Working in remote digital marketing agency is fun, creative and, at times, challenging. For every moment of silence and concentration we get from working away from a busy office, there's cats, children and parcel men to contend with.
So how does a digital marketing agency work when you're all across the UK?
Meet our team up close and personal, and find out just how we tick.
In a small company, you tend to wear a lot of hats.
It's my role to do all the 'on the business' stuff, but I also do regular SEO work for our client sites & keep them ship-shape. I look after company finances, spend a lot of time in calls and speaking to our clients, and keep up to date with the latest industry knowledge.
I am on the board of Manchester digital. I manage the team in terms of current projects and where we are up to.
I also regularly write content for us.
We have a bedroom set up as an office. It has a long bench and three stations.
Given that we have always been a close-knit business that started as a family, my eldest son works as our web person and is also a digital marketing apprentice. – my husband also works partly from home, so he has a third seat.
Quite often, though, I sit on a window seat with a laptop, it's comfier, and I can get tuned in.
The best things are not having to factor a commute into the day, traffic, and so on. I think the pandemic changed the way a lot of agencies do business and companies in general.
In the past, we would always get asked where our office was, did we have one, and so forth, as if it was a measure of success, ability or stability. Nowadays no one cares, we can work from anywhere with people from anywhere. And we do.
We work with clients from London, the USA, Europe and have pitched to companies in Africa. That's what I love about working from home.
Four wall syndrome. It's very easy to get stuck in a rut, and you have to look after your mental health.
It's a massive challenge when the children are home, as your home, which is your office, is first and foremost their home and place of relaxation, and so you have to be flexible and work around them. That's challenging because it can completely throw your routine.
Whilst I like quiet, I do miss people, and at least pre-pandemic, there were events you could go to, but all that stopped, and you eventually just don't see anyone. It stops feeling like a job, even though you are always working. It will be great to go to some events again. Brighton SEO is coming up in a couple of weeks, and that will be the first.
Who said I get out of them?
But truly, when the kids are back, I tend to get up and put gym wear on, so I am either motivated to go for a walk or go to the gym. We have a David Lloyd a mile up the road, and it has great member Wi-Fi, so in term time, I often go there for a couple of days a week and just sit in the member lounge with a coffee and work. The chit chat and noise in the background helps me focus.
Most days, I am looking after client's ad accounts. There is probably too much for me to list here. Still, in a nutshell, this generally means keeping on top of everything ads-wise such as analysing data, creating new strategies and campaigns, looking at our client's competition and working out ways to beat them and ALWAYS loads of audience and keyword research.
Alongside all that, I have regular catch-ups with our ad platform account managers to keep updated with any upcoming changes or features that will be of use.
Very basic at the moment due to an upcoming house move (fingers crossed). I have a small desk set up with a lamp, my phone, my MacBook Pro, my reMarkable tablet (and an old-school pen and notebook as a backup) and lots of charger cables.
I also must have my Gym Keg with me; otherwise, I just wouldn't drink all day because I rarely move from my chair.
Oh, and I can't forget my James Bond Movie Posters book!
The commute! I've had to do a lot of driving in my career (often 200+ miles in a day), so it is great to know I don't have a long commute at the start and end of each day. Also, with the tools we have available now, we can connect as a team and with clients so easily.
We work with clients worldwide, so it doesn't matter if we are in an office or working remotely; we still have the same means of communicating but with less wasted time each day.
I've always worked in big teams in big offices, so the main thing for me is the solitary feeling that can creep in at times.
Thankfully we have a fantastic team at Factory, and it's easy to just jump on Slack or Zoom and have a catch-up, and it does bring back that team feeling and mentality.
The lines can often be quite hazy between work and the relaxation of home when it's all done within the same building.
As an agency, we've been remote since before the pandemic, so thankfully, we have some fantastic tried and tested tools and ways of making it work already in place.
For me, there are too many to list but, some of the most useful are:
I also like the reMarkable phone app (I can update my day's notes or quickly catch up on them on my phone when I don't have the tablet with me).
It's not a motivation as such but more of a requirement - nobody would want to see what I sleep in, so getting ready on a morning is a must!
In all seriousness, though, my primary motivation is to keep improving. I usually start each week by looking through the past week's ad performance on each account, finding where we can add more value or spotting elements that may have run their course, and developing new strategies to evolve or replace them.
Managing ad accounts is a constant plate spinning task and looking for improvements motivates me every single day.
Having joined the team in a new role about six months ago, I'm still a newbie developing my place at Factory.
As a small hands-on agency, I came on board part-time to support all aspects of the work, including answering calls, writing blogs and helping Andi with SEO to managing social media accounts, creating content strategies and promoting our work far and wide.
I manage the social accounts of some amazing clients, working with them to develop ideas, create content and analyse how things are going.
Having come from a communications background and building my businesses with social media, I love innovating with content and keeping up to date with the latest platform or app.
Some days I will be working solely on social, others I will be knee-deep writing content for our blog, always with the mind of what engages our audience.
No one day is the same, and I love that the flexible nature of my work allows me to run my two businesses alongside my job.
My home office is a very multi-use space! I have a desk set up in my spare room, right now to glass doors opening onto my secluded garden. I live in a very sleepy village on the North Coast of Cornwall, minutes from the beach, and it's tranquil here most of the time. My biggest distraction will often be looking at the birds in my garden!
As 50% of the week, I also run a women's health holistic business; the room is also full of candles, crystals, a massage couch, and lots of plants! This makes for quite a tranquil office space, though, and I will often have a diffuser going with essential oils or a candle burning.
I often have a ginger furry animal – either my dog or cat – lying by my side for company.
The flexibility of walking the dog, taking parcels, and switching days to work around other commitments is fantastic. If it's a nice sunny day or I have an appointment, I can work later in the evening.
As a Gemini who loves freedom and flexibility, I love that I am not bound to be in the office.
I do miss working with a team face to face. Lots of ideas come from brainstorming together. Sometimes it can get lonely, and if it wasn't for the daily dog walk, I could quickly feel 'stuck' at home.
It can be hard to switch off, too – though I think we all find it hard to leave work at the door at the end of the day!
Ideally, I try to get at least one zoom in a week, so I have to get dressed!
But it's my big energetic lurcher dog, Bramble, who forces me to get dressed and out of the house every day. My partner is a gardener, so he is up early in the morning, which helps peel me up out of bed each day!
A strong coffee always helps too.
I mainly develop websites – working through all phases of planning through to launching and final tweaks. The most recent one I worked on was for Oxford Safety.
Day to day involves checking my emails and to-dos for anything that may need imminently doing, checking in with Andi for the same thing.
Then working my way through what I have to do, splitting my time between any projects I'm working on. And then making a brew for the boss when she tells me to...
I love my headphones, my Apple watch, being sat by a window for a nice breeze... and not being too far away from a kettle
Easy to communicate with the boss (aka mum), lots of brews and food in the fridge for lunch
Sometimes tricky to be in work mode all the time, but I'm working on it and have got better of late
Todoist has just saved my life. I have linked it up with my watch, so I check it every day, and I'm constantly reminding myself what to do with work and in my personal life!
Who says I do? One of the perks of working from home 😉
Now and then, it's nice to be able to work in your PJs, though I do have proper clothes on today! But I like what I do, so that's motivation enough to get out of bed and crack on!