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Remote Working

How to improve client-agency team performance and reduce stress in the era of remote work



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July 21, 2023 | 4 min read

The Covid era has brought significant changes to the workplace, with remote work becoming more prevalent

However, stress levels among employees have been on the rise. According to Gallup's State of the Global Workplace 2023 report, employee stress remained at a record-high level even after the worst of the pandemic was over.

In this article, we will explore the impact of stress on client-agency team performance, understand the factors contributing to stress among employees, and learn how leaders and managers can improve engagement to reduce stress and enhance team productivity.

Understanding the sources of employee stress

Stress among employees can arise from various factors, including work-related issues and everyday-life challenges. While leaders may not have control over external stressors, they can influence workplace-related stress.

According to Gallup, engagement is a key factor in reducing stress. Employees who are engaged in their work and feel connected to their team and organization report significantly lower stress levels.

Identifying different levels of engagement

Gallup classifies employee engagement into three categories:

1. Engaged employees: These employees find meaning in their work, are connected to their team, and take ownership of their performance. They are more likely to thrive at work and have lower stress levels.

2. Not engaged employees (quiet quitters): This group includes employees who are physically present but emotionally disconnected from their work. They put in minimal effort and are more likely to experience stress and burnout.

3. Actively disengaged employees (loud quitters): These employees actively harm the organization and oppose its leaders. They experience the highest stress levels and are often in a state of crisis.

The link between engagement and stress

Actively disengaged employees experience significantly higher stress levels compared to engaged employees. While remote and hybrid workers may report higher engagement levels, they also tend to experience more stress than their fully onsite counterparts. This suggests that stress among remote and hybrid employees may be influenced by factors beyond the work environment.

Does contact frequency contribute to stress?

Using our database of over 26,000 client agency evaluations, analysis of contact frequency showed that that in the first half of 2020, just 21% of clients touched base with their agency every day. But in the second half of 2020, this jumped to 35%.

This inevitably placed more stress on already time-poor staff. One of the recommendations stemming from our report was that agencies and clients need to corral their teams and consolidate agendas so that multiple issues can be addressed in a single contact.

Energizing the quiet quitters

Quiet quitting employees represent a significant opportunity for productivity gains. Managers can take specific actions to engage and motivate these employees. Based on Gallup survey responses, the following areas are key for improvement:

Culture & communication: Encourage a positive work culture that values recognition, approachable managers, autonomy in work, and continuous learning opportunities.

Pay & benefits: While managers may have limited control in this area, advocating for fair compensation and benefits is essential to support employees' well-being.

Well-being: Promote work-life balance and prioritize employee well-being, which can positively impact stress levels.

Emphasizing engagement over remote work: Gallup's findings indicate that employee engagement has a more significant influence on reducing stress levels than the physical location of work. Remote work can sometimes lead to employees feeling disconnected from their employers, which can increase stress levels and decrease team performance. Therefore, managers should prioritize strengths-based meaningful conversations, ensure regular communication, and support each team member to build a positive work environment.


The rise of remote work has presented both advantages and challenges for client-agency teams. As we navigate the aftermath of the pandemic, understanding the implications of remote work on team performance and employee stress is crucial. By focusing on employee engagement, promoting a positive work culture, and supporting employee well-being, leaders and managers can reduce stress levels, improve team productivity, and foster a successful client-agency relationship in the era of remote work.

Remote Working


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