Back in February, a story surfaced of a Philippines Ogilvy & Mather employee passing away after reportedly working overtime while suffering from pneumonia. The story was heartbreaking, but sadly, the reality of overworked employees in the ad world is nothing new. In an agency environment, the standard is that the client comes first; but at what cost to employees? When work weeks start to creep beyond 40 to 50 hours, productivity actually decreases, on top of employee dissatisfaction and additional effects on mental and social well-being. Yikes.
How can we combat this stigma in our industry? At Rasor, we are dedicated to our clients and push ourselves to go the extra mile to make sure deadlines are met and projects are perfected. We also believe in curating a positive and well-rounded work environment where employees look forward to working. Here are ways we make our workspace happy, healthy and productive.
No man (or woman) left behind
When projects get chaotic and deadlines are looming, we band together. We depend on and support each other and make sure no one feels isolated, alone or overburdened. Isolating your employees and making them feel alone in their work is taxing on morale and decreases loyalty to your company and your clients. Teamwork really does make the dream work (and I’m sorry for that terrible rhyme).
Set realistic expectations for clients
I think oftentimes agencies lead clients to believe that they’re Superman. If a client needs something at 3am or a project that requires 30 hours of straight work, the agency absorbs those expectations without batting an eye. Behemoth projects can happen occasionally, but overworking and burning out your employees can’t be the everyday standard. Guess what: clients are people too. They have families and goals outside of work, and if boundaries are set as soon as a project begins, they can adjust.
While tightening the reigns on vacation days and work-from-home policies might seem like a good method to increase productivity, studies actually show it does the opposite. There’s also often expectation to put work above your personal life (which isn’t just exclusive to the ad industry). Mix all those factors together and you’re on your way to having some very burnt out, unhappy employees. At Rasor, we understand everyone has hectic schedules outside of work. No one is ever ostracized for going home sick or picking their kid up unexpectedly from football practice. We’re fortunate enough that our work can be done from home, so if the occasion calls for it, that’s what we do. Some other countries are taking employee freedom seriously, and in turn are getting some serious results. Placing trust in your employees is going to reap better results than chaining them to their desks.
Creating a healthy and balanced work culture is an important value at Rasor, whether it’s monthly potlucks, spending quality time with each other, or bringing in the occasional office dog. Any tips to cultivating a productive and positive office environment? Let us know in the comments below!