We're all busy but we're not happy: A discussion on the realities of lockdown working

This week we're talking around the idea that during lockdown we all seem to be super busy- but it’s not much fun! There seems to be a relentless nature to working from home that many hadn’t expected. In this podcast, we explore whether this repetitive, somewhat joyless for some, way of working can be avoided and discuss the impact it is having on PR teams.

On the show this week are Jackie Elliott, chairman of Cathcart Consulting, Louie St Claire, CEO of Harvard and Matt Buchanan, head of PR and Influence at Ogilvy UK.

Thank you so much to the podcast sponsors, the PRCA.

If you haven't taken a look yet, here are all the categories for the PRmoment Awards 2021.

Here’s a flavour of what we discussed:

02.00 mins Work-wise, are the panel busy but not particularly happy?

04.00 mins Why it’s been a tough time to be a leader in PR: “It’s much harder leading through technology.”

04.45 mins The practice of public relations thrives on human connections, how much harder is PR when we’re not all together?

06.15 mins “Everything has become an appointment.” There’s an absence of spontaneity.

08.00 mins Why we miss those “happy accidents” of agency life.

09.30 mins What processes and schemes have been most successful to try and minimise the negative effects of working alone?

11.00 mins Why people have found the lockdown “tougher this time around.”

14.00 mins When we return to a normal working environment “we will need to re-look at the boundaries between work and home (life)”.

15.00 mins Who on the panel has never taken part in a Zoom quiz!

18.00 mins Ogilvy found it was employees in their 40s who were keener to return to the office, rather than their younger employees.

20.00 mins The younger generation want work to “revolve around life rather than the other way around...and there have been some benefits of lockdown for that.”

22.00 mins The 8.30 - 6.30, five days a week in the office is over. It’s done. After years of PR agencies (mainly) paying lip service, it changed forever, in one day.

23.00 mins Bearing in mind ongoing social distancing requirements, to what extent do the panel anticipate office capacity issues when the PR world returns to offices? And are office spaces going to need to be re-designed?

25.00 mins Most agencies seem to be planning a 3:2 scheme, 3 days in the office, 2 days at home.

27.00 mins Does the agency leadership still need to be in the office full time?

30.00 mins What are the cultural implications of a long term shift to remote working? “It has to have an impact doesn’t it?”

33.00 mins When onboarding people remotely - how do you avoid the situation where the onboarding process is led by the IT team?!

34.00 mins Why last year Harvard CEO Louie St Clare became, perhaps, the UK's best-paid white van man (for a day!).

35.00 mins “The longer this goes on, the harder it will be to come back and have the same culture you left with.”

36.00 mins Is the panel surprised that the PR world is quite as busy as it is at the moment?

38.00 mins Why clients have become more demanding during lockdown.

40.00 mins Why many PR agency/client partnerships are stronger than they have ever been.

41.00 mins PR has, in the main, had a good lockdown but will it be able to retain its advantage over its marketing peers? “We’ll try but it will be different. When you come out of a war, you embrace the peace.”

42.00 mins Has remote working and the loneliness of it changed the type of work coming out of creative agencies?