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How does remote working and working from home impact international digital marketers?
September 17, 2020
The last six months of national lockdowns and local government restrictions has completely turned the way we work upside down, with a large majority of office workers having worked remotely through part or all of the pandemic. Even now, with the government encouraging workers to head back to the office, many companies have come forward and said their employees can work from home as far as 2021 and beyond – Search Laboratory included.
Working from home is one of the top wants of workers, with 80% of employees saying they want to work from home at least some of the time. The enforced lockdown has proven to many businesses that employees can be just as productive when working from home as when they are in the office, and it is likely that companies across the globe will introduce some form of work from home policy as a result of the pandemic.
How can remote working lend itself to international digital marketing?
Offering remote working allows companies to hire the best talent in two ways: by making the company more appealing to those who want flexibility, and by widening the candidate pool as it is no longer limited to one location.
For businesses who want to expand internationally, having a work from home policy means they can recruit individuals from the markets they want to expand in. Working with mother tongue digital marketing experts is the key to succeeding in international expansion; native speakers have first-hand experience of the market, including any cultural or linguistical nuances that are crucial to getting right if you are to build trust with local audiences and compete with local competitors.
When it comes to international expansion, localisation – not translation – makes all the difference. Only native speaking digital experts are able to localise your website for each market, rather than simply translate the written content – the latter of which can cause issues when working with multiple markets who speak the same language but have very different customs and expectations. An example of such a small issue that would only be picked up by a native speaker is the use of incorrect formatting on a checkout form, which may lead to prospects abandoning their cart. Native speakers are also aware of different legal requirements and trust signals in a specific market, such as commonly used payment methods, T&Cs needed, and personal data laws, where a translator may not be.
Remote working is an attractive employment option for mother tongue digital marketing experts as it means they are able to spend more time in their home country if desired. This in itself can lend itself to brands selling across multiple markets as it means they can have in-country support working across the local working hours, allowing the team to be more reactive (something which is crucial for many services including digital PR, PPC and social media). Having on the ground knowledge means you are aware of trending topics or news as they happen and can take proactive measures to jump on opportunities or even amend strategies if needed.
It is worth noting that how international employees are taxed can change depending on their UK residence status, and businesses will need to be clued up on this when hiring so they can advise their employees if needed.
What about the challenges of remote working?
There is no denying that remote working can have its pitfalls, especially when team members sit across different markets.
One issue that may occur because of different time zones is a staggered or interrupted workflow. However, this can be resolved by clearly identifying timescales, deadlines, and where different team members need to be involved before the start of the project so that everyone can work together even when apart. Communication and flexibility also go a long way in preventing issues from arising.
Another challenge of remote working is the lack of office culture which can help all members feel part of a team, and you will need to work out ways to keep a company culture going strong while working remotely. This will look different for different companies, but examples may include virtual group meetings, work socials (both online and offline), and a minimum requirement to spend in the office each week, month or year depending on the needs of your staff.
Search Laboratory has worked with mother tongue digital marketing experts since opening in 2005 and have carried out campaigns in over 30 languages across the world. You can find out more about our international offering on our site.