The Battle of Remote Work vs. The Office: Agency Edition

Jul 28, 2021News & Whatnot, SEO

There has been a lot of chatter about work from home policies for businesses big and small. A large percent of the population were forced to work from home during the height of the pandemic and now there is a push to return to physical offices – but not everyone is happy with that. We are seeing news sources and HR resources alike sharing stories of employees choosing to quit their jobs rather than return to the office.

This sparked an internal conversation here at Transistor, how do our team members work best? We have always operated in a hybrid environment (even pre-pandemic) but we wanted to take a survey of what works for us and how that likely corresponds to work-from-home policies for marketing and search agencies.

Where Do You Work Best?

Results of our “Where Do You Work Best” survey were very insightful and indicated that we are on the right track with our current hybrid model. When we asked about our team’s ideal environment structure, everyone agreed that they didn’t want to exclusively work from home or the office. We found that most teammates like the flexibility of choosing where and when to work each day. 

One note that came up that was crucial to most of our team members, was the need for communication. Yes, they want flexibility but they don’t want to give up team interaction or managerial communication.

“My ideal work environment is one that is flexible. I really enjoy having an office where I can come and have my own space to work, and also have an open environment to collaborate with team members. I also think it’s equally important for a company to have the flexibility for employees to work remote with the same availability to get support regardless of location.”

“I think communication is key with this. Making sure that we all stay connected while also communicating our schedule. I can see how a hybrid environment could turn bad real quick without good communication.”

We lean heavily on two major forms of communication when people are working from home, Slack and Google Meet. If you’re working from home, send out a Slack message letting everyone know. If you need help on a task, send a meeting request via Google Meet or ask the client lead on Slack. We try to have an open flow of communication no matter where you sit or where you’re working that day. 

Productivity At Home and In The Office

A lot of businesses are requiring a move back to the office because of productivity. The thought is that we – as employees – are more productive at work vs at home. Our team disagrees with that sentiment. More than 80% of our staff stated at they are productive at home and at the office.

We found that productivity and location was dependent on the tasks for the day. If you’re working on keyword research or a detailed technical audit, home might be best because there are less distractions. However, if you’re trying to solve a complex problem, it’s nice to have people around to discuss.

“Different types of tasks seem to be better done in different environments. I love the ability to change up my work location to fit what feels right for different types of work. Also, some days I might feel like I don’t have the energy to be around people or I really need to keep an eye out for a delivery, and being able to stay home on a whim is great when that happens. The flexibility is what matters most to me. But I definitely go crazy if I don’t get out of the house regularly and can interact with people.”

Connect With Teammates

In our survey, we found that our team connects best with each other when in person. It’s easier to have free flowing conversations when in person rather than virtual.

Where do employees connect best with teammates? [Survey Results]

Our jobs are all about teamwork – we have overlapping clients, projects and meetings, which leads us to value time in person with each other. This may be different than an agency or business where each person is more siloed or has more individual tasks rather than group work. 

“I love that we work so much as a team. I think it’s something that makes Transistor a great place to work and allows us to provide better products to our clients.”

Would You Quit If You Were Required to Be In Person?

The next two questions we asked were really interesting. The first was if you would choose one job opportunity over another based on a flexible work schedule. The response was 100% yes. Everyone takes job flexibility into account when choosing the right position and opportunity. Not super surprising. What was surprising was that more than 30% of our team members said that they WOULD consider quitting a job if they were required to be in person all the time.

Would you quit if required to work in an office all the time? [Survey Results]

This really surprised me and shows a true fundamental shift is how people want and need to work. 

How Should Agencies Handle Work From Home? 

I’m no Human Resource expert, but based on this survey and personal experience, I can confidently say that a hybrid work schedule is essential. If an agency wants to retain talent and provide them with the ability to be as successful as possible, there has to be room for a flexible work schedule. 

No one wants to be forced into an exclusive work from home or in person work schedule, and why would we? We have the technology and ability to fit the needs of our team. 

What Do You Think?

I’d be interested to hear what your team surveys have indicated. Are we unique or are most agencies finding similar desires from their teams? 

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