An update from the Pagoda Public Relations team on how we have adapted to working from home during the coronavirus outbreak

Powering through tough times

20th March 2020

In an era defining week, the past few days have been a challenge for everyone. Increased social distancing and restrictions on our daily life are proving necessary for our collective health and safety, but in times of crisis, the show must go on. At Pagoda, we are lucky enough that our line of work can be continued at a distance. While we miss the collective office experience dearly, here is how we have adapted to this week’s radical changes and risen to the challenge before us.

 

Business continuity – hang in there!

In consultancy, where people are the assets, keeping a team motivated and working well together is crucial. In the last week we have all learnt some new skills, not least effective group video conferencing. Talking has never been so important. The senior team also has a significantly better understanding of its insurance arrangements and the logistics of business continuity. Being an agency that can leap into an action in a crisis is more handy than we had realised, as our skills for contingency planning have really come to the fore. But core to it all is that everyone; whether a café, a shop or a PR consultancy, should all keep clear, professional and accessible communication going.

This is also a time when you simply can’t underestimate the value of key suppliers:  our very reliable IT company, for example, does all the hard work behind the scenes to allow us to work exactly as if we are in the office. And using an insurance broker helps you through the minefield of jargon and gets you answers you need quickly and efficiently.

 

Social media – the 3 Rs

It’s been captivating to see how quickly the social media landscape has shifted, with carefully created social media calendars being ditched as content becomes redundant hours after sharing. With this has come a need to review, rewrite and reschedule content to ensure that outdated information isn’t being shared. However, from the ashes of social media calendars has come the opportunity to engage with followers on a human level and to bring moments of happiness and empathy – see National Museums of Scotland’s Twitter (@NtlMuseumsScot) for a great example. We’re not pretending Covid-19 doesn’t exist – instead we’re adapting to ensure that our clients are able to continue communicating with their followers on personal and professional levels.

 

Media brings the world to us, even while self-isolating

Even as media campaigns and plans are being cancelled or delayed, there is still an appetite for interesting news stories across all media. Ready-made features that tell a complete story with images and graphics are manna to hard-pressed page editors looking for colour and balance in their coverage. We’ve noticed an increase in feature stories about historic events or cultural oddities. It is almost a return to the ‘and finally’ heartwarmers of earlier years before social media swept all before it. Well-developed pieces about research or innovation also leaven the news offering in these most serious of times.

 

Public Affairs – monitor, monitor, monitor.

During these uncertain times, keeping informed has become more valuable than ever. The onslaught of news and rumour has been relentless, almost impossible to keep up. This week we started a daily coronavirus update for our clients. It covers the daily press briefings from No.10 and helps translate announcements in Westminster and Holyrood. No matter what sector they work in, we hope our clients find it a useful summary of guidance and latest support. 

 

Mental Health

Social distancing is a necessary measure to fight against the virus, but it also comes with some very real and negative consequences. Reducing our social contact will increase everyone’s feelings of anxiety and isolation. If you are working from home, or facing tough times ahead, please remember we are going through this together. The Pagoda team has been continuing everyone’s favourite lunchtime activity, completing The Times Daily Quiz, over a quick Zoom call. Regular check-ins are keeping us together too. If you need some tips to improving your mental health check out this advice from client, the Royal College of Occupational Therapists.

As we all adapt to the challenges ahead, good communication is crucial. It’s core to our business and we are equal to the task.