The Freedom to be Productive.

Out the mouth of UK Regional Manager: Lloyd Etherington

The word ‘Productivity’ is being used more frequently nowadays as everyone continuously aspires to better ways of accomplishing tasks and conducting business. Everyone, from DIY-Dave to Tesla’s Elon Musk, wants to maximize productivity. Simply put, being productive means doing more with less.

What defines productivity for many agencies today is much more than that, it includes having a healthy work-life balance, less stress and higher job satisfaction. Without these key characteristics, output is low, staff morale suffers and the organisation’s bottom line takes strain.

A recent study by the Agency Management Institute revealed some interesting facts about agency productivity. Ineffective communication, both internally and with clients, was the largest barrier to productivity. More importantly, inaccurate briefs and change of scope were regular causes of project delays, which is probably unsurprising news if you’re familiar with the industry.

The most concerning statistic is that 67% of respondents believed they were over-servicing more than half of their clients and nearly 50% said there were no repercussions for over-servicing.

The final major productivity killer was a lack of sound planning. The study shows that employees struggle to stay afloat with a heavy, disorganised workload.

Having a plan in place can help ease the load. However, the problem is that planning is time-consuming, and that all-too-familiar curveball normally flies in to ruin even the best plan.

Considering the results of this study, it is clear that agencies are spending a huge amount of time and effort to keep clients happy and maintain above-average results, often at the loss of profitability.

This is the point at which many people stop reading into the facts and start thinking about which solution to implement. There are many systems aimed at solving these problems, they include features such as time management, resource allocation and profitability reporting.

But before looking at solutions, it’s important to understand the people who will need to drive the change forward. Forbes Agency Council recently shared a few invaluable insights on talent management within agencies, and the message was clear: if you love something, set it free.

Giving employees the freedom to plan, collaborate, execute and create in their own time and space has a positive impact on all aspects of productivity mentioned before. Most important is the impact on job satisfaction and the retention of skills and experience.

Combining these ideas leaves us with a seemingly difficult problem to solve: we need to know more about employee time and project involvement to keep a handle on profitability. But at the same time, we need to allow them the freedom to communicate and thrive in the workplace.

This demands an agile solution that provides employees with flexibility, ease of use and tools to improve on workplace efficiency.

Making the system work for the employees, and not the other way around, gives them the freedom to focus on what’s important: quality work, meeting deadlines and keeping clients happy.

This ensures employees are accurate data sources and improves profitability reporting, making the difficult business decisions a whole lot easier for those at the top. The result is a happier workplace, a highly productive agency, and most importantly, a profitable business.