Advertising, PR, and Communications agencies – we need to talk about the “Always On” mentality. “Always on” might mean slightly different things in different workplaces, but essentially it is having year-round (and really around-the-clock) client coverage – always working, responding, strategizing regardless of the day, time, or place.
The problem is “always on,” leads to this…
- “Half of people working in PR, marketing and comms reported experiencing severe stress, anxiety or burnout on several occasions over the past 12 months.” – PRWeek
- “A recent survey that polled 7,000 professionals nationwide found that marketing and communications professionals fared the worst among job functions with the highest burnout, with 83.3% reporting they were burned out.” – Forbes
Which turns into this…
- “The average agency turnover rate is 24.5%.” – O’Dwyers
Let’s Focus on the Business Case
The average turnover rate for all industries is between 10%-18% and losing an employee can cost a company one and a half to two times the employee’s salary. This is a problem agencies can’t afford but continue to tolerate. While we shouldn’t set aside the importance of keeping a happy, healthy, and safe work environment and culture in this argument, the business case alone should have more companies hitting the off button more often.
Now Hit the Off Button
Switching from always on to only on during business hours is not as hard as you might think and can improve outcomes. There is tons of research showing the benefits of time off. And before you say well the “24-hour news cycle means that communications teams MUST always be on,” think about how giving the team space to recharge has been shown to make teams more strategic and proactive, rather than reactive.
We do it and So Can You
While work can be unpredictable and there are still times we burn the midnight oil for clients, our leadership works hard to establish workloads with tasking that can be done in the 40-hour work week, allows for flexible schedules to balance hours, and when you are taking paid time off, you are off completely.
It’s a balance to be sure, but the benefit is low turnover, sustainable growth, and overall better performance and outcomes for clients.