On 16th March the éclat team left the office and entered into lockdown. No doubt just like the rest of the world, none of us anticipated just how long we’d be working from our respective home ‘offices’. Nevertheless, working remotely has begun to feel rather normal and the idea of spending five days a week in the office feels like a distant prospect.
So, it got me thinking, what are the perks of being in an office? And what’s more, do we even need one?
Personally, I think the answer is yes. Despite working remotely being very straightforward for someone in the PR and marketing industry, the only essentials really being a phone, laptop and internet connection, there are certain parts of our job that an office serves. To be a good PR person or marketeer, creativity is a must. But the best creativity rarely comes from one person. An office allows for in-person collaboration, group discussions, ideas scribbled on post-it notes and white boards, something that just isn’t the same when meetings are hosted via a 13-inch screen.
But that’s just my opinion! Working from home has, as expected, sparked mixed views across the UK and further afield.
A fall in demand for office space?
In a recent piece in The Telegraph, journalist Rachel Millard mentioned that “Some experts predict office demand could fall as much as 20 percent as part of a potential revolution in working habits” and a number of other pieces have referenced how working from home has suited many. To back this up, a survey from software firm Citrix in the US, showed employees enjoyed a better work-life balance during lockdown.
On the other hand, and more specific to the PR industry, PRWeek recently ran a Twitter poll to get feedback on whether there is an appetite for PR agencies to work from home indefinitely. While 60 percent of respondents said yes, there were arguments for why it might not work, including the question of how younger PR professionals will gain experience and whether the agency culture will be the same.
Learning to communicate differently
The PR and marketing industry is one which relies heavily on networking and face-to-face communication so working from home and social distancing has its challenges. In addition, breaking through the noise of the coronavirus news has called for fresh angles and perspectives and means we’re leaning on our relationships and reputation more than ever to garner coverage for our clients.
However, working remotely has certainly enabled and supported different ways of communicating past the traditional landline and email paths. Social media activity continues to be an essential medium of communication with media, influencers and experts in the PR and cyber security industries, as well as keeping up with the news. Microsoft Teams has become our best friend and lifeline. And Zoom has merged from a professional tool to a personal one, being the platform of choice for hosting virtual parties and gatherings.
Coming together, remotely
Speaking of Zoom parties, the éclat team has done a lot to ensure we keep up morale amongst our peers over the past few months. From quiz nights and murder mysteries, to monthly book club meetings and wine tasting events, despite not being in the office, the team has kept one another going and made lockdown more bearable than many thought it could be.
To sum up, many may say they no longer need an office, but I think I speak for the whole éclat team when I say we’re not ready to give up our rustic barn in the heart of Surrey anytime soon.