The outbreak of COVID-19 sent employees home to work. Some find it easy to adapt, like myself. I've been working from home for about 18 years. Others find it a bit more challenging.
For agency reps, the most challenging aspect of remote work has been communication and collaboration with teams at 34.2%, followed by productivity at 33.8% and technical issues at 23.4% close behind. Some 8.7% said remote work poses no challenge.
Ad World Masters surveyed 250 agency reps worldwide -- predominantly boutique with less than 30 employees -- to determine their fears and expectations about the future of business and how they are managing clients.
The data collected for the COVID-19 and the Agency Industry: Survey Report between March 18 and March 24 found that nearly 95% of their support teams either are working remotely or plan to work remotely.
When asked to estimate the percentage of the work that is done remotely, those at larger agencies said they tend to keep more staff working in the office than at the smaller ones.
North American agencies are operating at 94.5% remote and Europe is at 92.4% remote. Agencies from other regions tend to go into the office more often, according to the report.
Some agencies like Cogniscient Media use a variety of live video chat tools like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Still, the most challenging aspects of remote work include communication and collaboration with teams, at 34.2%. Productivity at 33.8% followed, with technical issues close behind at 23.4%. Some 8.7% said remote work poses no challenge.
For some, team morale and motivation have begun to wane at 12.6%. Only 8.7% find it difficult to communicate with clients.
The second part of the survey focused on external business changes such as changes in projects and budgets for the current clients they serve. Agency leaders were asked to categorize the changes their projects or budget were subjected to in one of four categories: No changes, Minor changes with no impact, Minor changes with impact, and Cancellations.
Respondents said 45% of budgets and project changes are expected to have a negative impact on the agency business, with an average of 14% of project cancellation.
“When segmenting the answers between digital services and analog or traditional services, it is evident that the latter is far more affected by the budget cuts and cancellations collateral to the pandemic,” the survey states.
Agency reps have few positive expectations for new business. Inquiries are expected to drop by 30%. Some say that between 20% and 50% of agencies might go bankrupt, depending on the market segments they support.
Others foresee a bounce in the market as early as in the next quarter or up to 12 months from now. And then there’s an “opportunity for real digital transformation” and some believe the pandemic could “redefine reality or the business as we know it.”