Every cloud has a silver lining. No, we are not trying to sound hopelessly hopeful amidst the health crisis. But, it is a fact that a lot of marketing agencies, across the globe, have realized the true potential of their teams in these times of remote work that calls for results sans supervision.
While agencies are now more confident than ever about the skills of their teams, it is also a fact that they are skeptical about what the future holds in a world after the COVID-19 outbreak.
COVID-19 and the Agency Industry: Survey Report
Some interesting findings about their fears and expectations from the near term were revealed in a survey of 250 boutique agencies (less than 30 employees) from across the world between Wednesday, Mar. 18 and Tuesday, Mar. 24. Take a look.
1. Remote Work Vs. Office Presence
Between smaller and larger agencies the former seems to have a greater inclination for remote work. The larger agencies seem to tend to prefer more staff in the office.
Further, the extent of remote work also varied across different geographies. Agencies in North America and Europe were keen on allowing a greater percentage of staff to operate remotely than those in the other parts of the world.
2. Preparedness to Work from Home
From the survey responses, it was clear that the preparedness to allow remote work was high in the sector.
On a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being the least prepared and 10 being the most, the average response was 8.5. 40% of the agencies claimed that remote work posed no hassles or, challenges for them.
On the other hand, some agencies cited operational issues they faced during remote work. Internal communication and productivity topped the list of challenges at 34.2% and 33.8% respectively. Technical issues bother 23.4% of the respondents. Only a small percentage (8.7%) seems to be bothered about the inability to, or gaps in communication with clients.
3. Categorization of Business Changes
Most of us would imagine huge changes in the way businesses operate in the near future. However, when the agency leaders were asked the same, the following responses were received.
The most affected segment of businesses, of course, will be the traditional business format.
Also, some leaders predicted a grim future where 20-50% of agencies, in certain geographies, may go bankrupt. Yet others felt that businesses will rebound in the next 12-months while others felt that this upheaval could lead to a brighter future for digital formats.
What We Feel
The tiny virus has undoubtedly taken the mighty world by a storm disrupting economies, displacing and confining people, and has left us looking into an uncertain future. The uncertainties make us wonder what lies ahead and which path would mitigate the challenges.
In these humbling times when fear and despair ride high, it is quite a possibility that buying sentiment offline remains low for a long time to come pushing a greater number of consumers to look at online alternatives. This might drive businesses to invest in online platforms to revive themselves. However, what remains to be seen is the magnitude of this investment and how soon can humankind get used to the new normal.