Marketing is a tough, deadline-driven industry reliant on gaining and retaining clients.
The competition in this industry is fierce, and even before the economic and workplace impact of COVID-19, agencies vied for business and solid client bases.
Those working in client-oriented environments are accustomed to certain work pressures and demands.
COVID-19 halted the operations of businesses around the world, forcing them to consider measures to survive.
Globally, companies closed their doors, dismissed or placed employees on furlough, and aimed to keep operations afloat through work-from-home strategies.
Zoom meetings, used by most businesses and schools, became an everyday phenomenon to keep the operational gears turning.
Before the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic, employees commuted to offices and mainly worked during set hours.
Targets were met within the boundaries delineated by office hours and business days.
Marketing and communications agencies were among the businesses that could have employees work from their respective homes.
On the surface, this approach seemed viable, even convenient.
Working from home may have solved issues such as typical morning rushes to get ready for work and facing peak-hour traffic day in and day out, but it also nullified the constructs of business routines.
In July 2020, Forbes reported on the findings of a survey conducted a few months into the first worldwide lockdowns.
This survey targeted professionals in the US and measured, among others, the burnout levels of workers since the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions.
A staggering 83.3% of those in the marketing and communications industries reported that they are burnt out.
Experts investigated this marked statistic and had a look at what changed during the COVID-19 lockdowns and how these changes impacted the physical and mental health of marketing and communications professionals.
Most marketing and communications employees reported full and busy schedules typical of the industry.
Before March 2020, when the first global lockdowns occurred, these schedules included virtual meetings on apps such as Zoom.
Notably, the only thing that changed during the lockdowns was the work setting.
Office activities moved into homes and most professional interactions shifted to virtual and telephonic meetings and consultations.
With many employees placed on furlough, the workloads of active staff members increased and they had to start managing tasks normally performed by a team.
Marketing and communications employees reported that working from home distorted the boundaries between work life and home life.
Working hours, one of the important boundaries in a normal office set-up, became blurred.
Professionals in the industry stated how they worked longer and longer hours, without setting start-of-workday and end-of-workday boundaries.
Curious about these contributors to burnout, Forbes approached Overstock.com’s vice-president of marketing Maquel Shaw about the issues.
Shaw stated that marketing and communications agencies need to balance the client acquisition and retention scales.
Canvassing the right proportions and gaining loyal clients contribute greatly to manageable workloads and the delivery of quality content.
Other professionals feel that setting definitive working hours and advising clients accordingly go a long way in preventing work overloads.
Shaw stressed the importance of professional socialisation and peer-to-peer sound boarding.
Top marketing and communications agencies consider the wellbeing of employees to ensure optimum performance, retain staff, and prevent issues such as burnout.