If you’re in the communications or marketing industry you will most likely have come across the story of Roxy Jacenko and her lazy team. Working all hours won’t deliver success, but that was the attitude delivered by Jacenko to her team via a recent media interview.
If you haven’t had the privilege, the basic gist of the story is that Roxy feels that her team should be thankful for their jobs and should basically dedicate every waking (and possibly sleeping if they ever get the opportunity) moment to working for Roxy. This despite an Instagram feed that doesn’t exactly depict a CEO hard at work leading and inspiring their team.
Nicole Webb, CEO of Impact Agency and Gemma Lloyd, co-founder of WORK 180 have both already commented eloquently on why Roxy’s attitude is totally wrong. But, from an industry perspective, I have great concerns about the damage this does when we’re already on the receiving end of significant criticism.
The creative industries are traditionally notorious for underpaying staff and for a lack of flexibility, demanding long hours ‘for the love of the job’, or for taking advantage of unpaid interns for months on end, before new laws that limit the amount of time that companies can do this came into force. And, there has been the long-held attitude that part-time roles just don’t work in PR and communications.
As a society, we are eroding our sense of community by demanding that we buy into the concept that busyness and long hours lead to success. As an industry the creatives are one of the worst perpetrators. And the tragedy of that attitude is that there are talented people with drive and experience that are being lost because the ego of the profession demands a pound of flesh as well as what, quite literally feels like your first-born!
There are now so many documented cases that have shown that reducing hours actually leads to an increase in productivity
that perpetuating this concept just seems ludicrous. The most recent and possibly most notable being New Zealand services trust company, Perpetual Guardian,
After a six-week trial of a four-day work week in early 2018, the Perpetual Guardian has now implemented this as standard for all its 240 staff. And their CEO has confirmed that their productivity, profits and their staff retention have all increased, which will also add to a reduction in advertising, on-boarding and training costs.
As the founder of a certified B Corp, ensuring that all the decisions we make have a positive impact on everyone the agency touches, externally and internally, is paramount. I have deliberately structured the team so that we can tap into the talent of those who want or need a more flexible work environment. It has been a very deliberate business decision aimed at creating a sustainable future for the company as well as being a staff-welfare concern.
Whether it’s students who want meaningful work that can fit in with their Uni timetable, parents who need to work school hours or freelancers who want a regular income to support their lifestyle, by providing an environment that is supported by technology with a collaborative rather than top-down structure, we’re able to service our clients and grow, without compromising on our values.
And the bonus is that you have a happier, more engaged team that has far more creative and enthusiastic ideas. It really is time for the creative industries, and PR in particular, to re-evaluate and see where the world of business is heading. Perhaps Roxy’s motivation simply was to gain accolades and attention from her target market of China, where an entirely different culture and lifestyle is in play in cities that never sleep.
But, in my opinion, that approach has no business being implemented here and simply tarnishes our industry with 80’s greed and excess that no longer serves us.
If you would like help with improving your organisation’s staff engagement, feel free to reach out to us for advice.