Fears of illness in the workplace, returns to busy commutes on public transport and disrupted working cultures – just some of the concerns causing 40% of leaders in PR and comms to continue with remote working for the foreseeable future, according to results from Carta Communications and The Pulse Business survey A Changed Industry: PR after Lockdown.
The findings of the survey, which polled 43 communications and PR leaders between 14 May and 18 May, likely echo the feelings of many currently working through the COVID-19 pandemic. 38% feared a second wave of colleagues catching the virus if offices are reopened too soon, 12% cited worries about using public transport, 24% shared concern regarding restoring their organisation’s work culture and 21% were worried that bringing teams back too soon with cause stress.
Beyond the two-thirds of respondents planning to stick with home working for the foreseeable, 36% plan a cautious return to the office, with agency respondents suggesting dates between June and September.
‘We shan’t move back to the office until ready, and we’re relaxed about that. It’s more important to protect our staff and continue to grow the business,’ said Sapience Communications director Chris Calland of plans to continue longer with remote working. ‘The main challenge will simply be ensuring we continue to win new clients as we have been doing during lockdown.’
That working from home can actually work out well for employees, results and returns is something Missive co-founder and managing partner Nicola Koronka has found during lockdown: ‘Social and mental health impact aside, our ability to deliver our work is unhindered by home working.’
Technology has helped teams keep in touch with their coworkers and clients during the lockdown, with video conferencing in particular making a marked difference (76% of respondents cited Zoom, Skype, and others as being invaluable, and 51% planning to invest further in related platforms post-lockdown).
50% believe that post-lockdown will find them in a better position to make long-term business improvements and innovations.
‘The challenges facing the industry due to COVID-19 run deeper than any that I’ve witnessed, and the industry must inevitably change as it recovers,’ said Carta Communications founder and director Matt Cartmell.
‘There may, however, be much good to come: fairer standards of remote working; stronger and more sustainable support for staff; and a more holistic engagement with technologies that will enable PR to flourish in unexpected ways.’
Read more from A Changed Industry: PR after Lockdown from Carta Communcations and The Pulse Business here.