OPINION: Sweat Index shows a need for technology and booze

Alan Robertson
By Alan Robertson | 14 August 2013
Kinesis Media principal Alan Robertson.

I’ve long been a supporter of the Chinese Laundry concept of running a media agency. Y’know, “in at eight, out at six”. Alex Hamill was too, only he expressed it more as “balance” in your work-life regime. Same thing. This belief was  acquired by the simple philosophy that if you flogged your horses too hard without adequate rest, you can walk the rest of the way your bloody self.
I was horrified to pick up a piece of research, AdNews Sweat Index,  a week or two ago which claimed that “44% of the media industry are having a tough time at work”. There was a breakdown of those people from borderline (15.4%) to clinging on (17.9%) and actively looking for a way out (10.8%). Let’s be ruddy positive –  that means 56% are just peachy, with just under half of that 56% saying it was nothing a good daily piss up couldn’t fix, but that’s always been the case.
The Hamburger Index, run by the Economist, was second only to my Taxi Index, i.e. how far $US20 a taxi would take you from the office, run by me. The Sweat Index is way more important. If almost half your people seriously have the shits while the other half need to get partially pissed to make work feel good, may I respectfully suggest there’s a problem which is articulated in no more obvious way than the average churn rate of the media agency business, which, I’m lead to believe is somewhere in the region of 30%, although most agencies claim theirs is way, way lower than that. Yeah, right.
I’m not a betting man but I’ll bet the unhappy ones are likely to be the less senior people and the one’s getting pissed are some of the top layer. May I  make a suggestion? Take a look at the drudgery some of the poor buggers are subjected to on a daily basis. Use technology to ease their sweat - not the stuff you use in your ivory towers. Give them a proper job where they feel better about themselves, more invigorated, more able to contribute and more enthusiastic about the industry.
Here’s another idea. Walk around the agency at 6.00 or 7.00 pm and tell those still there to go to the pub. You know, the one where the other half are.

Sweat Index Media

Alan Robertson
Kinesis Media

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