How the right work management tool empowers creative teams

There’s a common thread among creative teams today — creative work drives innovation, opportunities, and outcomes.

Yet all too often, creatives struggle for time to create.

To deliver great work, creative teams need behind-the-scenes operations support at every stage of the creative experience. Since hybrid work models are here to stay, having that support is especially important. At the same time, creatives need to clearly understand their role and feel their work matters. They need to be able to focus on their creative output — not all of the administrative work they do and its endless meetings, status updates, and information chasing.

That’s what we learned when we surveyed 400 US-based creative professionals for our report The Future of Creative Experiences.

The right work management system can help teams do what they do best, providing much-needed time and space for innovation. Let’s explore how.

Close gaps between where and why work happens

Most creative professionals work within a hybrid model (39% vs. 34% in office) and 26% work from home, according to our findings. And while an impressive 82% of our survey respondents say their organizations are set up to effectively work from home long term, they also cite challenges introduced by distributed hybrid work environments. For the hybrid workplace to succeed, these issues need to be addressed.

When teams are spread out, it can be tough to collaborate and workflows can be tough to manage.

“Digital doesn’t mean easier. It’s not getting simpler,” says Matt Harker, VP of global marketing strategy and transformation at Walgreens Boots Alliance. “There are more channels emerging. There are more expectations from customers. You have to be quicker, smoother, more seamless, and integrated.” how Walgreen Boots Alliance connected marketing and IT to make that happen.

Say goodbye to workplace FOMO

To that end, 51% of creatives struggle with managing hybrid meetings or calls with people in work and home locations. Additionally, 40% are concerned about maintaining company or team culture and morale, and 38% worry about missing out on in-person conversations and collaborations when they’re not in the office. The fear of missing out (FOMO) is real.

Meanwhile, a centralized work management application like Adobe Workfront can help teams stay connected to information, people, processes, and technology across the organization and at every stage of work. And that can help ensure nothing falls through the cracks.

Every team member can have clear visibility into strategic business goals and company progress, and they can prioritize requests and adapt work as new demands and opportunities surface.

Mind information gaps

Similarly, many teams struggle with their intake process. They can lose a lot of time trying to track down the information they need to complete their projects. Minding those information gaps is another drag on creativity.

But a good creative brief process that captures all relevant information from the start can close that gap. An effective work management application can save time and effort by centralizing intake in one place with one custom form to act as the brief.

The value of seeing creativity through to the end

Creative teams today don’t always have access to the full spectrum of a project from beginning to end. Often, they don’t get feedback on how their creative work performed.

Plus, they can feel out of touch with the overall company strategy. They may not understand why they’re working on a project or how to connect with key audiences. In fact, 31% of creatives say they struggle to understand end-user personas and needs, and 25% say they lack feedback on creative or design work before launch or publication.

When teams don’t have a single source to provide these insights and help them track progress, they run the risk of duplicative work or wasting time looking for relevant information. And projects can easily go sideways.

Interestingly, as much as creatives would like more involvement in the development and production stages of work, few of them (16%) wish to see how their work performed. Meanwhile, the study revealed they should because that type of insight helped teams deliver better work.

Insights speed progress

That’s where insights from a centralized work management tool can really make a difference, giving creatives insight into work progress, allowing for real-time updates and speedier approvals across teams, and linking creatives to data that can improve their performance and deliver better customer experiences.

The benefits of access to relevant data are vast — doing so can shorten the time between creative brief and implementation, expedite reviews and approvals, aid personalization efforts, improve future work, and help creatives stay nimble as priorities shift.

Connection fuels better work

When there’s connection and visibility at every stage, it’s easier to tie creative work to measurable outcomes. Perhaps not surprisingly, 79% of creative professionals who feel “completely connected” to data outcomes say this access significantly improves their work.

When creatives are connected to outcomes, they can see and feel the impact of their creativity. They can create more meaningful experiences for their audience and expand their influence even further.

Peter DeLuca, chief creative officer at T-Mobile, agrees. “Putting information in people’s hands helps to inspire them to do the best work of their career.” more about how T-Mobile’s work management strategy helps teams stay focused on the work that matters.

Protect time and space for creativity

One of the top challenges creatives face is the overwhelming amount of non-creative tasks required to push projects forward. And since 57% of creatives say they don’t have enough time in their day to be creative, cutting a meeting five minutes short and considering that “giving back time” isn’t enough.

Here’s what’s getting in the way of creative work — the vast majority (70%) of a creative’s day is spent on non-creative tasks such as project management, meetings, admin work, miscellaneous requests, and more.

For innovation to thrive, creative time must be protected.

Automating the more operational elements of the job can free up time to create. Work management applications let creative teams spend more time being creative and less time working through slow and inefficient processes, bottlenecks, and rework. With one place to access all their work materials and workflow tasks, creatives are better able to focus and collaborate, and teams can align strategies, resources, and work.

It's a foundation that delivers.

Combined, 86% of our survey respondents agree that process management gives them the time and space needed to turn creative work around faster.

86% of creatives agree that process management helps them turn creative work around faster.

How the right tech empowers creatives to work within the tools they already use

Even when creativity is speedy, a lengthy approval process can make work late. Automating feedback and approval workflows minimizes the wait time that can hold up projects and maximizes forward progress.

The right work management application speeds up the creation and delivery of work by integrating with the design, editing, and web tools they already use, such as Adobe Creative Cloud. It can also eliminate the need to move from tool to tool when tracking progress and managing multiple versions of a file through the revision process. Plus, the ability to streamline work also makes it easier to pivot when priorities change.

Creatives’ reliance on technology is growing

Technology can also impact creativity, especially when working remotely. Even though most creatives work within a hybrid model, half of them say they only have access to the tools they need when they’re in the office.

But creatives are relying more on tech to accelerate the pace of work, improve collaboration between team members, and manage workflows. Our survey found that 83% of creatives use anywhere from three to 10 software tools daily.

To get work done properly, creatives need access to tools wherever they are — and a centralized place to collaborate and manage their workflow most efficiently.

A trifecta for the future — creativity, flexibility, and agility

When looking forward, our survey uncovered the most important skills for creatives to have now and in the future — creativity (40%) leads, followed by flexibility (22%) and agility (14%).

These skills align with what creatives see as the focus of the future — enhancing the customer experience and responding quickly to market forces.

Creativity is delicate. It takes the right conditions to bloom to its fullest potential.

Creativity is delicate. It takes the right conditions to bloom to its fullest potential. When you give your teams creative work experience that nurtures flexibility, agility, and autonomy, you create a win-win situation. They’ll be able to do their best creating, and your organization will thrive.

Adobe Workfront helps enterprises work smarter — not harder

Adobe Workfront is enterprise work management software that connects work to strategy and drives better collaboration to deliver measurable business outcomes. It integrates people, data, processes, and technology across an organization so you can manage the entire lifecycle of creative projects from start to finish. With a solid foundation in place and greater efficiency of non-creative tasks, your team will have the time they need to create more strategically, eliminating restarts or extra revisions to ultimately speed the creative process.

“Workfront helps us put people first, those that are on the front lines doing the work.”Amy Pett, Director, Marketing Project Management, CHG Healthcare

Learn how Adobe Workfront can give creative teams the time they need to do their best work.