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Scheduling Best Practices for Remote Work Culture

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Scheduling Best Practices for Remote Work Culture


A study by Phorest in 2019 indicates that roughly 54% of bookings and appointments scheduled during work hours were made on the go. Ironically, scheduling and planning the day play vital roles in running a successful business, especially in remote or hybrid working cultures.

Remote/hybrid work demands more precise scheduling

Physical separation is not new in the business codex. Business transactions had happened online across the globe even before the pandemic hit. But what makes remote or hybrid work different today is the interaction between the players. This includes virtual communication between team members and between you and your customers/clients.

For example, when in-office work was still the norm, you could pop up at your colleague’s desk and have a short meeting or call your clients for impromptu discussions. In the remote, hybrid, and work-from-home business culture, everyone has more flexibility in deciding not only the ‘where’ to work but also the ‘when’ to work.

To avoid having unsuccessful meetings due to the absence of the other party, always schedule virtual meetings. Not only will you be sure that your partner has the time and capacity to talk, but will also get a few other benefits along the way.

Benefits of scheduling business meetings

Refining time and task management skills

Scheduling improves time and task management for individual employees and the company. For instance, you know when is the deadline to update your manager or clients about a particular task and can prioritize your work accordingly.

Blocking specific days and times for regular company meetings also helps manage your tasks. This is especially helpful for people who have a dynamic schedule such as inside sales reps, or workers who don’t spend most of their working time in front of a computer, for instance, the on-field workforce.

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Good for your well-being

Knowing how your day will go can give you a better understanding of your tasks at hand. As a result, you don’t wing your day but plan things appropriately. By having certainty about what is going to happen next, you can give yourself peace of mind and avoid being caught up in some unexpected events.

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Allocate time to tackle sudden tasks

That said, some urgent tasks or sudden meetings may still come up, but since you’ve scheduled all your appointments, you can ask for some meetings to be postponed or ask your colleagues to take over. This allows you to have some “crunch” time to work intensively to handle urgent cases on the go.

Scheduling Best Practices for Various Roles

Talent acquisition managers

Analyzing CVs and setting up interviews are parts of a talent acquisition manager’s day. Depending on the type of organization, some companies can recruit people who live in different time zones, which adds more difficulties to the meeting management process.

To stay on top of your recruitment efforts, use a booking management system in which the candidates can book a time slot individually. It can help talent acquisition leaders to manage all the appointments despite the time and geographical differences.

HR leaders

Organizing a ‘welcome’ meeting for new employees can be challenging, especially if you onboard several new talents in a short period. Not to mention the ‘end-of-the-first-day’ meetings, the ‘feedback’ meetings, and other ‘internal team’ meetings to help them up to speed with their new roles. Imagine setting up the event one by one.

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Consider getting an automated employee onboarding tool to ease your pain of manually setting up meetings and onboarding tasks for each new joiner. This auto-pilot feature takes away the repetitive and tedious jobs of organizing appointments and onboarding steps and lets HR managers allocate their time for other tasks.

Take the automated approach one step further for managing development courses for your team. Block the participants’ calendar for the duration of the training sessions to avoid absences from the employee development events.

Salespeople

A different day is a different story. Sales are perhaps the job that relies most heavily on a proper scheduling method. Without scheduled meetings, salespeople will have difficulty managing their productivity.

If your sales forces consist of several players, automatic scheduling ensures that your sales team is available at the booked time so that no one will miss out on prospects. In addition, this will prevent double bookings or leaving meeting requests unassigned.

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Freelance trainers or coaches

One of the factors for freelance trainers or coaches to maintain their stellar reputation is giving a top-notch booking experience. Ideally, clients can book, cancel, or re-schedule the meetings easily. This also reduces the chances of no-show meetings and saves your manual effort on managing individual appointments and communicating possible compensation.

Conclusion

Regardless of the job, scheduling boosts efficiency in the workplace by automating tasks such as booking and canceling appointments. It also enables you to prioritize or delegate specific tasks to your colleagues.

For recruiting managers, allowing candidates to book their interview time shows that your company has a flexible working culture. For HR managers who deal with organizing onboarding and training, automatic team scheduling grants more time to focus on more personal tasks. As for the sales teams and freelancers, letting customers pick the dates based on their preferences will positively impact your business.

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MARKETING

Closing your team’s technical gap without hiring

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Closing your team's technical gap without hiring

It’s no comfort knowing you’re not the only one having trouble finding tech talent. Demand is high, supply is low. And everyone has teams and projects stuck in limbo.

What would be comforting is a solution. Well, here you go.

I’ve helped many marketing teams close the gap in their technical capabilities without writing a single job description. The reality is you have many more options than you can envision right now. All you need to do is expand your frame.

Expand Your Frame

When making a decision, framing helps you focus on the proper outcomes. The hard part may be setting the frame to the right size. Make it too small and you miss big chunks of the panorama. Too large and you lose the details. 

It’s also a fantastic way to think more strategically. While others are getting up in tactics, e.g., hiring, you can think of the outcome you’re hoping to achieve and determine the fastest way to get there. 


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The frame here is not that you need to hire someone, it’s that you need a certain set of tasks completed. Instead of hiring you should consider two other options: automation, i.e. no-code, and adjusting your team’s priorities. Looked at that way, you may already have all the skills you need.

No-Code & the New Engineers

The rise of no-code software tools is one of the most significant developments in the marketing world. No-code tools are meant to be used by non-technical folks. They have drag-and-drop interfaces and tend to be highly user-friendly. Examples include Zapier, Tray.io, and countless others.

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A huge problem for marketing teams is their technology is too complex. Doing anything significant means getting an engineer. Even sending emails requires technical help. With multiple no-code options in every category, there’s no need for this.

Instead of hiring someone to support marketing automation, find a software solution anyone can use. In practical terms, it means avoiding options like Salesforce, which requires in-house expertise, hundreds of pages of documentation and the proper alignment of the moon to make it work. Other solutions are drastically easier to use, though they may have less functionality. 

I tell my clients to prioritize the ability to connect their tools rather than just their raw capabilities. You may have the best email marketing solution, but it’s not as valuable if you can’t easily export data to a CRM. Be biased towards no-code, and you can avoid hiring.

I recently helped clients connect their Hubspot, Google Sheets, and a website using only no-code tools like Zapier. We were able to get everything done in a matter of weeks with no involvement from their engineers. In addition, the marketing team could send better-targeted emails and measure their performance better. All they needed were the right tools.

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Adjust Your Priorities

Think over how your team spent their time over the past week. Were they working on the highest impact tasks? Unfortunately, there’s a good chance the answer is no. It’s easy to fall prey to “busy work” or get stuck doing jobs that should be automated.

Bill Gates once said there’s no point hiring someone to do an inefficient process. You’re just scaling bad habits. Instead, clean up your processes before adding more bodies. You may discover plenty of time to research software tools and tackle new tasks.

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Read next: Broaden your marketing ops talent perspective

The fastest way to adjust your priorities is to run a time audit of your team. Ask each member to record how they spent their time over an average week. You can then work with them to figure out how to remove tasks from their plates. Low-hanging fruit includes manual input, work that no one sees or failure work—where tasks are redone multiple times. 

After running an audit for one team we found they spent way more time cleaning up data rather than using it. We figured out what was causing the errors and duplication, solving them through formulas and other measures. They were able to shift around 20 hours to other tasks. Many teams have similar hidden opportunities.

Digital-First Means Being Lean

Being digitally savvy isn’t about hiring as many people as possible. Digital channels offer the ability to be lean as you scale. Think of influencers who run channels with millions of views out of their parent’s basement. They have a lean but effective production. Years ago, the Instagram team had less than 100 people before being acquired by Facebook.

As you shift into digital, you have the opportunity to restructure your marketing teams and take advantage of trends like no-code. The first step is to expand your frame. After that, you might see more opportunities.


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

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About The Author

Ruben Ugarte is the global expert in Decisions, Strategy, and Data and author of the Data Mirage and Bulletproof Decisions. He helps executives at the most innovative medium and large enterprises find their hidden treasures and use them to dramatically boost performance, increase profitability, and make their teams world-class. He has done this across five continents and in three languages. His ideas have helped hundreds of thousands of people make better decisions.

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