As I return to work following maternity leave, flexible working and the role that it plays in my life is front of mind, and I once again feel grateful to have the opportunity (and the support) to operate both flexibly and remotely. But it has also got me thinking about what the situation would be if I didn’t have my own business, and whether the industry is really embracing the flexible working benefits that are so desirable to individuals in today’s frantic climate.
PR has never been a discipline that adheres to rules. Nine to five is not a term that I’ve ever been familiar with, nor has being “out of the office” ever meant being unavailable. I’ve run a global press office from a tent in South Korea, driven social media content from China without access to any of the required channels, launched a radio station live from a moving train, and provided the world’s media with A-lister images from many a cafe-cum-office, so surely an industry that operates in this manner supports the notion that we needn’t be in an office to make it happen?
Working flexibly can improve work-life balance, leading to better overall wellbeing for employees and allowing some incredible talents the opportunity to work when a fixed time or location may otherwise prohibit this. And its not just the employee who gets to see the benefits - employers offering flexible working practices have reported reductions in absenteeism, increased productivity and enhanced engagement and loyalty, not to mention attracting a workforce with a wide range of both professional and cultural experience.
PR is all about the business of communicating, so surely the industry should be ahead of the game, delivering communications solutions that work irrespective of location and time? Offering flexible working arrangements really does mean attracting, retaining and developing the best possible team of people. And with more and more individuals citing flexible working as being more important that remuneration, PR agencies who do not embrace such a work ethic will undoubtedly miss out on the very best talent.