Working from home as a marketer—good or bad?
I don’t need to tell you that the workplace dynamic has been seismically changed since the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw a large proportion (though not all) office-based roles across the world into a situation hitherto unknown to many: working from home. It’s brought with it both advantages and problems (to employee and employer alike). The question as to what extent this shall remain the norm is one being constantly debated by governments, management and employees globally, as is unlikely to reach a decisive conclusion any time soon. I do not propose to rethread this topic here. Instead, I thought I’d have a look at how working from home specifically affects marketing roles; I won’t be considering more generic aspects such as team meetings, commuting time, the social element of work, etc, which are thoroughly discussed elsewhere and I’ve no desire to repeat content.
Content writing requires calm
Executing an effective marketing campaign requires a bit of clear headspace, to put it mildly. For instance, when it’s time to research and plan out a piece of content writing, sometimes it's nice to be free of distractions; these might include people constantly coming to your desk or the interruptive cacophony of desk phones. Personally I find I get into the flow of writing best when left undisturbed. And content writing isn't the only area of marketing that can benefit from a bit of calm; the same can be said for design and analytics, for example. In a previous job I once took a day off to get through a major analytics project for our sales team. I loved my office and colleagues but it was one of those projects where I just needed that bit of space and alone-time to get through those stats.
The heart of the marketing matter
One positive to be had for working on site as opposed to at home is, quite simply, your ears are closer to the ground as to what is going on in your company. Despite sometimes being seen as ‘admin’, marketing roles can have a surprising degree of ‘hands-on’ elements. As a marketer, you can be more reactionary. Perhaps a new product has landed in the warehouse and shop and you’re keen to get it up online as soon as you can. If you were working on site, you’d be able to go out and take those new pictures there and then, adjusting to your heart's content. If you’re working from home, you may end up relying on your on-site colleagues to take the photos for you and forward on. They may not have the time to do this quickly, and also may not understand the subtleties of lighting or camera angles too well, so getting ‘that shot’ may become a bit more tedious.
What works for one marketing project mightn't work for another
Of course, every marketing role is different. In smaller companies they may even intertwine with an admin or sales job. Likewise in bigger companies, marketing roles themselves are often broken down into specialties, a Content Writer might work alongside a Web Developer, or Social Media Manager, for example. In such cases it might be easier to make a decision on whether or not you feel you can effectively do all of your job at home or not. Even as a freelancer, I find content writing is something I work best at when sequestered away by myself, lulled by classical music and candles. For social media work, I find it easier to be on site at times, where I can grab fresh photographs for updates etc. As mentioned earlier, I find analytics jobs to be better suited to a distraction-free environment devoid of ringing phones and desk visits. Of course, the inverse can apply. You might be able to find a quiet room in the office while your home could be overrun by screaming kids and pets. There’s no one-size-fits all solution here.
So, what can we conclude from this brief pondering? As I said, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to working from home as a marketer. Neither is there when it comes to describing a marketer’s role, for that matter. There’s pluses and minuses to both sides; a quiet work-from-home environment is (in my experience at least) well suited to marketing projects that require concentration and calm, such as content writing or analytical tasks. Then again, sometimes creative marketing benefits from being able to immerse yourself in the environment and products that you’re trying to market. Ultimately, it’s a case of weighing up these positives and negatives and then looking at how they apply to your situation. It could well be a case that a hybrid model works best. I can’t think of many marketing roles I’ve worked in where at least a proportion of it couldn’t have been successfully carried out from home though. In the odd case, ALL of it. That’s just me, however. What are your thoughts?