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Embracing remote working — A perspective from marketing agencies
05 March 2020 René

We’ve been interviewing marketing agencies that have embrace remote working. The goal was to understand the reasons as to why they have chosen this path and the challenges that they have faced.

Why choose to hire remote?

Going remote provides a lot of benefits to marketing agencies including access to the world top talent. Most of the agencies we spoke to all agree that remote working is the future. Gaining access to the top talent was one of the top reasons for many agencies hiring remotely. Take clevertouchmarketing, a content marketing agency. They’ve build a distributed team comprising of native English speaker from around the world.

The flexibility of building a distributed team was another key reason as to why marketing agencies embraced remote working. Take Animalz, a content marketing company. Although they were founded in New York, remote working has given them the flexibility to hire content writers from various backgrounds.

The challenges of hiring remote workforce

Remote hiring has provided marketing agencies with many benefits. However, they still face challenges that come with the nature of working remotely. Many agencies still face the challenge of people misrepresenting themselves online. This includes stretching the truth when it comes to credentials and work history. Many agencies has started to develop a robust interview process to filter out this issue.

The benefits of face to face meetings and bonding with the team on a daily basis has also proven to be a challenge for agencies. Although daily check-ins and video conference calls have helped to mitigate this, the human connection is still lost. To avoid this some marketing agencies organise yearly company retreats. This is where a company get all its remote workers in one place, ideally in a new city for two weeks or more. Buffer is know in the tech space for organising yearly retreats for all its remote workers. This enables employees to build bonds by getting to know each other on a human level.

Onboarding new employees was also a key challenge that marketing agencies face. Getting a new starter up to speed with how a company works, the software they use is no easy task. Many marketing agencies have started to compile content to give new starters to get them up to speed and make them feel welcomed.

We at Zimo.io are addressing this challenge by making it easier for remote hiring companies to create onboarding video tutorials ranging from softwares/apps a given company uses, how to guides, cyber awareness, team introduction and many more video content. The added benefit is that each video is accompanied by a quiz to ensure that the new starter truly understands the content. Hiring companies can view onboarding stats of new remote starters.

Zimo.io aims to make the new remote worker get up to speed with the new company’s ways of working. We also enable this in a convenient and easy to use platform.

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Why I started Zimo.io
02 March 2020 René

The idea for Zimo.io derives from my own personal experience and from talking to friends who work remotely.

The first time I came had the idea for Zimo.io was when I had found myself having to hire and train new staff after a merger. I have omitted the names of the companies, as I have colleagues who are still working there today. I flew to German to learn how to use a new system. A week later I was back in London to impart that knowledge to my new team.

I did my at most to impart as much as I could in a class room setting. However often I would get the same questions about functionality so many times I started to document it. However I realised that even with screenshots, this type of onboarding was not robust nor scalable. I began thinking about creating screencast videos but was overwhelmed with running the team that idea was shelved.

The second time that the idea of what became Zimo.io resurfaced was I talked to a friends who worked remotely. Onboarding was always a topic that came up constantly. They would compare an office onboarding to a remote onboarding. The major criticism from a remote onboarding included:

  1. Lack of access to the tool/systems need to start working
  2. Lack of onboarding to learn about how the company uses the tool/systems
  3. Lack of documentation to get up to speed on how the company and team operates
  4. And lack of communication

I started to reach out to owners that operated a remote companies to gain their perspective. A key takeaway was that onboarding remote employees was challenging. I continued to dig deeper to truly understand the problem. A few challenges emerged including:

  1. Onboarding new employees at scale
  2. Tracking the onboarding progress new employee
  3. Understanding the new employees areas of strength and weakness in the onboarding process

I did more research on the growth of remote working and saw a gap in the market to address. I began working and testing the assumption of video onboarding to see this was an issue that remote companies truly faced. Upon a few interested parties I decided to pursue the ideal fully with the end customer in mind.

The goal behind Zimo.io is to make it easier for remote companies to onboard new employees quickly and effectively using our video onboarding platform. Zimo.io is a remote company by default so we use our own product. Remote working has come a long way and we want to play a part in its continuous journey.

Regards, René.