The Advent of Remote Work in Creative Agencies

By David Mendoza

Today traditional work models are rapidly changing, with all, if not most, companies operating in a hybrid model. This significant change was fueled by the pandemic and technological advancements leading to changes in work preferences, empowering creative and marketing agencies like ours to tap into global talent unrestricted by geographical boundaries. However, this shift comes with complexities, primarily focusing on communication – a critical element for marketing and creative agencies. The difficulties of virtual communication, the search for effective collaboration, and maintaining a harmonious culture are some challenges that appear during remote work.

A Case Study of a Chinese Marketing and Translation Agency

The start of the pandemic ushered in the need for companies around the world, including ours, to transition from an office-based to a remote working model. This journey into the lockdowns and remote work stretched beyond technological challenges, like accessing work files or managing calls; it also extended to how we operate our Chinese translation and marketing business with our team spread across different suburbs. It became clear that success lay in embracing change, overcoming challenges, and mastering the art of effective communication. Below are our key takeaways from this period of our business. 

Lesson #1: Clear Communication

We learnt that in a remote or hybrid work environment, the importance of clear and straightforward language becomes critical for effective communication. The traps of ambiguity and using jargon produce misunderstandings that can impede productivity and result in dissatisfaction. A clear and concise message can help bridge any communication gaps, fostering a smoother workflow.   

Lesson #2: Harnessing Digital Collaboration

Central to this change in communication are tools specifically designed to facilitate collaboration. Like many others, we adopted video conferencing and settled on Google Workspace for our digital collaboration workspaces that have emulated the synergy of in-person teamwork when used to their full potential.  

Lesson #3: Regular Check-ins

Despite the best tools and effective communications, the complexities of remote work do require further safeguards like regular check-ins and feedback sessions. Part of ensuring team cohesion is ensuring our managers have weekly team catchups discussing quality, process and areas for innovation. These sessions help tackle misunderstandings early on and provide a forum to ideate and innovate based on reflections on clients’ needs. The continuous dialogue these meetings foster is not just about problem-solving but also strengthens the team’s bond.

Embracing the New Normal

While the shift to remote work presented its unique challenges, especially in maintaining effective communication, these can be overcome. Our takeaways were ensuring clear and direct language, regular feedback, and cultural sensitivity in our internal communications. As we collectively usher in the future of work, it’s important to harness these strategies, building resilient and diverse teams capable of thriving in the digital age.


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