Celebrating Remote Work
How to make the most of your remote work model and improve work-life balance in PR
After the recent Labor Day weekend full of barbeques, fireworks and pinstriped parades, Engage PR would like to appreciate the remote work models improving work-life balance across the globe. The pandemic forced business leaders to rethink how we work, revealing that many jobs can be remote without sacrificing productivity. At Engage PR, we transitioned to a fully remote work model with employees scattered across the US. This had an unanticipated benefit where our various time zones enhanced our coverage of tasks, review cycles and submission deadlines. I started working from home after the pandemic, and it’s hard to imagine packing into a crammed subway car or driving through a rush hour commute ever again. My 30 second commute is hard to beat, and as someone who’s always struggled with sleep, the extra restfulness positively impacts my productivity.
Labor Day: a history based on work-life balance
Signed into law by President Cleveland in 1884, Labor Day commemorates workers and the efforts of labor movements that fought for fair pay, time-off, health benefits and more. We may take these things for granted today, but without the efforts of past laborers, we’d likely be working exorbitant weekly hours without health insurance, safety regulations or vacation time. Public Relations is a fast-paced industry by nature, and burnout is common in our on-demand business world. A work-life balance is essential for productivity and high-quality work, especially as quality becomes more important than quantity in PR. If you’re overworked and exhausted, the quality of your PR will only suffer, especially if you wake up dreading your daily commute through gridlock traffic a la “Office Space”. If Peter Gibbons could have worked from home, would he have committed financial fraud through a hastily coded software program? We may never know, but at least I don’t have to worry about the location of my orange stapler.
Enhancing PR productivity with remote work
Contrary to business leaders’ fears, remote workers report enhanced productivity, with studies showing a 30 percent increase in productivity and work engagement. Remote work is becoming non-negotiable in certain industries, with 32 percent saying they would quit their job if they couldn’t work remotely. Whether it means eliminating a daily commute or enabling easier collaboration with co-workers and clients across the globe, remote work has been a net-positive, especially in Public Relations. But remote work comes with added responsibility on leaders to set reasonable expectations and boundaries, internally and externally. In this same survey, 55 percent of workers claim they work more hours remotely. Personally, I rarely work past my log-out time and am not expected to, but some companies are still struggling with this balance.
Five tips to maximize your remote workforce in PR
- Keep communication channels open: With remote communication tools, managers can ensure they are always available to answer their employees’ questions during work hours.
- Implement centralized project management tools: Project management can be chaotic, especially when certain clients prefer different platforms for content review. PR teams can collate and revise their work in one place with a centralized project management platform before posting to a client’s preferred review channel.
- Implement automation through content planning tools: Through content planning tools, PR pros can schedule content ahead of time, so they aren’t scrambling to hit that deadline for a social media post or press release.
- Hold a weekly internal touch base: Internal touch bases are great opportunities to confer with coworkers and make sure your team is on the same page. Engage holds two internal meetings weekly, one early in the week and a second mid-week, to ensure we’re hitting our deliverables.
- Set reasonable expectations, internally and externally: Amid the 24/7/365 news cycle, Public Relations can feel like an industry that never sleeps. Remote work has enabled added flexibility in our professional lives, but it comes with the implication of unfettered communication. To make the most of their remote work models and empower employees with a positive work-life balance, business leaders must maintain boundaries in communications and set reasonable expectations with clients to ensure they’re hitting deliverables without over-promising.
Work-life balance: essential for good PR
The value of a work-life balance for productivity is clear, with studies showing:
- 85% of companies that offer work-life balance programs report an increase in productivity
- 21% of workers with a good work-life balance are more productive
PR leaders must consider the importance of tasks and prioritize appropriately to ensure reasonable client expectations amid the enablement of instant digital communication. In the spirit of Labor Day, business leaders and PR managers can implement these tips to make the most of their remote work models. Above all, business leaders must keep their employees’ work-life balance at top-of-mind to access the productivity benefits of remote work.