Remote teams have improved productivity, efficiency, and focus
Throughout the past year, many living rooms, kitchen tables, and spare bedrooms have become home offices. A recent Finder survey showed that 60% of UK adults worked from home during lockdowns, and an astounding 92% of workers surveyed by RingCentral expect to keep working remotely for the foreseeable future. In short, remote work wasn’t a temporary fix to get through the pandemic – it’s now a way of life.
However, some industries have struggled to make the adjustment. Remote positions just aren’t a possibility for skilled labourers in sectors like construction and logistics. But for the creative industries, remote roles have been plentiful. For example, a November 2020 analysis of Indeed job postings by KIT Online found that 21% of copywriting and content marketing jobs and 15% of web development and journalism jobs were listed as fully remote. With so many remote opportunities available for creative workers, it begs the question – has working remotely helped or hurt the creative industries as a whole?
A lot of creative professionals enjoy working on projects at the office; they feed off the energy and enthusiasm of their colleagues, and many agencies have visually stimulating headquarters. But working remotely hasn’t stopped employees from producing great work. In fact, it may have made it easier.
Working from home has removed some of the office’s greatest distractions – frequent, unscheduled pop-ins from other members of the team, lengthy coffee chats in the break room, and loud phone calls in the office next door, among others. Without those disruptions, creatives can get down to business and reinvest that time into their assignments. This squares with feedback from the UK workforce in general. Roughly 50% of employees find it easier to think and plan at home.
Remote work has also helped improve team collaboration and project turnarounds. In an article for Creative Review, Five by Five Global Creative Directors Ravi Beeharry and Andy Mancuso shared that team members were likely seeing each other more often by using visual collaboration apps like Mural. And, because teams are spread apart, there’s more urgency around processing creative briefs and getting projects in motion as quickly as possible. Beeharry and Mancuso also shared that the shift to virtual meetings has led them to speak directly with clients more frequently. Where they would have simply emailed before, they can hop on a video call in less time.
Across all industries, remote work has presented an opportunity for everyone to get more creative. More people have felt comfortable sharing ideas, collaborative tools have provided workers with new forms of expression, and teams have been forced to reimagine processes and best practices.
Regarding creative work specifically, agency employees feel remote work is having a positive impact on their output. A recent survey from resource planning app Float found that 69% of workers could achieve at least four hours of meaningful or deep work while working from home. 55% said they’d only have two hours of deep work at the office. Deep work has been touted as a top strategy for achieving creative breakthroughs, and giving agency employees more of this time increases the possibility of more focused, innovative projects.
Though creative professionals had little say in the shift to working remotely, they’ve reaped its benefits, from more efficient collaboration to more focused workdays. As teams return to the office in some capacity, remote work could, and should, still play an important role.