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Jun 19, 2024 1:48:52 PM | 6 Minutes read

How Allocating Time Wisely Boosts Creativity in In-House Agencies

Did you know that your in-house agency team can only be as creative as you give them time to be? It was Albert Einstein who said, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” But these days, it’s all too easy to feel that there is little time to have fun and even less time to be creative!

Could in-house production be getting in the way of creativity? 

Today's in-house agencies have become factories. Not only is the production volume an issue, but in-house agencies are often abused by departments wanting "free service." Not to mention that not all projects are equal. Some have questionable impact or value but still consume creative bandwidth. It can be a case of who shouts the loudest or a battle of job titles. 

In March 2024, EKCS surveyed creatives and leaders to explore how in-house agencies are experiencing overwork and burnout. Topping the list of main factors contributing to overwork was tight deadlines, cited by 27% of respondents. 

Many challenges, including relentless demands (24%) and skills gaps/resources (16%) hinder creative output when working in-house. But the key challenge is time, or lack thereof.  Brands and in-house agencies are all trying to deliver exceptional experiences for customers, but 44% of in-house practitioners say the lack of time to be creative is a key internal barrier to marketing. That’s why IHAs and brands outsource their creative production to an offshore partner.

Can a work environment ever be creative?

Well, by freeing up time for creatives to do what they do best—be creative, a creative work environment is a real possibility. Creatives need to allocate enough time and energy for their work, but also for their rest and personal life.

Hybrid working options

When British actor and Monty Python and Fawlty Towers star John Cleese spoke at Ogilvy Consulting's Nudgestock event in London in 2021, he said that the 'greatest killer of creativity is interruption.’ His session on 'How to Become More Creative' spoke about the challenges of open-plan offices and the lack of space and time creatives have. Open offices are prone to distractions, which increase stress and decrease productivity. There is sometimes a built-in expectation that employees are always available for impromptu meetings and discussions. 

In-house agency leaders can encourage the use of private workspaces when creatives need to focus. If you don’t have private  workspaces where your team can go to focus or decompress, use signals like ‘do not disturb’ signs
when needed, or schedule ‘no meeting hours’ to enable creatives to focus on elements of their job
such as ideation.

Moreover, if creatives have hybrid working options, collaboration and teamwork can take place in the studio, while deep-thinking work, including writing and illustration, can take place remotely.


Tips for allocating time 

Try setting a time limit, a word limit, or one goal for your creative task. Try the pomodoro technique,  as having constraints can ignite your creativity by forcing you to think outside the box.

Outsource production

Would outsourcing creative production free up your team? Many creative leaders worry about the effect of outsourcing on staff. It’s not about trying to reduce headcount. Remember, creative production outsourcing is about enabling your staff to do more. Chances are they are consumed by production and, as a result, miss out on bigger creative projects. Creative production outsourcing can save time and enable your skilled in-house people to focus on their strengths: ideation, creativity, and design. What can be outsourced to free up time for the in-house team?

Set boundaries

Nowadays, teams are often in different locations and might work outside of traditional hours. However, the blurring of work and personal time is a source of job stress. One study has found that it is not just answering emails that increases employees’ anxiety; it is the expectation that they are available outside of work hours. To combat this, set guidelines and follow them.

Creativity within in-house agencies hinges on the allocation of time. By embracing strategies that prioritize focused work, such as setting task limits, outsourcing production, and establishing boundaries, it empowers teams to be more creative. 

Every team member needs the opportunity to unleash their full creative potential without the constraints of overwork and burnout. Ultimately, it’s not just about managing time, but about managing energy and inspiration, allowing intelligence to have its fun. 

Download our free e-bookBreaking the Cycle of Overworked Creative Teams, for more tips for in-house agencies and brands.  





To find out more about outsourcing and explore how it can help your team to solve production challenges

Download our FREE GUIDES. They look at the benefits of creative production outsourcing, what to consider in a production partner, and tips on how to get started with outsourcing.

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