The evolving PR “workplace”

Mon, Nov 16, 2009

Uncategorized

CoffeeShopMtgI work for myself. I’m a solo PR/marketing strategist. With that comes a certain amount of freedom (OK, a lot of freedom). But, with that freedom comes responsibility, too. You have to be able to manage your time. Your schedule. And sometimes, that’s not easy. But, it is liberating.

That freedom means I can manage my schedule as I see fit. It also means I can and do work from my home, at the library, at the cabin, and at coffee houses across the Twin Cities.

I do not have a traditional office. Don’t need one, really. Why? Because I think the nature of today’s workplace for PR pros is changing. And not just for solo practitioners, either.

A number of large companies right here in Minnesota are already embracing this change in the way we work. Best Buy and Fairview have gone with the ROWE (results-only work environment) concept. Other organizations like Citrix are supporting this change in different ways like its workshifting campaign.

More specific to PR, I know a few local agencies that support a remote work culture, too.

CaribouCoffeeMake no mistake about it, a substantial shift is occurring. As I work at one of several local Caribous each day, I see it. People holding meeting, doing business in non-traditional work settings.

For example, let me outline my day on Thursday, Nov. 5:

6:03—2-year-old wakes me up. It’s early.

7:40—I leave the house with both kids in tow to drop them off at daycare 10 miles from our home.

8:02—Arrive at daycare. Drop kids off.

8:08—Plug in my laptop and start work at a Caribou Coffee within 2 miles of our daycare to avoid morning rush commute.

9:57—Unplug and head home to work, successfully avoiding sitting in traffic and wasting 30-plus minutes of my time.

11:06: Chat with a friend and colleague about new client work and other topics via Skype (free tool)

11:49: I eat lunch on my couch. While working.

1:14: I leave for another Caribou up in Maple Grove (north of the city) to again avoid rush hour for a 5:30 client meeting.

1:46: Plug in at my second Caribou for the day. It’s packed.

4:45: Unplug and head to Kinkos to make a few copies.

5:29: Arrive at client site for hour-long meeting.

8:00: Head home for the evening. Hang out with my family for a couple hours.

9:57: Hop back online to read and respond to a few emails and prepare for the next day.

Strangely enough, that kind of schedule hasn’t been all that unusual for me the last few weeks. And, if you noticed, I spent a grand total of about 2 hours in my home office.

The workplace, as we know it, may look completely different in just a few short years. What kind of impact does that have for us, as PR professionals? How will it affect our jobs, our work styles and our lives? I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

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