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Carly Smith shows how flexible working pays off in PR

Juggling a family and a career is helped by being able to work flexibly and for Carly Smith, senior account executive at agency BlueSky PR, this means flexible hours and a three-day week. Smith describes a typical day at the agency in St Albans

6.00am: My alarm goes off and I have half an hour of solitude before I wake my son Ronnie at 6:30 and by daughter Bridget at 6.45. I use this time to have a coffee, look at the headlines, and prepare myself for the day ahead. If any press releases have been sent out under embargo I have a cheeky Google for coverage. This morning a release I wrote featured in the Telegraph and City AM – both key targets for our client.

7.30am: After a frantic 45 minutes of getting everyone washed, dressed, signing permission slips and wrestling a one-year-old we make it out of the door. I drop my daughter at breakfast club, my son at nursery, and drive to our relatively calm and tranquil office in St Albans. 

8.30am: I arrive at my desk, turn the computer on and go and grab a coffee. BlueSky offers flexible working and my colleagues arrive any time between 08.00 and 10.00. Before I do anything else I catch up on emails. Since having my son I work three days a week so am out of the office Thursdays and Fridays. I don’t have too many to go through this morning as I logged-on from home on Friday.

9.00am: Monday morning at BlueSky HQ always begins with a team meeting where we run through client work for the week, ideas for journalist pitches, and new press contacts. This is also an opportunity for me to catch up on anything I may have missed. It’s the end of the month so reports will all have to be finalised and sent by Wednesday. 

9.30am: Back at my desk and I call a client in Singapore to chase some comment for approval – if I leave it any later he’ll be home for the evening and I’ll have missed the boat. I log into Hootsuite which I use to manage client’s social media accounts and schedule some tweets for throughout the day. I also log into our CRM system to add the week’s work to my diary. I get a real sense of satisfaction scheduling everything in – and an even greater sense of satisfaction ticking everything off.    

10.30am: I work with my colleague to see if our media monitoring site Gorkana has registered any coverage and then do a Google search for anything it may have missed. Some comment I filed a couple of weeks ago has appeared on the BBC which is great. I let the clients know about any coverage, which is one of my favourite parts of the job. 

11.00am: I put my headphones in to write an article on the recruitment landscape in Hong Kong.

12.30pm: I’m just about to head out for lunch and I receive an email telling me that my client, MSI Group, has been shortlisted for a prestigious industry award – result! After drafting the submission, arranging testimonials and pulling together supporting documentation, it’s fantastic when all the effort is worth it. I pass on the great news and arrange for it to be shared on social media.

1.00pm: Lunch time. I should really bring in something from home, but pop out to get a sandwich. I bring it back to my desk as the shops in St Albans are fantastic and loitering around the city centre is bad for my bank balance. 

2.00pm: Back to work. I check Gorkana and Hootsuite again and then catch up on some admin. I send a client bio to a journalist, arrange a call for later in the week and proof-read some articles for my colleagues. Everything is double and triple checked before it’s sent to clients. 

3.00pm: I settle down to write another article – this time on the communications landscape in Paris. Before I began working with BlueSky I never imagined that a PR role would involve so much writing – I love talking to clients, getting the inside story and then putting it down on paper.

4.30pm: I begin to wind down for the day. I make another coffee, fill in my client timesheets, check I have responded to all emails and update the CRM system. I end the day by making a to-do list for tomorrow.

4.50pm: I leave the office and head down to my car – hopefully the traffic won’t be too bad on the M1. 

6.10pm: After picking up the children I arrive home to cook dinner, help with homework and relax.

Carly Smith is a senior account executive at agency BlueSky PR

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