April 18, 2023 • 4 min read • By Julia Tabisz
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Last summer, nearly half of agency professionals told Digiday+ Research that they had gone back into the office full time. But in reality, agencies, like their publisher counterparts, have settled into a decidedly hybrid way of work.
That’s according to a first-quarter survey of just shy of 100 agency pros.
Digiday’s most recent survey found that the majority of agency pros are hybrid workers. To be exact, 59% said they work in their companies’ offices between one and four days in an average week. And among those hybrid workers, the highest percentage work in their companies’ offices an average of two days per week (24% said this).
And it turns out that, overall, agency pros who work a hybrid schedule do so by choice. Forty four percent of agency pros said their companies don’t require employees to work in the office at all. This category by far accounted for the largest percentage of respondents to Digiday’s survey. It is also worth noting that the next largest percentage of respondents were the 24% who said that their companies require employees to work in the office two days per week — which matches up with the 24% who said they work in their companies’ offices two days per week on average.
Interestingly, a significant percentage of agency pros are fully remote workers. Thirty percent of respondents to Digiday’s survey said that, in an average week, they don’t work any days in their companies’ offices. Meanwhile, only 10% of respondents said they work in an office full time, and an even smaller 8% said their companies require that employees work in the office full time.
Further supporting agency pros’ preference for a hybrid work culture, Digiday’s survey found that 80% said that, given the choice, they would prefer to work a hybrid schedule. Meanwhile, only 17% said they prefer to work remotely full time and a very small 3% said they prefer to work from an office full time.
More specifically, most agency pros said they prefer a hybrid work schedule in which they work remotely most days and spend some days in the office. Fifty-three percent of respondents to Digiday’s survey said this. And 27% said they prefer a hybrid schedule in which they work in an office most days and work remotely some days.
Digiday’s survey found that agency pros’ desire to see coworkers in person is a big driver of the hybrid culture agencies seem to have settled into. A whopping 93% of agency pros told Digiday that they agree somewhat or strongly that they enjoy seeing their coworkers in person. Looking a bit more closely at the data, nearly two-thirds (62%) said they strongly agree with this, and nearly a third (31%) said they somewhat agree. Only 1% of respondents to Digiday’s survey said they somewhat disagree that they enjoy seeing coworkers in person, and not one respondent said they strongly disagree with this.
It is also notable that 86% of agency pros told Digiday that they agree somewhat or strongly that they enjoy the change of scenery of heading into an office, with 44% saying they agree strongly and 42% saying they agree somewhat.
At this point, very few agency pros worry about the health risks associated with working in an office. Nearly three-quarters of respondents to Digiday’s survey (73%) said they disagree strongly or somewhat that they worry that going to the office presents risks to their health.
But agency pros are somewhat split on whether working in an office upsets the work-life balance many employees achieved during the pandemic. Forty-three percent of agency pros said they disagree strongly or somewhat that going to the office upsets their work-life balance. But a slightly less but still significant 34% said that they agree strongly or somewhat.
In this particular category, most agency pros seem to fall somewhere in the middle. One-quarter of respondents to Digiday’s survey said they somewhat disagree that going to the office is bad for their work-life balance, 22% said they neither agree nor disagree with this, and 21% said they somewhat agree.
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