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Remote work strategies with staying power

Strategies to enhance workflows for remote teams.

Profile picture of Jacqueline Dooley


4 min read

Remote work isn’t new—but it’s common, especially in pandemic times. The number of remote workers in the U.S. is projected to rise as high as 25% by the end of 2022, per research from Ladders, and one in five agencies say they’ve gone completely virtual, according to HiveDesk. This includes many Wix Partners, who build websites for clients around the world.

But while remote work was necessary and undebatable in the early days of the pandemic, it’s now become a serious source of tension. The million dollar question (literally) is whether we should continue to work remotely in a world of vaccines and COVID treatments.

While many employees are largely happy to reclaim their time spent commuting, not all corporate leaders mirror their excitement. This June, Elon Musk ordered his Tesla employees to return to the office, and it largely backfired when, upon returning, they weren’t greeted with enough workstations and parking spots. And author Malcom Gladwell has been trending on Linkedin for his stance that “WFH is not in your best interest.” In Steven Bartlett’s ‘Diary of a CEO’ podcast, he argued that “it’s very hard to feel necessary when you’re physically disconnected,” and the backlash was fierce. People called his take “lazy” and “disappointing,” and since social media feuds tend to turn personal, accused Gladwell of being a hypocrite.

As an agency, you might feel this tension too, even if you continue to embrace remote work. On one hand, you can hire creatives from around the globe. But on the other, you need to manage deadlines in different time zones, build relationships with clients you may never meet in person and encourage creativity from afar. Ahead, some tips that help you and your agency make the most of this new and evolving world.

Standardize your agency’s workflow

One of the most pervasive challenges for agencies is managing creative teams across different locations, departments and timezones. Add to that a mixed bag of freelancers, part-time and full-time employees, partners, and so forth, and project management proves even more difficult. So, how can agencies ensure smooth workflows without micromanaging from a distance?

Make sure everyone is using the same platforms and show new hires the ropes on every tool your company uses. You likely already know of popular project management platforms like Monday, Asana and Trello, as well as collaborative strategic design workspace tools such as Miro, Mural and InVision, but Wix can further elevate your agency’s collaborative efforts if you become a Wix Partner. The Partner Dashboard is your go-to place for Wix resources, featuring team management tools, client billing, contacts lists, CRM and project management tools. The Wix Editor also features app integrations for Asana, Zapier, Google, Drive and Slack, keeping your team informed of any changes you make and connecting you to thousands of automations. Be sure to host recorded training sessions that help your workforce get acclimated to these platforms.

Deepen the relationship with your clients

Gaining your client’s trust can prove more difficult online than in-person. How can you enrich the agency-client relationship? To start, agree to a communication plan that details when you’ll speak every week and what channels you’ll use. Clarity is key. Then, appoint a primary point of contact for each client. These individuals can vary between clients, but it's important each one understands their role as the relayer of information and the client’s strongest advocate internally. This will help them build a strong relationship over time and put a consistent face to your agency. (Related: How to make virtual events work for your clients)

Strengthen the culture at your agency

For starters, make your values clear as an agency—people like being part of something with a mission. You identify your clients’ core values all of the time, but many agency owners forget to do the same thing for their own businesses. Then, you can build your agency culture around these values. For example, if you value transparency, make sure to have regular Q&As with your staff about your leadership decisions. If you value fun, make sure to plan team events, either in-person or virtually.

These one-off events don’t need to be too extravagant (a dinner suffices), but they can offer opportunities for employees in the same area to meet (many for the first time). You can do the same online, but take advantage of the tools you have at your disposal to do something work-related like hosting a hackathon, doing show-and-learn lessons or host workshops and classes. Establishing weekly rituals such as virtual coffee breaks, workout sessions or live remote coworking can help workers feel more connected with their peers.

Increase productivity and creative motivation

In April of 2021, psychologist Adam Grant called out the widespread sense of aimlessness many felt during the pandemic in his piece on languishing in the New York Times. Defined as a feeling of emptiness and stagnation, languishing proved a dominant emotion that year for many workers, with some residual spillover into 2022. How can you keep your workforce happy and productive?

Almost one year following Grant’s New York Times piece, Brad Stulberg follows it up with a NYT piece of his own declaring the best way to get unstuck is through behavioral activation. That is, Stulberg points to this idea that you can “create motivation” by habitually mustering up enough courage to take those initial first steps towards realizing your beliefs, one day after the next.

Inspire the same in others by conducting either daily or weekly check-ins with your team to see what they’re working on and/or struggling with. Establish work rituals with your staff, be it a weekly virtual coffee break or an offline dinner, to build that sense of camaraderie necessary for teams to mesh well. Bonus points for walking meetings (remember the phone?), especially brainstorms: Walking has been consistently associated with more creative ideas and better performance, per a 2022 paper in Psychological Research.

From a task perspective, you can use Toggl or RescueTime to track how long a task takes. Once you have a benchmark for turnaround times, you can offer more informed pricing for your clients.

No tele-distance is too far

Though the ‘new normal’ appears to be a moving target over the last few years, it's clear that WFH is here to stay. For web design agencies, the work-from-home economy promises an endless pool of talent, which includes skilled freelancers and newly minted remote workers. It also means more prospective clients for your agency should you champion a remote-first mentality.


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