PR is a dynamic, fast-paced and ever-changing industry. It’s only natural that work patterns need to evolve accordingly, argues Teresa Ellhotka.
Being surrounded by news on a 24/7 basis means PR professionals are constantly presented with new and exciting opportunities to secure exposure for their clients. The media doesn’t sleep but humans certainly need to. An industry that exists in symbiosis with a relentless news and social media cycle must rethink established working patterns to expertly make the most out of these opportunities.
In 2017, it is safe to say that the standard hours from nine to five have largely become a thing of the past. While time off and a healthy work-life balance are necessary to retain overall employee satisfaction and performance, an industry that works hand-in-hand with the news agenda simply cannot stop at the end of a traditional working day. This is only logical; if editorial teams across nationals and magazines don’t hit pause, and nor do online influencers, why should PR professionals?
In no way should this imply that PRs are required to work from dawn till dusk and beyond; a simple rethinking of traditional processes will allow agencies to take advantage of the constant circulation of news and to deliver impressive results for clients.
Stagger the workload, stretch the clock
Flexible working patterns, which are mandatory by law, are a great way to achieve more effective communications. When used cleverly across a team, it allows agencies to align their work resources in the best possible way. For example, one account team might work on a project that requires outreach in different time zones. Rather than having the entire team stay in the office, the strategic allocation of employees and working hours will allow for a seamless and efficient communication process. Resources are split across the day and none of the team will feel drained and overworked. At the same time, as there is no need for members of different account teams to adjust their hours their time is not being wasted.
This idea, however, comes with a few presuppositions. For one, your employees need to be open to flexibility and have the determination to adjust their schedules to deliver outstanding results. Secondly, in order to retain the team’s goodwill, it is important to highlight that flexihours not only benefit the client but can facilitate their daily lives too. This can be as simple as being able to attend a doctor’s appointment in the morning or to break up your day in different chunks to fit around personal commitments.
These days, staying in touch whilst working different hours and in different locations, is a breeze and apps like Skype or Houseparty make teamwork across borders effortlessly possible. This is immensely beneficial for the PR industry. As convenient as this is, it should be remembered that social contact and actual face-to-face time is valuable and imperative for building a strong and effective team.
How can PR people use flexible working hours to their advantage now? As with most things, planning and balance are key. Plan your resources smartly and according to your needs and make sure that the team doesn’t get isolated for too long.
Are you employing flexible working patterns in your company or have you even figured out a more elaborate way to adjust to the ever-increasing speed of daily life? We’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.