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HomeMarketingOver half of marketers say relationships harmed by remote working

Over half of marketers say relationships harmed by remote working

Career & Salary 24 Relationship buildingFour years on from lockdown and it is hard to overstate the impact Covid has had on the working lives of marketers across the UK.

However, not everyone is experiencing the benefits of the work from home revolution. Over half of marketers (56.5%) believe opportunities for networking/building relationships have suffered due to remote working, according to Marketing Week’s 2024 Career & Salary Survey.

By contrast, just over a third (37.1%) of the more than 3,000 marketers surveyed say homeworking has not had a detrimental impact on relationship building.

Concerns over how to cement relationships and foster company culture could be part of the reason returning to the office is more of a trend this year than last, according to 54% of marketers.

A desire for more effective face-to-face collaboration is driving this office return say 71% of respondents, followed by the need to cultivate company culture (59.8%) and improve the social aspect of work (44.7%).

Over a third of marketers (35.9%) say their business believes working from the office will increase employee productivity, while 33.3% say the main motivation is to make use of office space. Some 33.2% of respondents work for an employer who believes office working fosters networking and builds professional relationships.

Just a fifth of businesses offer marketers full flexibility on where they work

That said, employee growth and career development (20.7%) and the desire to support improved staff mental health (13.9%) are far lower down the list of priorities.

Debate around the best balance between office and remote working remains contentious. While Marketing Week’s research finds three days in the office is the most common arrangement (25.2%) – followed closely by two days (24.3%) – major employers are moving in a different direction.

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Boots has decided its 3,900 head office employees will need to be in the office five days a week from September. The retailer’s CEO Seb James told staff the informality of office-based catch-ups is better for the “unique Boots culture” than the “enforced formality” of remote meetings.

Meanwhile, Nationwide informed employees in December they would need to attend the office at least two days a week, while Amazon plans to block promotions for staff who refuse to come into the office a minimum of three days a week.

As these differing approaches suggest, brands large and small continue to grapple with what hybrid working really means for their workforce. 

We will be publishing an in-depth analysis looking at the data split by gender, age and company size, as well as exploring how marketers feel about changing working patterns, with more news and features to follow.

Marketing Week has published a series of exclusive news and features based on the findings of the 2024 Career and Salary Survey, including the impact of the skills gap and ageism in marketing. Click here to view everything we’ve published so far.

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