Starting my first PR job (remotely) during COVID-19
When I began my degree in Public Relations four years ago, I would never have thought that I’d be starting my first job from my spare room, talking through my laptop’s camera. But for most of us, this has become the ‘new normal’ and a situation we must learn to embrace.
I joined the energy team at Aspectus two weeks into its shift to work-from-home mode. Starting a job remotely has been a challenging, yet greatly enriching experience. Here are a few things I have learned along the way.
Communication is key
Great communication within a team – particularly in a situation like this one where everyone is detached from their usual office environment – is essential.
From day one, video communication became key and a centre for all the team’s activities. What seemed at times like overcommunicating, was in fact the best way to make sure we all were working towards the same goals and supporting one another.
Strong internal communication is also what helped us maintain our relationships with our clients, in our efforts to continue business as usual, regardless of the situation.
Technology is your friend
This experience has also revealed the major role that technology plays in our modern lives. If it weren’t for instant messaging, video calls and the internet, we would have never been able to feel so interconnected and productive. And, although being away from your co-workers can be frustrating at times – you can’t just shout a question to your colleagues from over your desk and get an instant reply – technology does help in making it feel like we are all together after all.
Supposing this situation had happened even 10 years ago, it’s easy to consider how much more of a struggle is would have been.
Get to know your team
The team’s incredible support made me feel welcome and included. I really appreciated everyone’s efforts to set some time from their busy schedules aside and take the time to introduce themselves and run me through how the team worked. Although meeting my colleagues through a camera had less appeal than talking to them in person, it proved to be quite an intimate way to meet each other and a very good way to “put a name to a face” before having to work from a distance with people I’d never met.
Overall, I believe this experience has given me the opportunity to learn and develop plenty of skills, even within this short period of time, that I would not have implemented and retained so quickly if I was in an ‘ordinary’ situation. It has required me to adapt, not only my mindset but also my habits and expectations, in order to make working from home a productive and enjoyable experience.
So, although challenging and unusual, this adventure has only made me more resilient and prepared for the future.
Chloe Tucker is an account executive on the energy team at Aspectus. Based in Aberdeen, Chloe studied public relations at Robert Gordon University and is a native French speaker.