that 49% for a second: out of that 49%, 24% of marketers don’t have the option to work remotely, preferring their office space. 9% want to get back to the office as soon as possible. and 16% prefer a flexible schedule so that they have the opportunity to do both.

Hubspot data 2-min

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Other research supports this trend. The Pew Research Center surveyed over 10,000 adults in the United States and found that 54% of workers would like to continue working from home after the pandemic ends. A third said they wanted to work remotely at least partially – while only 11% said they wanted to return to the office full time.

HubSpot’s employee data also underline this shift. Many employees now prefer to work remotely over in-office work. In fact, two-thirds of HubSpot employees plan to work remotely more often, even after offices reopen, and about 16% plan a shift completely away for the first time.

I spoke to HubSpot’s Remote Work and Inclusion Program Manager, Meaghan Williams, to get a better sense of why many marketers want to stay remote even after the pandemic has ended. She told me, “Before COVID-19 forced everyone to work from home, a work day for an office worker was often scheduled on a day when they might have appointments, have deliveries, or be uncomfortable.” “

“‘Working from home’ has quickly been equated with low productivity, distraction, and couch work. With long-term commitments to working from home, I suspect that many people have found a way to be productive in their workplaces create and create a routine and make the most of your working hours to enable more productivity. “

Williams says, “Working remotely isn’t for everyone, but for some, the ability to focus without the distraction of the office or the freedom to jump on your laptop when creativity picks up (instead of trying to get hold of the idea while seated.” Traffic!) You can have them connected to remote control for long distances. “

Of course, logistics will also take into account an employee’s decision to return to an office. For example, many companies sell their office space and then force employees to move away completely. Alternatively, some companies are moving to satellite offices or simply reducing the number of office locations they own worldwide.

Ultimately, the data suggests that many employees want to stay away after the pandemic ends, but others prefer to be able to return to an office.

Which presents a unique challenge: How can companies meet all of their employees’ needs when those needs seem so evenly distributed in the middle?

Many companies (including HubSpot) will increasingly be interested in creating a hybrid experience. This means employees have the option to stay away completely, return to the office all day, or experience a little of both.

Next, let’s dig deeper into what this data means for marketing managers.

What the data means for marketing managers

If you are in a leadership position, you will likely find that many of your employees want to stay away even after the pandemic has ended.

Long-distance living has its advantages. For example, Vrnda LeValley, Customer Training Manager at HubSpot, told me, “I plan to stay completely virtual because I like to use my commute time to meditate and mentally prepare for my day. I also love the flexibility to be from anywhere to work. “”

“I like that remote working unlocks my ability to choose places to live that support the inclusive and diverse experience that is so important in creating a sense of community and belonging.”

Additionally, Leslie Green, Senior Social Media Campaign Manager at HubSpot, says, “I made a decision to move to a completely remote employee during the pandemic to be closer to my network and choose my home, not based on my job, but where I actually want it. ” Being close to my network and in a city (Austin) that fits my lifestyle allows me to come to work as my best self every day. “

Remote Life gives employees the flexibility to work where, when and how they want to work. and it enables companies to attract talent from around the world without barriers such as physical proximity to an office becoming a factor in hiring decisions.

However, there are certain challenges you will face when leading a remote team – many of which were highlighted during the 2020 pandemic activated Shuffle. Now let’s dive into some of them.

1. Marketing managers need to invest in quality remote tools and platforms.

When leading a remote team, you are likely to encounter some unique communication and technology challenges.

For example, 39% of employees believe their transition to remote work would be improved with better remote tools and platforms for communication and collaboration.

Survey responses too

Quality video conferencing tools, messaging platforms, and task and project management software are required to ensure that your team continues to perform well, regardless of where they work in 2021 and beyond.

Additionally, you can use collaboration tools like Google Suite or Microsoft Office Teams to align your team with your company’s vision and the specific roles your team needs to perform so your business can grow over the next year.

With 45% of remote workers worried about team collaboration when it comes to collaborating with colleagues in the office and remotely, it is important that you continue to invest in tools that will help you regardless of where you are Align individual team members.

Survey responses too

2. Marketing managers should continue to prioritize remote workforce growth.

As a manager, it is important that you make sure that your employees feel like they are continuing to grow in their roles even after they are completely removed.

Finding unique opportunities for growth and development may feel more difficult working remotely than working in person. In fact, 40% of remote workers think that remote living has negatively impacted their careers:

Survey responses too

To keep your people growing in the long run, it’s important that you have annual or semi-annual performance and career growth conversations, even if you work remotely.

Also, consider how you can implement task tracking or project management documentation to track the progress of your reps when you ask them to do certain marketing activities since you no longer have the privilege of watching them in person how they excel.

By standardizing the tools you use to track your team’s progress, you can quickly identify top performers on your team and reward them accordingly.

3. Marketers need to lead with empathy.

Your team is dealing with a very stressful and difficult time – and not just professionally.

Many team members are likely to be juggling childcare, psychological stressors as a result of the pandemic, and other important deterrents in their day-to-day work. In fact, 46% of employees surveyed say that their work performance was negatively impacted by changes at home as a result of COVID-19:

Survey responses on the impact of COVID on workplace performance

In addition, around 50% of employees fear that their performance will be assessed without considering these challenges.

A good manager leads with empathy. If you have weekly discussions with your employees, or even conduct performance reviews, it is important that you take the time to understand external factors that can contribute to sub-ideal performance, and take these factors into account when evaluating your performance Employee.

Also, understanding your employees’ situation can help you identify areas where you may be able to support them as a leader. For example, if you know that someone is on “childcare” in the morning, it’s important that you take the extra step of making sure you don’t slack off them or schedule meetings they can’t attend during that time.

These little details can go a long way in creating a healthier, more productive work-life balance for all of your employees.

These tips are designed to help you learn how to lead a remote team. When reopening offices and transitioning from business to a hybrid workplace, you are likely to encounter some unique challenges. Next, let’s examine some expert tips on how to create and leverage a hybrid workplace over the long term.

Expert tips for creating hybrid workplaces

To find out how companies can create hybrid jobs in 2021 and beyond, I spoke to Eimear Marrinan, HubSpot’s director of culture.

She told me, “One of the most important things to consider is effectively creating a culture that enables productivity and ultimately commitment to a hybrid work model.”

Marrinan adds, “If you proactively reflect critically about your culture, many organizations will emerge or break this year.”

When considering how you could create a hybrid workplace, there are a few factors Marrinan recommends that leaders keep in mind. These include:

    • Create a truly inclusive environment, one that is fair regardless of location. That means being really purposeful and deliberate in how you interact with employees – tactical things like holding team meetings or off-sites when not everyone is in the office, and relying on practically inclusive events and programming to keep the experience separate from yours Seat is the same and ensure that all benefits and advantages are location-independent and not dependent on an office location. For example, we at HubSpot announced in 2021 and 2022 that all new benefits and discounts can be used regardless of location.
    • Culture is not tied to an office – It is based on a company’s values ​​and behaviors. It’s so important to make sure you have the right values ​​and behaviors when companies move to hybrid. Bring your culture back to the basics and consider the basics – ex. a culture of flexibility, adaptability and empathy.
  • Ask your employees for feedback. At HubSpot, we invest in feedback from our employees about what they value, what they want, and what concerns they have. Listen to your employees – and don’t just listen, but react to the feedback. This is new to so many companies so we can’t just assume we know all the answers … we certainly don’t.

Tamara Lilian, HubSpot’s Culture and Experience Manager, shares Marrinan’s advice, adding, “Creating an effective hybrid workplace requires full company commitment, adaptability and empathy. Regardless of how strong your experience in the office was, this one Culture You appreciate so deeply that this will not result in a hybrid world on its own. “

Let’s examine a few other hybrid workplace creation tips from marketers and industry leaders working to capitalize on the hybrid experience.

1. Make intentional decisions with the hybrid experience at the forefront of your mind.

Tamara Lilian, HubSpot’s culture and experience manager, suggests making deliberate decisions from the start to ensure remote working isn’t just an afterthought in your planning: “Before giving your people an experience in a hybrid world you need to create it first to be proactive or reactive and really deliberate with the experience. “

She adds, “Zoom links can no longer be an afterthought, considering time zones and the work-from-home environment of employees. They need to be built into your approach from day one.”

To truly invest in a hybrid environment, it is important that you make decisions without preferring those at home or in the office. Instead, you want to create an experience that your employees can enjoy from anywhere.

2. Postpone your current employee offerings to meet their new needs and involve employees in your process.

A few years ago, most of HubSpot’s onboarding training was in-person, which meant you had to fly into an office and stay in a hotel to attend.

Now the training courses are completely remote.

When moving to a hybrid model, it is important that you figure out how to move your current offerings so that they can offer the same value regardless of someone’s physical location.

Lilian asks, “How can you adapt your current offerings to the needs of your employees in a hybrid world? Perhaps you are considering how you can align your growth and development offers with a self-service model that employees can use resources, when and where they are best and not in your time zone or schedule. “

3. Allow flexibility in your employees’ schedules.

Ivelisse Rodriguez, HubSpot’s historical optimization specialist, urges employers to encourage flexibility when moving to a hybrid workplace.

She said to me, “One of the main benefits of Remote is the ability to create a unique work schedule. When organizations remain inflexible – that is, expect employees to log in at exactly 9am or keep checking in to Slack to see if they sign up. ” are online – they take away one of the main advantages of being remote. “

“Remote workers lose social contact, office banter, and personal camaraderie, but flexibility makes up for it. Be flexible, trust your people to get their jobs done, and don’t let your online status get you started obsessed with a person. Whether or not they are online does not affect whether they actually do their job. “

4. Remote workers should not be an exception to the rule.

Dmitry Shamis, Senior Director of Creative at HubSpot, told me, “I was away before the pandemic, but over the last year I’ve learned that remote control doesn’t have to be the exception to the rule.”

“I used to be in the office once a month and thought it was a must to keep the team together and show people that I was available. Now that there is no office, I can see how much time I spend with TSA, Wasted weather delays and hotel checks -ins etc-plus how much forced activity was required when I was around. “

“From here on, I think if the team gets together (and keeps it practically inclusive) it will be a lot more real. People have to learn not to crutch on physical office space – there are better ways to connect with people regardless of location connect to. “

5. Encourage your employees to take advantage of remote meetings.

Stephanie Worley, Microsoft Advertising Global Brand Storytelling Leader, told me how important it is for her and her team to set boundaries in terms of work and personal life: “People certainly work long hours these days. In my role at Microsoft Advertising I spend my days in contact with colleagues, customers and partners all over the world. Microsoft teams has become the glue that connects us and supports our conversations and collaborations through video calls, chat and document sharing. “

She adds, “One thing we realized during this pandemic is that without the normal work transitions of a shuttle that goes between meetings and the break room, we can easily sit in front of our desks from early morning to late at night if we don’t set ourselves any limits. “

She also personally found it helpful to hold some outdoor meetings to enjoy the fresh air and new perspective: “Microsoft Teams is mobile, so we can attend meetings and collaborate with colleagues from anywhere. I have a new practice started attending. Taking a walk during a meeting. Taking a daily walk during a meeting helps me get out, get some fresh air, do sports, and stimulate more creative thinking. “

As your team adapts to a hybrid setup, encourage everyone to switch where they hold meetings. Whether you’re in the office or elsewhere, a hybrid team gives you the flexibility to hold meetings on the go.

6. Offer home scholarships whenever possible. Also, prioritize the mental health of your employees as they adjust to this new normal.

Christina Mautz, Marketing Director and Sales Director at Moz, shared some key components with which she has supported her team in the adjustment over the past year.

She told me, “Moz was a remote-first company prior to any changes mandated by the pandemic. We have found that employees work best when the office culture prioritizes things like accountability, empathy and transparency. Those values ​​are so many more important than.” Ask our teams to sit at their desks a certain number of hours per day. “

That being said, ‘remote working’ means different things to many different people. The young colleague who just graduated from college may not have their own office space in their house while new or working parents may feel the conflict of the day of juggling Against sharing the same room with their virtual learning children. To help, Moz is offering grants for the Internet at home, cell phone service and a $ 500 reimbursement for the home office. “

Most importantly, she points out the importance of prioritizing the mental health of your employees: “We addressed the many life-changing experiences we’ve all made public and made sure our employees know they are open with HR and Leadership can speak. We ‘We also reminded Mozzers of our employee benefits program, which provides mental health benefits to those in need. “

“And while working remotely seems easier compared to commuting to the office, our team managers encourage employees to be careful that the work (because it is now at home) is not taken over. As a global office in many time zones Not every question is answered immediately. The project progress and the KPIs are still on our shoulders. As an organization, however, we have stated that we know that our employees cannot always work 100%. “

Moz’s CMO told me, “Each of these components is designed to help our employees thrive in whatever ‘office’ they are in – during these isolating times and long after.”

The good news? This “new normal” offers companies the opportunity to really redefine their values ​​and give employees the opportunity to decide for themselves where, when and how they will perform best.

The companies that are ahead will be the companies that listen to these global changes and grow with them in order to continuously improve the work culture.

Trust us: your employees will thank you.

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