Burnout. We’ve all experienced it. For creatives, the constant pressure of production deadlines, inefficient workflows, scarce resources, unintuitive technology, and ever-evolving expectations threaten to derail and demotivate creative teams even in the best of times.
But when the pandemic hit? The threat of burnout got so much worse.
Like so many during 2020, creatives were simultaneously asked to manage the complex personal emotions brought on by the onset of the pandemic while also quickly adjusting to remote work. On top of that, they suddenly saw their workloads increase as the demand for creating countless time-sensitive collateral for clients and stakeholders skyrocketed. And without the natural daily rhythms they were used to, many creatives found themselves working around the clock.
And now, burnout is becoming more and more prevalent as teams reach their breaking points — the natural result of living and working under so much pressure with no clear end in sight.
That’s why this moment is so important.
As you look toward what’s next for your creative team in a post-pandemic world, we’ll show you how to create a new, better normal that will help your team members not just survive, but thrive.
Creative Team Burnout in the Age of COVID-19
Creative teams have always been expected to be flexible, nimble, and agile as they respond to rushed and fast-tracked projects, shifting deadlines, and high expectations.
But according to our annual Creative Management Report, the factors that traditionally lead to burnout were exacerbated in 2020 during the global pandemic.
- 58% of creatives were asked to do more work in 2020 than in 2019
- 31% faced staff reductions and/or budget cuts in 2020
- 73% reported the speed at which they were now expected to work became problematic
- 59% said the volume of work they were expected to produce was a challenge
- 61% said they didn’t have the creative resources to do their jobs as well as they’d like
All of these factors, combined with the emotional weight of the pandemic, eventually took a toll.
That toll showed up in a number of ways. Disengagement. Disinterest during Zoom meetings. Lower levels of participation on Slack or email threads. Work not reflective of creative potential. High turnover. Missed deadlines. Slow time to market.
In short, the burnout got real.
As you plan for another change — deciding when and if to return to the office — there’s a new worry to consider. What if creatives bring their burnout back to the office with them? What if it actually gets worse as they face yet another significant upheaval to their daily norms and routines?
Mitigate Burnout with Smart, Flexible Solutions
If you’re seeing the symptoms of burnout creeping into your creative team and you’re concerned about what comes next, it’s time to address it head on. This involves flexing your creative muscles to offer your team a satisfying and sustainable structure that combines the best of what office work and remote work have to offer. And it means investing in the technology and tools that will set your people up for success in a new hybrid world.
Champion Collaboration and Connection through the In-Person Office Environment
Most of us thrive when there is some kind of structure to our days. And there can be important team-building and creativity-boosting benefits to being physically present in the same space. But the five-day workweek can also feel like a grind, especially for team members who have a long commute or whose jobs require a good amount of inspiration and creativity.
Consider capitalizing on the positive aspects of office life by having employees come into the office two or three days a week. In doing so, you can leverage the benefits of both work options. In-office days can be used for intentional collaboration and to strengthen personal connections between team members, while remote days can offer much-needed balance and flexibility.
Foster Creativity through Remote Work Options
To complement in-office days, the opportunity to continue working remotely offers long stretches of uninterrupted work time to provide creatives a chance to execute on all the ideas they’ve brainstormed with their colleagues. And just as importantly for professionals who are balancing work with family obligations, remote days offer flexibility that enables creatives to bring their best efforts to all aspects of life.
In order to make these remote days as effective and productive as possible, consider putting a moratorium on Zoom meetings or other interruptions for at least part of the day. This will empower your team to tap into their creative storehouses and produce work that achieves better content outcomes.
Fight Burnout by Investing in Tools and Technologies that Enhance Creative Team Productivity
When responding to the sudden shift to fully remote work, many teams developed stop-gap creative workflows and processes to keep teams functioning. Sound familiar? If so, now is the time to take the headache out of the creative process by investing in technology to foster enhanced creativity and collaboration.
To identify tools to set your teams up for success, ask yourself:
- Are existing processes and workflows streamlined and intuitive enough that they can be easily followed while working remotely?
- Has my team expressed frustration about the tools they currently use? If so, what are the common complaints that need to be addressed? What’s the plan to fix them?
- Do our tools allow for collaboration between the team and external stakeholders? Especially if stakeholders opt not to participate in in-person meetings moving forward?
Providing intuitive tools and technologies that meet the needs of your team and stakeholders ensures a seamless creative process — regardless of whether work is being done in the office or remotely.
Lead Your Creative Team into a Bright, Burnout-Free Future
Creative teams have been through a lot this past year. As their champion, it’s your responsibility to meet your team members where they are while also setting an inspiring vision for what the future will hold.
By offering a flexible work environment that embraces in-person and remote work — and by investing in tools to streamline and enhance processes — you can mitigate burnout and set your team up for ever-higher levels of success.