Likewise other previous important events in history have brought about great changes, the Covid-19 pandemic, among other things, has profoundly changed our relation to work and, of course, how we work.

Shifting from working at the office to working at home, shifts, or other settings outside of the office existed even before this pandemic, but the massive spread it had this time all over the world seems to have landed for good and it is here to stay. Such events of extraordinary social and economic impact also suggest the closure of some markets and the opening of some others. Online education, online fitness, e-commerce, online health education, etc. have flourished alongside remote working in various industries. The communication industry remains among the industries that not only will resist, but will also be strengthened under the new conditions.

At first, adjusting was hard as many companies did not have previous experience in remote working and did not have any ready-made protocols and tools to make it work. What is more, operating under the stress of the pandemic and fear for the future created an even more difficult situation: many lost their lives, sick family members, online schooling, and fear of losing one’s job/business and the lockdown came together to create a very stressful background to aim for high efficiency. However, besides the reasons for which this method was embraced immediately and globally, companies discovered their benefits, by reducing costs for employers themselves, but also increasing financial benefits for employees.

What is the impact that this sudden change had on work productivity?

From the experience of our agencies, naturally many work behaviors and processes and internal and external communication changed during the pandemic and became part of ours even after coming back to the office.

Some changes observed during this period:

1.    Productivity has increased, as the new context has evoked the need to experiment with new things, new thoughts and has encouraged “out of the box” thinking, bringing innovations for solutions in unusual situations.

2.    While working at home, each employee adapts his/her daily agenda, which has given them a sense of freedom at work, but also even greater responsibility.

3.    Willingness to retain their jobs increased, in such difficult times when many lost theirs.

4.    There is a sense of fading social skills, but there is also an increased sense of empathy.

5.    There is also a reorientation in personal development in order to survive the new circumstances.

6.    The focus is on going back and solving priorities. Online meetings are shorter (or even when a few are present) and attention is directed to crucial issues.

7.    In this whole new reality, technology plays the most important role in the efficient functioning of remote working, so investing in technology (in both skills and equipment) is necessary. 

8.    Once everything seems to have been reformatted, there is one thing that remains not only unchanged, but that has taken on an added value in the new context in our industry: talent and creativity.

This last point in particular is the essence of our industry. You can change budgets and communications, they may attain new numbers and forms in different times, but human resources that come up with ideas and apply creative solutions can’t be substituted by robots and digital innovations. Utilizing these talents in a proper and effective way and the creativity they bring to the marketing industry in the new reality of remote working, will be the utterly important challenge of marketing agencies and all communication professionals, as the competition gets tougher. A challenge that, in fact, remains the “ace up the sleeve” for both agencies and freelance professionals in this industry. The need to come up with solutions in these unknown circumstances will produce new modes of communications, a new language when sending messages, creativity in realizing new events and protocols, perfecting digital communication and design in a new level of creativity to adapt to the times we are living.

Apparently, remote working will indefinitely take on even larger dimensions and will be part and solution to our routine, therefore we, as specialists, in the field of marketing and communication will have to reflect and find ways to perfect our strength, which is the remedy that will take us forward in a world that needs healing: creativity.

* Vatra Agency is a leading digital, design and brand communication agency passionately connecting brands to 55 million Balkan consumers.

Gerton Bejo

Founder & CEO of Vatra Agency
Tirana / Pristina / Skopje
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