Top 3 Reasons Why PR Professionals Should Work From Home and the Office
By Alyson Kuritz
In recent years, the topic of telecommuting has been a divided issue. Some swear that in-office interaction boosts creativity and, in turn, productivity. Others feel that working at home is the optimal environment for best employee performance. A recent survey found that 3.7 million employees (2.8% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time and 80% to 90% of the U.S. workforce says they would like to telework at least part time.
There are pros and cons to both in public relations, which is why I theorize that a combination is the best way to get the best out of those in this demanding industry.
The heart of public relations means sharing clients’ messages, announcements, points of view and thought leadership with the media. Shortly after that press release is distributed or the new proactive pitch goes out, it’s time to make the ever-important calls to media. Easy right? Not for those who work at an agency and don’t have a personal office.
With experience at a few agencies, I have found that a popular office environment involves an open space or “bullpen.” This means constantly vying to find that open conference room or borrowing someone’s office while they’re in a meeting to avoid disturbing colleagues – not always an easy task.
Working from home a few days per week offers PR professionals the freedom to make dozens of calls without distracting anyone and the ability to pitch your client without background noise of what happened on last night’s Game of Thrones.
Improved Home and Work Life Balance
PR pros tend to work long hours. Oftentimes this means traveling to meet with clients in person, facilitating media interviews at trade shows, and managing in-person media tours. All of these can eventually take a toll on personal and family time. By having the option to work from home a few days per week, employees are able to participate in family dinners or enjoy happy hours with friends.
Eliminating a commute, even a couple of days per week, can improve employees’ overall stress levels. Not only does this mean that they don’t have to sit in bumper-to-bumper traffic, but those with significant commutes can also hit the snooze button a few more times.
Enhanced Communication and Tech Knowledge
When not directly in the same space as co-workers, there is dependence on phone, email and, in my case, Gchat and Google Docs to communicate with colleagues. This means clearly explaining yourself, staying on top of deadlines and being cognizant of what your team members might be working on.
In addition, my colleagues and I are always on top of the latest presentation technologies. You name it, we’ve tried it. This has been an advantage for our clients who are not local to the area. Whether presenting the latest PR plans or facilitating a media or analyst interview, the fact that we have experience working remotely has proven to be a true asset in this industry.
The Future of Work from Home in PR
While it may not be suitable for all industries, working from home a few days per week certainly provides unique benefits for public relations agencies, PR pros and clients.
As technology closes the gap (and commute) for a majority of the workforce, I predict more and more PR agencies will warm up to this idea, finding they can save on commuting time and costs, while increasing productivity and satisfaction.