For an agency there are some great benefits to having a remote workforce; the size of the talent pool grows exponentially, it’s arguably easier to take the business into new geographies, and of course, it can make the bottom line much healthier.
But there’s also a lot of limitations;
- We thrive off creative collaboration and finding inspiration in the unlikeliest of places; bouncing ideas off of each other becomes a lot harder - yes, we can meet up, but when did “organised creativity” ever work?
- Some staff don’t want to work from home. Period. They need the mental separation between studio and home (or they just need to get away from the kids!).
- It becomes very difficult to mentor staff and offer progression - I learnt the way I work from two individuals; I shadowed them, pitched with them, reflected with them, had the difficult client conversations with them - it’s going to be difficult to replicate "on-the-job learning" to help junior staff progress.
- Pitches aren’t the same - we did win business in lockdown, but without being in the room seeing the whites of people’s eyes (on both sides of the table), it’s extremely difficult.
- I think there’s also something to be said about agency life. It’s not like many other industries, and that’s what makes it attractive; it’s an environment where we can do our best work, with the best people and break the rules along the way (let’s be honest).
- A lot of this is focussed around people and the studio; this doesn’t translate in the two-dimensional world of Zoom.
We floated the idea of full remote working past our team and the answer was a resounding no.
Regardless of the limitations, remote working does seem to give people a better quality of life where they choose to adopt it; but that can’t be at the expense of the business, so there has to be a compromise and I think the compromise is flexible working.