The recent Back-To-Work Survey by Campaign is a pretty interesting read.
It shows that the overwhelming majority of the largest UK agencies do not intend to reduce their office space as a result of Covid-19 and a couple of the main reasons for this struck a chord with me.
One viewpoint from the survey was that moving to a shared work space would be a cause of concern with clients, particularly in regards to new business. Perhaps some of this can be attributed to a client’s perception of confidentiality issues around their account. This is understandable, as any client who has just appointed your agency to grow their company is going to need to build up a level of trust. Logically speaking, business relationships will ultimately be governed by a sustained return on investment. This may not happen overnight, so the client will need to have enough faith in its agency and their processes, whatever the marketing discipline, to deliver this over time.
Secondly, there was the belief that the office was perceived as critical to the identity of the agency for staff and clients alike. From my own experience, I can relate to this. Having been at Alchemis for 18 years and with the majority of the rest of the team having worked there from between 4 and 13 years, it does feel more like an extended family. Whilst Zoom calls are great as a means to an end in the current environment, it’s not quite the same as seeing your “family” in person.
There has been a fantastic camaraderie between the team since the initial lockdown in March and the way staff have pulled together and remained focused has exceeded anything I thought possible. The result of this has led to a continued pipeline of new business opportunities for our clients despite the challenging conditions of the economy.
However, being back in the office should push this productivity even further as the atmosphere, drive and friendly competition created by a team environment can often be greater than the sum of its parts.
And as we move forward, I suspect Adland in general will continue to enjoy the flexibility of home working at times, coupled with the social aspects of being in the office. After all, the best creative work is often born out of collaboration.