During these disorienting times of COVID-19, the year 2020 has been inarguably weird- scary-unpredictable-precarious. While we are stuck with dealing with this tornado, some of us are still fortunate to hold onto their jobs not to mention the every now and then need to be pushed along.
It’s hard to pass over without giving due attention to the fact that people have lost their jobs since COVID-19 like crazy. It also should not be taken to ignore that some of us are sitting at home and banging on the keyboards of their laptops while the exhausted doctors, nurses, first responders, etc. are on the frontline clashing with this virus every day. Delivery personals, grocery store stockers, cashiers, and waste collectors are amongst the many who are showing up to work and putting themselves at risk because it’s quite hard to choose between continuing to work or to join the hundreds into the ‘Unemployed Club’.
Most of us know the above-said things but we can’t afford to fail to focus on these points. During all these wooziness of these past months, enough has happened to pack years. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, at this point it’s hard to even call them days at all. And those of us who are in the PR world still need to work, while watching their neighbors stocking up kilos of rice and wheat flour from grocery stores and binge-watching Ramayana at full volume, reminding us that things can indeed turn out to be more deranged.
Working from home has become the new normal; in-person meetings are being substituted with Zoom calls and we also do not mind adjusting the period of working outside the office but what counts more at this stage is how we as a PR firm can learn to make the best out of it. Those of us in PR and communication have made peace with the fact that the current media cycle is to be filled with coronavirus stories. Even our emails to journalists have changed to ‘Hope you are keeping safe’ or ‘Hope you are well’ and we are mindful of the sensitivities that need to be drawn in. Pitching irrelevant, beside the point, self-serving news will only backfire at this point in time.
Covid-19 is a global crisis and no one was primed for a pandemic of this degree. Most of us have felt this in our business and most of us shifted our goals and budgets to strategically meet the challenges. In PR it feels like a professional crisis if your client isn’t ready to spin or readily chooses to postpone events or put the work altogether on a halt calling it- BREAK. Well, it is our job as a PR personnel to make it happen so we take it upon ourselves for this to mean a lesson into the Crisis Planning.
Since we are talking about blurring lines with time, it is important to mention how much time, inventiveness, and ingenuity took to create the perfect home office while hoping increased productivity came along with it in a package deal.
Earlier it was easy to see our co-workers every day and burst into someone’s office for chitchat and to talk about media strategy or probably a new client opportunity but now PR experts are more involved in scheduling video chats or foregoing spontaneous talks. Things we used to take for granted have now become imperative. Companies like ours have been doing great with checking in with employees during this taxing and confusing period to make sure each one of us feels supported. Already, the new working experience has made agencies and the clients realize how priceless employee engagement and enthusiasm are. It is likable that this insight is to continue after we return to our alleged “NORMAL.” We’ll be planning more happy hours, celebrating birthdays and victories both personal and team ones and no wonder would love to pour a bit extra of everything to show how much we value and missed our co-workers while everyone was inaccessible.
Presently we swallow improbability in living and working and it's, without doubt, uncomfortable, but this, too, is a prospect to appreciate what we formerly took for granted, and to learn how to almost live with anything. This “new normal” will gradually pass into another, and definitely to a better newer version, where our old ways of working will have changed, yet again. Until then, don’t forget to ping your favorite co-worker on WhatsApp texting and schedule a meeting on zoom for no reason to welcome this new normal together.