Agency Staff Overwhelmingly Want Permanent Remote Work Policies, Report Finds

Woman working on computer in her home office during pandemic quarantine.

A new report has revealed remote work doubles the time agency staff can spend in deep, uninterrupted work and leads to a healthier workforce—yet 15 per cent of agency leaders are resistant to offering a permanent remote work policy.

The 2021 Global Agency Productivity Report, from resourcing planning app Float, shows 98 per cent of agency employees want their workplace to adopt a permanent remote work policy.

Remote-first and partially remote are the preferred work policies for 81 per cent of agency teams (employees only), with 17 per cent wanting their agency to go fully remote.

The results of the report are based on a global survey of more than 200 respondents, 41 per cent of which were agencies with more than 50 employees; 43 per cent work in digital product design or web development; 35 per cent are in advertising, PR, media, or marketing agencies; and 22 per cent are classified as ‘other’, working in strategy consulting, or IT services.

Furthermore, 47 per cent of those surveyed have worked in the industry for more than 10 years, with 31 per cent having worked in the industry for between five to nine years, and 22 per cent for fewer than five years.

Despite agency teams feeling overwhelmingly positive about remote work, there is still some resistance from owners, partners, and principals, with 15 per cent preferring a limited or no remote work policy.

The report found 24 per cent are open to going fully remote, especially in agencies with less than 50 employees. Larger organisations, however, overwhelmingly prefer a remote-first or partially remote work policy.

This comes as respondents cited several benefits to working remotely, with half of agency teams surveyed saying they feel healthier working remotely, despite 66 per cent also admitting to working longer hours remote than they did in the office.

For those working longer hours, 66 per cent say they find it harder to switch off when working from home, and 40 per cent say it’s due to an increase in the number of meetings.

Postlight’s head of engineering and managing partner, Jeremy Mack, told a solution to this problem would be ensuring that: “If you can’t define an agenda beforehand, then the meeting shouldn’t happen.”

Emily Logan is a creative producer and content specialist with over 10 years of agency experience in New York and Sydney, who currently works at Bohemia Group. Routinely overbooked on projects throughout her career, Logan told she sees remote work as an antidote to agency culture.

“Remote work has been a game-changer for me,” she says. “With the nature of our agile campaigns, timelines often shift and I need to find flexible solutions with my time. Working remotely has enabled me to be more efficient.”

She adds: “Remote work is a great team benefit that more agencies could be offering to promote a healthier work culture than the ‘burn out’ that the industry is too often associated with.”

Agency staff also reported having much more time for ‘deep work’, which is defined as valuable work without interruption, per day than they do when working in the office.

Where the majority (55 per cent) of staff say they get through just two hours or less of deep work in the office, 69 per cent report achieving at least four hours of meaningful work a day while remote—with 37 per cent spending at least six hours in deep work.

In addition, 73 per cent of those surveyed rate their agency as above average when it comes to delivering projects on time, on budget, and to scope when working remotely.

Client relationships have also held steady, the report found, with 63 per cent believing they’re about the same, and 21 per cent saying that working remotely has actually improved their relationships with clients.

To read the 2021 Global Agency Productivity Report, in full, for yourself, click here.

Featured image source: iStock./borchee

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