Amid the continuing Covid-19 lockdown and mounting pressures of remote working, marketers are developing more empathy for their colleagues.

Some 84% of UK marketers say they feel more empathy for their colleagues, while 64% report feeling more empathy from their co-workers, as personal and working lives blur amid the crisis.

According to an exclusive survey of 849 UK brand marketers conducted by Marketing Week and its sister title Econsultancy, 45% of marketers say they have got to know their colleagues better during the pandemic, while 45% say they now feel closer to their co-workers than before the coronavirus outbreak.

Part of this feeling of closeness could be down to the fact 80% of marketers have had a glimpse into their colleagues’ homes thanks to video calling.

A further 36% of marketers say team cohesion is better than normal since the pandemic began, while 44% report an improvement to team communications.

However, 31% of marketers say team efficiency is worse than normal amid the challenges of remote working and 42% report a decline in team morale.

Marketers working in larger organisations (revenues of more than £50m) report stronger team cohesion (41%), compared to their counterparts in smaller companies (33%). They are also more likely to say team communications have improved during the crisis (51%), compared to marketers in smaller businesses with revenue under £50m (42%).

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Marketers in smaller organisations are more likely to say team efficiency (34%) and team morale (49%) have worsened due to the coronavirus outbreak. By comparison, 24% of marketers in larger organisations have seen efficiency suffer and 33% say morale has dipped.

As uncertainty worsens and businesses in all sectors consider furloughing employees, more than half (56%) of marketers are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned for the job security of a member of their team.

Worries for the security of their teams become more pressing for marketers the smaller their organisation. Whereas 46% of marketers in large businesses are ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ concerned for the job security of a member of their team, this rises to 62% for marketers working in smaller companies.

Teams evolve

Marketers are, however, making changes to their team structures in order to cope with the new working reality.

Some 41% have taken action to create teams more rapidly, while 45% are creating cross-functional teams and 40% have been working on identifying the right people for the new teams. A further 57% of marketers are now working cross-functionally while working remotely.

More than half of marketers (51%) in larger organisations have taken action to create teams more rapidly, compared to 35% of those working in smaller businesses. Likewise, 55% of marketers in bigger businesses are creating cross-functional teams, whereas just 37% in smaller companies can say the same.

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When it comes to identifying the right people for new teams, 45% of marketers in large organisations have taken such action, compared to 34% in smaller companies.

In general, communication channels are also evolving. More than half (58%) of marketing teams have moved from telephone and email communications to video conferencing since the onset of Covid-19.

Overall, 64% are now using video check-ins, 78% are catching up on email and 66% are communicating via chat channels such as Microsoft Teams and Slack. Some 40% are even hosting virtual social events.

Crucially, 51% of marketers say they are checking in individually more often to ensure the members of their team are working efficiently.

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