I pictured my first day of my “big girl job,” as I like to call it, a lot of different ways throughout my years in college: picking out what to wear as I toured the office and met my new coworkers for the first time, decorating my desk space with my favorite pictures and potted plants, and taking my first (of many) trips to fill up my coffee mug in the breakroom.
The one way I did not expect my first week to go was via video calls and socially distanced lunches.
Over a year ago now in spring 2020, I graduated from college and entered the workforce in one of the scariest and most uncertain times in recent history. Besides a few half days here and there, I’ve worked completely remote — which I am very grateful for in order to stay safe and healthy — and there’ve been a lot of lessons learned from navigating the work-from-home world while also figuring out what it means to transition from a college student to a full-time employee.
Lesson 1: Pivot Messaging and Communication
I quickly learned that the way I communicate with my colleagues virtually is very different than any in-person work I had previously done. This one is pretty obvious, right? All of my communication turned to instant messages, emails, meetings, you know the gist. So the biggest lesson I learned here: tailor what I communicate and how I communicate to the recipient’s needs.
This lesson tied into my work in more ways than one. By forcing me out of my comfort zone, I had to be more creative in how I approached everyday tasks and how I spoke to an audience in a way that is both honest and empathetic.
Marketers must be nimble and ready to change in a second; and if anything, I’ve learned that this lesson is only becoming more important and ingrained in marketers’ instincts as time goes on.
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Lesson 2: Create a Line of Sight for Your Team
As the new person on the team, something that really helped me understand everyone’s role and where my role fit in was through getting a clear line of sight into other coworkers’ projects and giving them a line of sight into mine as well. I feel like this historically hasn’t been focused on as much when teams have been in the office just because of the nature of being able to quickly ask questions and, oftentimes, physically see what teammates are working on around you.
Brandpoint follows the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), which originally wasn’t created for a virtual work environment, but has helped me most in providing that line of sight and staying on the same page as my team. In our weekly team meetings, called a Level 10 meeting, we give updates on our own projects, discuss any extra help we need, and determine next steps to reach our goals. Providing a space to hear each other’s progress on our top priorities as a team opens up space for more honest conversation and dialogue.
It almost feels like the EOS format was made to fit remote work like a glove, giving the team a structured way to discuss the most important parts of our week, while also creating personal connections with each other that we’ve been missing out on for so long.
Lesson 3: The Internet is Your #1 Tool
Working remotely without the opportunity to do in-person training meant I had to be more independent and proactive than I’ve ever been. The internet is your #1 tool for pretty much anything you’re trying to teach yourself — but this isn’t new information. The real trick is to know yourself and how you learn best: Is that through videos? Diagrams? Articles? Blog-style posts? That’s up to you to decide.
Just a quick Google search uncovered so many blogs and forums from some of the leading marketing software companies — even some I was already using. The more time I took to find these blogs and dig into the problems I needed to resolve, the more I understood the problems marketers face in all sorts of industries.
Long story short, finding blogs and website content that I trusted and found relevant to my role helped my initial training, and I continue to learn as a marketer long after I gave up my “new girl” status.
[Read More: Digital Transformation for Marketing & Sales]
Lesson 4: Learn All Sides of the Business
The best way to be a great marketer is to understand your audience from the inside out. When I started at Brandpoint, it took awhile to really understand the difference between all the services we provide and how they connect to the big-picture marketing I had learned in school. Through interviews with other employees in different departments and getting insight into what my own team was working on from the very beginning, I began to understand where the value of Brandpoint lies.
This is a lot easier said than done. Early on I was told to always start by asking why, or if, for that matter, your audience cares about the things you’re communicating to them. It’s easy to talk about products and results, but the real value comes from understanding the pain points my audience is experiencing and relating it back to my own marketing as well.
Lesson 5: Be a Human
No matter what industry we work in or where we’re at in our careers, this is something I think we’ve all been learning: how important it is to be human. No matter who or what you’re marketing, we have been through unimaginable circumstances. I’ve learned that as marketers we must treat our prospects, clients and partners with the same level of empathy and humility as our closest friends.
Being a part of a company that has made active changes to create a Diversity and Inclusion Committee and take steps to reflect our outside world in our work environment has shown me that it is possible for work and social life to live in harmony with each other instead of having to treat the two separately.
Possibly the biggest lesson I’ve learned from working at Brandpoint is that we all play a role in working to create a space that welcomes honest conversation about the issues in our lives outside of work that are holding us back from being our best selves, and accepting that it’s ok if not every day is the gold standard — because again, we’re human.
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Lesson 6: Smell the Roses
Something I forgot about more than I wish to admit is to stop and smell the roses. Working remotely is hard — especially when you’re brand new to the workforce like I was. I’ve been learning just how important it is to reflect on the work I’ve completed thus far and how much I’ve accomplished on my own (with help from my amazing team, of course).
Here we are grabbing lunch in 2021! That’s me on the far right.
As another part of the EOS process, every quarter my team has the opportunity to reflect on our greatest accomplishments from the previous quarter and all the goals we completed. Something as small as this has helped me realize I’m actually contributing to this team and company, even if I haven’t worked a full day in the office — yet!