The Advantages of Being Present

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Remote, hybrid, or in-person? How often do we see these options now, and if they aren’t available, ask ourselves, “Can I just do that on Zoom?”

The problem is that you don’t begin to make the same connections in an online forum as you will in person. It’s one of the reasons I’m encouraging my team to prioritize being present whenever possible.

I read an article this morning about marketing firms and ad agencies. The author said, “Since most firms are now remote or hybrid, we’re looking for data on what firms are spending in hard costs to bring the team together regularly.”

This is a notable shift. Who could have imagined that creative teams wouldn’t collaborate together? I'm not a fan when I think about the different skill sets that make it possible for a campaign to launch and what it would be like to effectively and efficiently do remotely. It can be done but is it the best way? Is it the most efficient?

What happened that made it so hard to bring people together? This is a question many business leaders, event organizers, and even families are considering.

Who could have imagined a world where teams didn’t work side by side? The science of being there is of great interest to me. As someone who has been a behavioral scientist nerd since my junior year of college, I have a position on this topic.

The Indispensable Value of Being Together

For all of our advances, research shows time and again there’s simply no substitute for being together. It fosters:

  • More complex strategic thinking
  • Creativity
  • Problem-Solving
  • Better brainstorming
  • Cooperation
  • Alignment of core values
  • Short and informal conversations
  • A common mission

For employees, the benefits of working in person include:

  • Overall health and wellbeing
  • Collegial relationships
  • Productivity and coordination
  • Moments of serendipity (solutions) that can move projects along.

Why Cooperation and In-Person Interactions Matter

In the near future, learning how to cooperate will be one of the most top-rated skills. As we focus more on self, we lose the power that comes when we focus on the other.

Research shows face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than email ones. MIT’s Human Dynamics Lab spent hundreds of hours tracking performance drivers across industries by collecting data from electronic badges that covered everything from tone of voice to body language. The results showed unequivocally that the most valuable communication is done in person. Typically, 35 percent of the variation in a given team’s performance was explained by the number of times team members spoke face-to-face.

The Power of Collaboration

Here at The Creative Company, our clients will see us in the office working side by side. We see it as a distinctive and worthwhile advantage. Because of the speed of our communication and the investment we’ve made in building a strong team, our clients benefit from these efficiencies with more robust creative and cost savings in terms of time.

It’s worth noting that while remote work will continue to be an option for many of us, it may not be in our best interest. If you spend 90,000 hours working over your lifetime, are you more likely to do your best work alone or with a team?

Whether you’re running an organization or working for one, it is worth considering. In the long term, what's best may be showing up daily with people different from you and figuring it out together. The rewards are there for those who dare.

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Laura Gallagher, 
President and Founder

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