One of Henry Ford’s memorable phrases says: «Coming together is a beginning. Continuing together is progress. Working together is success.» There is no doubt that Ford knew a lot about adding up and making a team. And luckily for him, he never had to confine himself and watch his colleagues through a screen, without being able to give them a big handshake, a hug or a few of those tension-releasing laughs.
Today, many sectors are learning and reinventing themselves from the teleworking that the pandemic and this new phase in which we live have brought (although some call it a “new normality” we should not let it be the norm). However, communication and PR workers are living this moment in a perhaps more complicated way, as it is a sector in which people are always interacting: we solve together, we negotiate together and, of course, we take advantage of synergies and reach consensus. This is how it works.
Doing our work through a screen in a videoconference is not completely natural, in a sector where professionals are almost always available (an event in the evening or a congress in another city, for example). We feel unsettled and this is evident in…
- The feeling of isolation. In our work everything goes very fast and sometimes problems are solved with the incredible skill of improvisation (with common sense, of course).
- The training of young people. Ours is a profession that is transmitted not only by university studies, but also by experience. Many young professionals are not living this situation, which helps to develop their own talent. This reality may in the future create professionals with less experience and less quality and responsiveness
- Personal balance. Those of us in this sector know about overtime and the challenge involved in balancing and reconciling our personal and professional lives. Many times, at work peaks, we rely on our colleagues and not having formal and informal meetings, in the corridors is almost unthinkable. We miss the sense of humour and, of course, the fraternity, and the good ideas that are born in front of the coffee machine.
Now, the challenge for leaders is how to manage their teams, motivate and drive them. How to communicate in a healthy way. How to replace the warm (and so human!) details of the day to day life and not let them get cold when passing through a computer screen, a telephone…