Marketing in the modern world often involves working in teams and with clients that are stretched across countries, time zones, and continents. You often feel they expect you to be available on a 24/7 basis to answer messages, emails, or to collaborate with others. We all have the technology and devices to be contactable at all hours of the day.
There is an unwritten rule that we should be available at all hours under the sun! Do not reply to a message within an hour and they see us as unprofessional, lazy, or purposely ignoring it. Despite the fact that they sent it at dinnertime or in the middle of the night.
Think about it. How long do you spend each day checking your emails, messengers, team collaboration apps just in case there is something that your eyes need to see? Perhaps a client in Europe has asked for an update on their project, or a collaborating team member in Australia has posed a question that needs answering.
We are constantly connected to work and it never stops. Even when we are not working, we are checking our communication channels. Studies have shown that messages impact up to two-thirds of our day. Whether by checking for them, answering them, being distracted by them, or worrying about them.
We have changed how we work, we no longer work asynchronously whereby we have set hours that people can expect replies. Instead, we are all meant to work synchronously, which leads to the illusion that we should always be available. We even change the way we use technology by using gadgets and software.
Productivity Goes Out the Window
Studies have shown that on average, we take a good 20 minutes to refocus after a single message. For marketers, when you consider how many messages and emails we read, that is a lot of time each day when we are not totally focused on our work.
Because of that lost time, we often have to adapt our time and work faster. Obviously, this leads to lower quality results due to rushing. It also increases stress levels, increases pressure, and results in frustration.
For a single marketer that is a big problem, but when multiplied across an entire team, you can see that this is not an ideal situation at all. A line really has to be drawn at some point.
The Solution - A Return to Asynchronous Working
If you are a digital marketer that works in the conditions detailed above, perhaps the solution would be to return to a more traditional, somewhat classic style of working. This is not to suggest going back to an office environment but to make it clear to your team, clients, and anyone else, that everybody works set hours a day. That sometimes responses will not be immediate.
Furthermore, make it clear that communication only occurs in special circumstances and that focus is important for a higher quality of work completed. Set times when your team needs to be synchronous and when not.
Let people work on their own and without distraction, and the results will be better. Let people get back to you when they are ready and the working environment will be much calmer.
Technology has allowed us to develop how we work, but there has to be some kind of balance between traditional methods and modern ones. At the end of the day, productivity levels are vital for a team of marketers. We might think the tools we use are helping this but most times, they are having the opposite effect.