Some of the Madden team’s remote working stations.
There is no doubt this is a time of great unknown and the upheaval to each of our lives is unlike anything we have experienced before. As a late twenties PR practitioner, if someone had told me this time last year, I would essentially be ‘locked down’ in a one bedroom apartment sharing a workspace with my husband and only allowed to go outside for ‘essential activities,’ due to a highly contagious respiratory virus that is infecting the community, I would have laughed. Hard.
However, this is the new reality. Uncertainty, fear, anxiety for one’s own health, financial circumstance and our families. Like many, I’ve had friends burgeoning in their careers, moving further from a Uni graduate into a professional, who have abruptly had the rug pulled from underneath them. Weddings postponed, holidays on hold and Easter cancelled!
The rhetoric continues that we need to flatten the curve and things are looking to be turning away from a crisis and into a sense of stability. A welcome relief to the entire community, however this has given a moment of pause to reflect on what I’ve learnt over the past four weeks in ‘lockdown’ that hopefully can be carried over as we reach Scomo’s ‘other side.’
Kindness is always a good idea, this notion has been doing the rounds A LOT over socials. We cannot underestimate the importance of demonstrating kindness to yourself, your team and your clients. No one is immune to this crisis. Let’s show compassion whenever possible to keep us all grounded and making a positive difference.
Listen to hear, not just respond
Generally speaking, we PRs are planners and love a sense of control over a situation, especially as Account Managers. We identify the objectives, develop the strategy in which to achieve them, execute and then reflect on the key learnings. Rinse and repeat. We analyse, pivot and communicate to satisfy the communication needs of clients and we do this well. However, this is a situation that requires greater fluidity, we need to be nimble, adapt and innovate both as practitioners and as part of a business. Therefore, sometimes just checking in on clients and listening to what is keeping them up at night is just as helpful as coming to them with proactive opportunities. Both are important, but I’ve found our connections with clients have become more enriched over this time as we are all craving support and an intrinsic understanding of pressure points.
Adapt and experiment
Now is the perfect time to take stock internally and reassess the way you work. Join a webinar, work on your creative writing, adapt how you write your daily to-do list to increase productivity. Everyone’s commute is now from their bedroom to their study (or in my case bedroom to my dining room table) so use the extra two hours in your day to reflect on how you can refine your practice.
Find some humour
Laugh often and laugh loud! Technical difficulties with Zoom, no problems. Your cat jumps up on you during a client video call, too cute. Your boyfriend forgets to wear pants and realises you are conducting a video conference the moment he walks behind you…best check that with HR. As we check in from our various remote locations, it’s been encouraging to share a smile and giggle with our wonderful clients to remember that we are an extension of their internal team and are all in this together.
This is the greatest reminder we are all human, that we work to live and that sometimes things are bigger than all of us and cannot be controlled. This crisis has enabled us all to demonstrate compassion while maintaining professionalism. Hopefully this will be carried over to the ‘other side’ as we look to recovery and healing, I will certainly never forget these months in all their glorious dysfunction.