Full Disclosure: I’m a Wordsmithie newbie. I’m not a writer by trade. I have never worked for a virtual agency. Somehow I got this gig anyway and am over the moon excited to join this team of writers and marketing professionals. This is an amazing bunch. Not only do members of the team have diverse backgrounds, they live all over the world and are actively engaged in all sorts of fascinating projects and activities outside of Wordsmithie. It is my job to manage these talented resources and the clients they serve from the comfort of my home office.
Working in technology marketing for the past 20 years on both the agency and client sides, I understand the value of communication and collaboration in the workplace. But given how far technology has advanced, a “workplace” doesn’t have to mean the same physical space anymore, and that changes everything. Less time spent commuting means more time for work, family and other endeavours. Flexible hours and the opportunity to work with other dedicated marketing professionals makes working at a virtual agency a perfect fit for this dad, and many of my other colleagues here who enjoy their work, but also appreciate other pursuits.
Working with a team that’s, well, all over the place
When you work with a distributed team of writers and have clients from all corners of the planet, your laptop and smartphone become your window to the world. Conferencing tools like Google Hangouts make the globe feel a lot smaller with features and tools that allow us to collaborate as if we were in the same room. Cloud-based writing, spreadsheet and presentation apps enable real-time commenting and editing within the team and with our clients. Harvest Project Tracker helps me keep tabs on timelines and budgets and lets everyone track their time easily for billing and payroll. It couldn’t be easier…especially with a team that is not centralized.
Being thrown into the momentum
Projects are in motion 24/7 as our global resources can make use of every waking hour in whatever timezone they are working from. An urgent late afternoon request can be quickly addressed by team members in other timezones to make tight deadlines. Quality and efficiency are the name of the game and this model delivers both.
The challenges and the cool parts
Of course, as with everything, there are challenges. Virtual agencies depend on resources being readily available all the time. While flexibility allows freedom, it can also mean it’s hard to escape. Because you can work from anywhere, you do work from anywhere. This is not just true with virtual agencies, either. It’s becoming more and more the way business gets done. The lines between work and life continue to blur.
As I continue to learn the virtual ropes of being a studio manager at Wordsmithie, there will undoubtedly be more benefits and challenges that I uncover. But for right now I’m awed by the work that is churned out by this talented group and how seamlessly we are able to work from our remote location. The commute to the home office isn’t bad, either!