People are the Most Important Asset: Robert Douglas, Left Off Madison
Our industry is based upon people — that is the primary and most important asset. Having and retaining the best talent is the most important attribute an advertising agency can deliver its clients.
By India Fizer, Ad Forum || Artwork: Gregory Gennaro
If there’s one thing that we’ve all collectively learned this past year and a half is how important it is to value each other as people outside of our work lives. We spoke with Left Off Madison Co-Founder and CEO, Robert Douglas, about the importance of human engagement and how embracing the change of a flexible work environment can increase efficiency.
Over the past year, work environments have had to change drastically. How has your agency taken employee feedback, coupled with what’s appropriate for the company to create a work plan going forward?
We’ve been empathetic, attentive, and adaptive. When our core leadership team conveyed their interest to relocate away from our home base of New York City, we accepted and encouraged this kind of change. It was better for them and their families and wouldn’t negatively impact our operations. Our industry is based upon people — that is the primary and most important asset. Having and retaining the best talent is the most important attribute an advertising agency can deliver its clients.
The lessons gained from the first several months of the pandemic validated that our leadership and team could function from home at parity or better than being in some communal office. The need to collaborate in person was replaced by video or one-on-one calls. On (rare) occasion, a handful of people working on a shared project will meet in a common space when necessary.
If there is one major benefit to working from home rather than open area office environments, it is the reduction of uncontrollable (and often unnecessary) disruptions and distractions that impede one’s ability to think, concentrate, and get work done. That is some real talk. The office distractions that were pulling people away from what is truly important pre-pandemic was getting out of control.
How has the changing work landscape affected the way pitches and campaign briefs are approached and conceptualized?
I think it has gotten stronger, more creative, faster, and far more efficient. (Read more at: https://www.adforum.com/interviews/people-are-the-most-important-asset-robert-douglas-left-off-madison