Daney Parker, Editor, PRmoment.com
When is this all going to end? With the ongoing pandemic, many people in PR are under greater pressure than ever before, so it is important to find successful coping mechanisms. We asked PR chiefs for their top tips for staying tip top.
1. Take a break
Emma Streets, senior PR manager at delivery firm Hermes: “Although we’ve all heard the phrase ‘It’s PR not ER before’, working in comms can undoubtedly be a high-pressure environment, regardless of which sector you work in and there always seem to be peaks and troughs. Remembering to take a desk break, ideally walking outside even just for 15 minutes whilst we’re in this new Teams/Zoom world, always gives some perspective.”
2. Listen to music
Emma Streets: “Listening to music to help you focus in on written tasks has always been important for me, but let’s just say my playlist has changed somewhat over the years and is more chilled than ever before! Try searching for high frequency music – it literally balances your energy and boosts your concentration powers, which is something I’ve discovered and been using over the past couple of months.”
3. Talk nonsense as well as sense
Gemma Moroney, co-founder of communications agency SHOOK: “Keep Zoom open all day and talk nonsense as well as seriousness. For example, this morning, we’ve covered the dangers of ruining a chocolate orange, Yorkshire biscuit tea and that Percy Pig TikTok.”
4. Celebrate successes
Gemma Moroney: “At the end of every day we ask: ‘What did you shake today?’ It means we celebrate every brilliant day and find brilliant in the bad ones. It keeps us on track and holds us to account.”
5. Make time to chat
Jo Threlfall, head of digital PR at agency Embryo Digital: “Have morning coffee and tea catch-ups. Change up the monthly check-ups to by having a weekly one-to-one check-in with your team to find out how their workload is going and provide assistance if they need help. Adjusting to working from home means that senior members of staff don't always get clear visibility, so it is important to allow the team to have a safe space to chat.”
6. Join in national fun events
Jo Threlfall: “We've kick-started our own EBBO (Embryo Digital Bake Off) in relation to the GBBO. We've challenged each team to create a sweet and savoury treat each week to determine who's the best baker in return the winner will receive a Great British Bake Off style apron, wooden spoon and voucher to spend online.”
7. Say thank you
Jo Threlfall: “To boost morale, make sure your work colleagues are appreciated by giving them compliments and positive comments about their work. Along with the verbal and written feedback having a gift or reward for their hard work, motivates staff to continue working harder.”
8. Socialise virtually
Jenny Mowat, managing director at agency Babel PR: “During these tricky last few months since lockdown, we’ve endeavoured to keep the cheerful, social aspect of our job alive. Through the powers of virtual conferencing – because let us be honest, how else has anybody communicated during the pandemic? – we have scheduled a number of virtual socials. From the infamous Covid quizzes, to bingo and ‘virtual happy hours’, we have come up with creative ways to enjoy each other’s company. We have even been entertained (via Zoom, of course), by leading magician and mind reader, Alex Crow.”
9. Make sure no one is isolated
Jenny Mowat: “The pressure of the pandemic has certainly been felt by Babel, but with regular team check-ins and virtual socials, we hope to have alleviated some of the isolation experienced by our employees who are working remotely – their safety and wellbeing are our number-one priority.”
10. Get together (if you can)
Zoe Ward-Waring, managing director at comms agency Sunny Side Up: “There isn’t a silver bullet for this stuff, so we’re planning a number of measures to see us through the next six months. These range from physical get-together’s in our current four-to-one model (four days home, one in the office), because we all get so much from being together in the same space.”
11. Give back
Zoe Ward-Waring: “I am particularly excited that we have just launched the start our first collective team challenge to raise money for a couple of our favourite charities.”
12. Get extra daylight
Zoe Ward-Waring: “In line with World Mental Health day (10 October) we kicked off an initiative to get the team out in the middle of the day and away from the desk for exercise, a nap, spot of meditation or a skip out to grab lunch despite working from home, like you would normally do if we are in the office.”
So, as it is important to get outside and take a break, I’m off!
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