Has hybrid working made marketing agencies more creative?

Has hybrid working made marketing agencies more creative?

Remote creative brainstorming seems to be working. But as one leading marketing agency CEO put it: “I never would have suspected that in a million years”.

Hybrid working appears to be here to stay. The good news is that many agencies are reporting a creative boon as a result. They are finding team members have a better flow of ideas, finding more time and space to ruminate on creative solutions and are generating greater breadth of creativity.

Inclusivity boon

One of the reasons is the greater inclusivity that hybrid working promotes. While extroverts work well in a febrile, social atmosphere surrounded by people, introverts prefer quieter, reflective spaces. Hybrid working appears to be more inclusive because it offers the perfect environment for both personality types wherever they are on the introvert/extrovert spectrum.

Kate Cox, CEO of Bray Leino, says her agency has returned to the office Mondays and Tuesdays and that everyone is expected to attend on those days.

“By coming in on those days, we kick off the week well,” says Kate.

“On the office days, we try to create a unifying cultural experience by making those days interesting, rewarding and inspiring with lots of things to learn. Some people thrive bouncing ideas off each other. Other times are more reflective, and others work better in a more reflective way. So it’s the best of both worlds,” she says.

This has had a powerful effect on the agency’s approach to creativity.

Kate says, “We’re slightly more playful now because every day you’re physically in a different place and that really helps the creative brain.”

Daniel Andrews, CEO, The Tree, agrees, and believes the diversity of personalities in the team has been better accommodated through hybrid working.

He says, “It’s added breadth to our creativity. Sometimes, in a boardroom, the most gregarious personalities come to the fore. Remotely, people are afforded more thinking time so we are finding there is greater breadth in our ideas.”

Welcome return to face-to-face

While brainstorming may have improved remotely, some aspects of frenetic agency life need face-to-face time. Although, as Kate says, “Nothing is impossible, it just takes more effort,” Daniel reports, “Collaboration is challenging and strained at distance.”

“We’ve definitely seen that when we get together things get smoother. And stressed people hiding behind Instant Messenger can build relationship issues that don’t build up in person,” says Daniel.

Training and learning on the job is clearly a face-to-face activity, however, says Olivia Blairman, Head of Activation, Coolr.

She says, “We do a lot of deck writing, campaign plans and content calendars, so switching off at home is great for that. In the office, we do a lot of shoots, getting content and reviews together and agency life is so fast-moving it changes every day. The collaborative environment – especially for a junior member of staff – is so important. A lot of junior staff also don’t even know how an agency works compared to in-house and they learn in the office by observing.”

Olivia currently spend three days a week in the office. At times, she would like to spend one more day a week there. “I am highly pro hybrid working but our job is so collaborative and about spending time with people, being social, that if I had a choice, I’d say more time in the office than at home.”

The benefit of hybrid working is, of course, that it delivers both environments.