Creative Collaboration

As the world continues to navigate the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has become an increasingly common reality for many professionals, including those in the marketing and advertising industry. A recent report from Filestage, based on 366 responses from marketing and advertising professionals, provides valuable insights into the current state of creative collaboration in this industry. 

At the start of 2023, the report shows only 1-in-5 marketers and creatives are fully remote, compared to 2-in-5 at the start of 2022. This shift towards hybrid work, which includes a combination of remote and in-person work, has jumped from 49% to 65%. Only 16% of respondents reported working fully office-based. This shift towards hybrid work highlights the need for companies to have processes and tools in place that can support remote collaboration and ensure seamless transitions between in-person and remote work. Having helped 22 organizations transition to long-term hybrid work arrangements, my experience illuminates the importance of effective remote work collaboration for the success of hybrid models.

75% of Creative Collaboration Happens Remotely

One of the key findings of the report is that 75% of creative collaboration now takes place remotely, with only 25% taking place face-to-face. This shift to remote work has significant implications for companies in the marketing and advertising industry. For example, a mid-size advertising agency found that remote collaboration allowed them to streamline their creative review process, leading to faster project turnaround times and improved efficiency.

Another important finding of the report is that 74% of remote creative collaboration happens in real-time. This has a major impact on the speed of remote collaborations, which are now faster than those that take place in the office. For example, a large professional services company reported that its remote creative teams were able to collaborate on projects in real-time, leading to improved project speed and increased productivity.

Reviewing and Approval of Creative Collaboration Creates Friction

Marketing and advertising professionals are spending an average of 20 minutes reviewing each piece of work, amounting to 8 hours per month. This highlights the importance of efficient collaboration and review processes, as well as the need for tools and platforms that can support these processes. For example, a mid-size IT company found that using a collaboration platform designed specifically for remote work allowed its marketing team to review and approve projects more efficiently, freeing up time for other tasks.

The report also found that the average approval process takes 7 days for agencies and 10 days for brands. This long approval process can be a significant challenge for marketing and advertising professionals, leading to delays in project completion and increased frustration among team members. For example, a mid-sized creative agency reported that implementing a streamlined approval process allowed its creative teams to work more efficiently, reducing the amount of time spent waiting for feedback and approval.

Waiting for feedback is the number one problem that slows down the creative collaboration process for marketing and advertising professionals, according to the report. Additionally, chasing people for approval and having too much to do are among the top-3 problems faced by marketers and creatives. These challenges highlight the need for tools and processes that can streamline the collaboration process and reduce the time spent waiting for feedback and approval. For example, a large advertising agency found that using a project management platform designed specifically for remote work allowed its creative teams to collaborate more efficiently and get projects approved faster.

Addressing Cognitive Biases in Remote Work Collaboration

However, it’s important to note that cognitive biases can impact remote work collaboration as well. The two biases that can have a significant impact on remote work collaboration are confirmation bias and attentional bias.

Confirmation bias refers to our tendency to seek out and give more weight to information that supports our beliefs, rather than information that challenges them. This can impact remote work collaboration as team members may overlook feedback or opinions that contradict their own, leading to suboptimal outcomes.

Attentional bias refers to our tendency to give more weight to information that is easy to process or stands out, rather than information that is harder to process or less salient. In a remote work environment, this can lead to team members disregarding important information or not giving enough attention to details that are crucial to the collaboration process.


The remote work collaboration trend is here to stay and continues to boom among marketing and advertising professionals. With 75% of creative collaboration happening remotely, it’s evident that remote work offers advantages such as faster speed and real-time collaboration. The shift to remote work has not only increased efficiency, but it has also led to new challenges, such as waiting for feedback, which can slow down the approval process. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift to remote work, and today, 65% of respondents are engaged in hybrid work, while only 16% of respondents work fully in-office. The future of work has changed, and companies must embrace this trend to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced business world. Companies that adopt remote work collaboration strategies will find themselves with more efficient, productive, and engaged teams. The time is now to embrace remote work collaboration and reap the many benefits it brings.

Key Take-Away

Remote work is increasingly common in the marketing and advertising industry, with 75% of creative collaboration happening remotely….>Click to tweet

Image credit: Jopwell/Pexels

Originally published in Disaster Avoidance Experts on March 16, 2023.