What makes you angry?

Aren’t other people annoying! Here are eight things people do in PR that they should be fined for.

Offences committed in the office

Fail to think of others

Jenny Mowat, managing director at agency Babel PR, says: “Surreptitiously switching desk chairs, finishing office snacks and leaving the empty packets (such promise, such disappointment!), and not being a team player when it comes to doing the tea round – all of these should be finable offences in the workplace.”

Use their phones in meetings
Mowat is particularly cross with selfish phone addicts: “People who take phones into meetings and use them throughout should be fined a month’s wages, on the spot. This sounds harsh, but unless you’re expecting an emergency call, there’s no need for such behaviour; the meeting should be the most important – and only – focus for that particular timeframe. And it’s impossible to focus when the person sitting next to you is tapping/scrolling away, or continuously glancing at the strobe-lighting of phone notifications.

“The clear message this sends is that you aren’t invested in what’s happening in the room and in that case, why are you even there? Pay up, offenders!”

Play annoying songs
Lydia Oakes, managing director of agency Bluestripe Communications, says: “Just to be clear, I'm a big fan of Christmas and of Kylie who has always been an icon, but this year I will be fining anyone who utters the words ‘Alexa play Kylie’s Christmas Album’ before 1 December! The earlier the misdemeanour the bigger the fine.” 

Fail to stay informed
Paula Elliott, managing director at PR agency C8 Consulting, says: “I think it should be a fineable offence if PROs are unaware of what’s going on in the real world. We operate in the world of news and media and therefore should be following daily news stories and keeping up with current affairs. I believe that to be successful in our profession you need to be a news hound. You need to be curious and skilled to spin national news stories to make them applicable for your clients, digging out the hook. News is 24/7, which is incredibly exciting, but equally means we need to be on it and absorbing information outside of our nine-to-five hours. It’s exciting, which is why it surprises me that so many of my PR peers don’t always appreciate having to jump on a story after hours.” 

Offences committed by clients

Forget to say thank you
John Ozimek, director at PR agency Big Ideas Machine, says: “I'd fine clients: for forgetting that the words ‘thank you’ go a long way. Yes, clients pay for a service, but that doesn't mean a bit of praise isn't appreciated. Pretty much every PRO I know and have worked with will happily go the extra mile to get a good result for their clients, and usually, it's for the love and not the money. So if anyone client-side is reading this, don't forget to tell us when you are happy, rather than just the times you are not!”

Miss deadlines
Lydia Oakes says: ”When it comes to clients, the best ones are those that understand what we do and work with us to get the very best results. I would reserve fines for clients who repeatedly miss journalist deadlines or after we have secured a much requested journalist briefing ask for it to be rescheduled multiple times! Fortunately, these are few and far between so we are yet to fine a client!”

Cancel meetings
Fleur Stamford, comms assistant at agency  TopLine Comms, says: “I feel the biggest struggle when working for an agency is balancing your time between clients. So when a client cancels a meeting or visit at the last moment this can be very frustrating. This is because lot of preparation time has gone in to these meetings, taking your time away from another client.”

Have unrealistic expectations
Paula Elliot says: “When it comes to clients, often they are adamant about being in the nationals and sometimes I want to say: ‘Is that really your audience? Is that really going to drive sales and build the business or is it vanity?’”.

Workers unite!

It is not just in PR that people commit crimes that should be punished, commercial estate agents Savoy Stewart surveyed 1,466 office workers from across the UK to find out which unprofessional actions they would fine their colleagues for and what ‘rate’ they would set the fine to for each misdemeanour.

Key findings

Discussing why people should be fined for selfish actions, Darren Best, managing director of Savoy Stewart, says: “Many of us spend a significant proportion of our time in an office. Unfortunately, it’s not always going be a harmonised environment. With people from all walks of life working under one roof – people will have differing attitudes and ethics towards work. There will undoubtedly be employees who are less committed and disciplined than others. It is important that certain actions and behaviours by them are not tolerated in the workplace. For instance, not turning up at all to a scheduled meeting or being unnecessarily rude is totally unacceptable and does not adhere to the positive ethos any principled company should have. For such actions and behaviour appropriate punishments must be handed to offenders by key decision makers within companies. This could be in the form of giving proportional fines in in relation to the seriousness of a given offence”.

Lucky for me, I don’t share an office with anyone who does anything remotely annoying, but that’s because I have an office to myself (which is also lucky for other people!).