The future of PR is in storytelling in the digital world: Archana Jain
Jain, Managing Director at PR Pundit, talked about the benefits that agencies are providing to the professionals and how to make the working environment safe amid the pandemic
Any firm’s or agency’s real strength are their employees. Without a proper team, no work will be a success. To take care of employees is the foremost priority for an organization. The Covid-19 crisis has affected many working professionals and with that everyone has been deeply aware of the consequences of it. During these trying times, the agency heads are trying their best possible way to keep their employees safe and sound. In today’s session, e4m had an insightful session with Archana Jain, Managing Director at PR Pundit where she emphasized on employees safety and how to make the working environment safe.
Professionals have now adapted to the hybrid working model. Do you think it will be easy to go back to the same routine as offices are now reopening?
We have been practicing work from home since March 2020. Team members have become habituated with working from the comfort of their homes, but this practice has also resulted in team members experiencing personal loneliness, loss of creativity in the absence of peer proximity and burnouts. While the Pandemic has proven that work can often happen from anywhere, we recognise that our office will have to be a place that is much more than just a place where work gets done; it must transform itself into a HUB where we meet to collaborate, innovate, create, with face-to-face interactions being a valuable part of the equation.
Starting October 1, 2021, we adopted a hybrid work model – a format of working from home for two days a week and three days a week in the office to reach a balance to maximise productivity with team huddles and mitigate the loss of face time. The energy in the office is palpable. We believe that a hybrid model offers a good balance of flexibility to empower our talent and boost productivity.
During the pandemic, the agencies and corporates have recruited many young talents to their organizations. Do you think they are prepared for joining physically?
Young team members need mentors, and need to learn how things work, beyond the realm of virtual engagements. Face-to-face meetings help build bonds. Newcomers are able to integrate into an organisation faster in an office-going culture. While we have found many young new bees eager to experience the office culture and learn from the experts and peers, some have required to be coaxed into stepping back.
How have businesses and firms adapted to the changed norms due to the pandemic?
The pandemic has moved a fair amount of conversation to the video platforms from client meetings, to interviews – not merely print but also TV. Hot desking is the norm at offices. There is a great amount of time, attention and resources deployed for ensuring adherence to Covid-protocols. The safety of our employees is of utmost priority. We have repeatedly circulated the safety protocols to follow while visiting the office. We have reduced the seating capacity and strictly control access to office to adhere to the national regulations on safety. It has also meant extended quarantine for those who fall ill.
Post-Pandemic, what are the employees’ demands? What perks are you able to provide them?
Safety first is at the heart of employee welfare. Many have found confinement an ordeal. We have been monitoring the well-being of our teams and have offered group counselling sessions to detect signs of fragility.
How will you take care of the employees who recovered from Covid-19 disease?
Out of an abundance of caution, to ensure overall protection of each team member, PR Pundit has maintained ‘Work From Home’ from March 2020 until September 30, 2021. The timeline of return to office in a hybrid manner was determined by the almost 100% dual vaccination. After the initial rigorous lockdown, our office premises opened two days in a week for any essential team huddles, product seeding, tech issues, etc. to service to our clients seamlessly.
What do you think are some of the changes that communication industry will undergo in the times to come?
While we have always communicated our client’s proposition through messaging powered by trends and insights to shape brand journeys, we have been writing a new communication playbook balanced between profit, people, and the planet. There is an appreciation that an organisation’s success is no longer being measured by its bottom-line alone but what matters is its triple bottom line: financial, social, and environmental performance! Public Relations is now expected to work with institutions to bring to life changes that will have a deeper impact on its stakeholders and society, demonstrate sensitivity and true purpose — to help solve real societal challenges.
We are also living in times of digital media, therefore real-time monitoring of trends, consumer touchpoints through social listening and predictive analysis is key. Measurement and interpretation of results has become indispensable. We are required to incorporate more data into reporting to provide clear evidence of value.
The future is going to be exciting and an adventure. Social media has democratised content production where everyone can be a broadcaster today, offering a level playing field. The future of PR is in storytelling in the digital world. While there are advantages of being able to broadcast online there is also the other side. Negative news will spread rapidly and can damage the brand overnight. In this scenario reputation management takes on a more demanding and agile role.
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