“How did we manage to get through that?” Give it ten years, and when the fine detail of memory has blurred a little, we’ll remember the spirit of doing whatever was needed to get through the sudden switch in working patterns brought on by the pandemic. We’re the improv generation, the generation that got it done on the fly.
But right now, there’s no romanticizing the story. Our research has found that the quick solutions put in place to cope with remote and hybrid working have reduced efficiency and made things harder for many creative and marketing teams.
Almost 60% of the study’s participants reported that they are finding tasks such as having to duplicate or rework digital assets – such as videos, photos, audio files, and graphics – more challenging than 12 to 18 months ago. And half say it takes them longer to create new digital resources than before, with 53% finding it harder to find the right assets when they need them.
Interestingly, 59% of the organizations surveyed also said that their top priority this year is to improve the efficiency of their marketing and creative teams, with almost the same number saying they want to create and publish more digital content.
But it’s evident that the temporary fixes and cobbled-together systems put in place in response to the pandemic are not making this easy.
The problem with ‘quick-fix’ solutions
Many businesses responded to the sudden shift to home working in early 2020 by looking at Cloud systems and their existing technologies.
While Cloud systems enabled most organizations to work through the lockdown, limitations surfaced, particularly concerning managing and retrieving assets that needed to be worked on or shared by teams.
Version controls and rights management tools – as well as analytics – have often been lacking, as has the ability to easily index, find, and access the assets needed. Creating new content and digital resources at scale has also proved much more difficult. Very few of the temporary solutions put in place have connected to the other systems that companies use.
In fact, only 31% of the organizations surveyed stated they had ‘one source of truth’ that had the capabilities they needed and integrated with the other systems they rely on.
The consequences of this have been – and continue to be – serious for businesses of all sizes.
Research institute Civey found that marketing teams are spending three weeks a year just looking for files, whilst psychologist Gerald Weinberg discovered that switching between tasks (‘context switching’) can reduce productivity by up to 80%.
And as well as staff wasting valuable time trying to find and work collaboratively on digital assets, more and more of them are reporting frustration, burn-out, and dissatisfaction, leading to them heading for the door (the ‘Great Resignation’ saw more than 69 million people quit their job last year).
It’s become increasingly clear that there is no substitute for proper workflows and collaborative solutions that are designed to integrate with other systems and boost efficiency (as well as employee satisfaction).
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Remote working is here to stay
More than half of the managers and senior staff surveyed said they expected their teams to continue working remotely at least half the time, with only 22% expecting a full return to in-office work.
This supports ONS research that found that 85% of staff want a hybrid approach that blends working from home with time in the office.
And the latest analysis has revealed that currently, 15% of all U.S. full-time staff work fully remotely, and 30% have a hybrid arrangement.
This seismic shift in working patterns means, more than ever before, the ability to easily work together is key. Whether it’s managing product information, developing new marketing campaigns, or simply reducing the cost of content creation, none of this can be done in today’s digital economy without tools and systems designed for collaboration and remote team working.
The winners and losers
The research found that those organizations that are ‘digitally mature’, and have one single ‘source of truth’ with all the capabilities and integrations that creative and marketing teams need, are reaping the rewards.
They can collaborate remotely easily, create and rework digital assets faster, and deliver at scale much more efficiently.
This not only means they are able to meet current demands quickly but are also better prepared to deal with future business needs and respond to the rapidly changing world of work.
What’s more, because staff spends less time on unnecessary and frustrating manual tasks, they are focused on value-added activities that benefit the business and deliver greater job satisfaction.
On the flip side, those organizations still relying on the quick solutions put in place at the beginning of the pandemic are struggling to keep up.
Their speed and agility is severely compromised, and despite ambitions to make their creative and marketing teams more efficient, they are relying on solutions that make this harder.
The question is whether your organization is more or less efficient now because of the pandemic and the solutions you put in place?
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