Staff Reporters
Feb 18, 2020

Agency staff get 2 hours max for uninterrupted work

Interruptions and overbooking are rife in the agency world, but remote working is shown to improve productivity.

Agency staff get 2 hours max for uninterrupted work

Agency staff are struggling to schedule their time and manage their workloads. In fact, a global survey from resource planning app Float has found that the majority of agency staff struggle to get through two hours of 'deep work' each day, a problem that is perpetuated in big agencies and those that don't offer flexible working.

The results are based on responses from 102 agencies globally, of which 44% were brand, advertising or marketing agencies; 31% digital product design or web development; and 25% 'other', such as strategy consulting or IT services.

Overall, the survey found that nearly two-thirds (59%) of respondents only spend a quarter of their work day (two hours or fewer) in 'deep work'—that is, valuable work without interruption. This problem is perpetuated in larger agencies (50-plus employees) where over 60% of staff get through two hours or fewer of meaningful work, versus smaller agencies (30 or fewer employees) where the same proportion report getting through at least four hours of deep work each day.

The vast majority (84%) of agency workers who achieve more than four hours of deep work daily indicate that their company provides the option to work at least some days remotely. Eight in 10 agencies (82%) offer remote work at least some of the time, the survey found.

This means that despite nearly one in five team members feeling that their workload is not reasonable or achievable, the majority of people surveyed say that they can balance their personal, social and family life with work. The overwhelming majority of team members surveyed (82%) said that they are happy in their roles and workplace, regardless of work challenges.

Scheduling workload and time was identified as the biggest challenge, with three quarters (74%) of respondents claiming they are overbooked on projects at least once a month. A majority (62%) of agency principals named resource scheduling as their biggest project-management challenge.

Modern communication tools that support remote work collaboration are being more readily adopted by agencies, with more than half (51%) of teams choosing Slack as the tool they use the most for their daily communication. Of the 31% who primarily communicate via email, most are large agencies or much smaller teams with fewer than 10 people.

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