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State of the Workplace: Advertising Agencies

employees in ad agency offices, meeting in office
Eric Lani
Published on

As the summer winds down, companies of all sizes are calling teams back to the office on a more structured hybrid schedule. From Zoom to Meta, it’s clear that leaders value time spent in-person and are making a more concerted effort to make it happen.

A few weeks ago, Publicis Groupe - one of the oldest and largest marketing and communications companies in the world- announced they would be mandating teams to come into the office 3 times a week. 

The office is a place for connection and collaboration, so it's no surprise that an industry focused on creativity, innovation, and client connection is making its way back to the office.

As agencies call people back into the offices, it's important to understand how other advertising workplaces are being used, so you can plan for more effective management of resources and more productive client visits.

We analyzed data from hundreds of our advertising agency customers to paint a better picture of how similar offices are being used. Here’s what we found. 

What work model is most popular in advertising?

As of July 2023, employees at advertising firms are approximately: 

  • 59% hybrid
  • 33% remote
  • 8% full-time in-office

Comparatively, in 2022 40% of employees were hybrid, 56% remote, and 4% were in the office full time. This highlights the industry’s shift to hybrid work and away from traditional in-office models and remote work popularized during the pandemic. 

Advertising firm’s unique needs for collaboration and client meetings are likely drivers for this industry trend. One thing is for sure: the office is back with 67% of ad agency employees spending regular time in the office.

As companies transition to hybrid work, a relatively new way of working, organizations will need the right tools to help employees book resources and manage their workweek. 

How are ad agency employees using office resources?

Office usage in 2023 is up across the board for advertising companies as they adopt hybrid work models. At Robin, we see this in our desk booking, space booking, and visitor data. 

Spaces (conference rooms, meeting rooms, etc) used more frequently as well. In late 2021, most spaces were being used 40-50 hrs per month, but that has jumped up to 60-70 hrs per month in 2023. More office foot traffic means more in-person meetings. Make sure your room booking process is streamlined and efficient.

Client visits to the office are on the rise again. According to our recent workplace research, there’s been a 147% increase in guest visits since January. Turns out, the advertising industry is no different. One of the areas we are seeing the starkest changes in the advertising industry is in office guest visits. 

In 2021 and 2022 offices were seeing around 5 visitors per month, or just over one per week. In 2023 that has jumped to around 10 to 25 visitors per month, or two a week to one daily. Plan to have a visitor management tool in place so advertising companies can provide clients with great experiences in your office.

Similar to space and room bookings, desk bookings rose from a 6 month average of 4.7 bookings per employee in late 2021 to 6.3 bookings per employee in 2023. As employees come back together in-person on a more flexible schedule, desk booking ensures they have a workstation when they get to the office.

How are teams feeling about the workplace?

As companies see more workers in offices and as offices change it’s important to collect feedback from employees on their experience in the office. The office is an important tool to employee satisfaction and understanding how well it is working for your employees is important for managing your investment.

Most employees in advertising submit positive feedback about their time in office. However, 3% to 8% have negative experiences. The feedback these employees leave ranges from office temperature, to noise, to facilities and tech issues. Employees are mostly happy when in office, but workplace teams should remember to keep feedback lines open. Collecting and understanding these issues is key to ensuring positive experiences for employees and clients. 

Are there opportunities for reducing real estate costs?

The average advertising firm has 10 desks for every 8 people in their company. That’s enough for 80% of their employees to be in the office daily. However, they only need enough to support 40% of their employees coming into the office on a hybrid schedule, or 4 desks for every 10 people, giving the average firm the ability to downsize their desk resources by 50%.

Conference rooms and other bookable spaces have similar real estate savings opportunities. The average conference room is only used a maximum of 70 hours per month. In comparison to pre pandemic levels, the average room was used 150 hours a month. While clients may appreciate the scheduling flexibility, in a tight economy this may be an area where firms can reduce their real estate footprint. 

There are many considerations when downsizing office space such as capacity, peak usage, employee satisfaction, client visits, and day-to-day operations, which is why our platform offers workplace analytics your company can use to find opportunities to save on space.

Why Robin?

Robin has a long history working for organizations in the advertising space and currently works with over 100 advertising customers. Among these customers we manage over 300 offices with over 600 combined floors that house 4,000 scheduling spaces and 40,000 desks. 

Robin helps tens of thousands of their employees book hundreds of thousands of hours in spaces and hundreds of thousands of desks every month. Ready to learn more? Let’s chat.

Two people walking and talking in an office

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