Group Gordon’s Miraal Naseer unpacks three key lessons from PR that make remote work more effective.
Starting my first job remotely has been a unique experience, to say the least. As a Marketing and Business Development Associate who joined Group Gordon during the pandemic, I’ve since had to learn the fundamentals of three fields: public relations, marketing, and business development, virtually. Before starting, I didn’t know what to expect. I wondered if a remote start would affect my integration into the firm, whether I’d fall behind others who started in person, or if I wouldn’t develop the necessary skills required for my role.
Nine months later, I can confidently say that the experience has been nothing short of enriching. While not being in the office with my team within arm’s reach has been challenging, I’ve learned how to balance flexibility with discipline. Moreover, working remotely has underscored three critical skills in PR – time management, proactive communication, and teamwork – that I plan to take forward as we return to the office.
In PR, no two days are the same. Things move fast, and clients often come to us with pressing PR needs. It’s important to balance long-term priorities with urgent demands on your time.
Without a colleague to look over my shoulder, I’ve had to find what works for me to prioritize my work, stay on track, and prevent high-stress situations, especially when there’s a time crunch. Using an online tool – Trello has been extremely helpful for my team to track our tasks – or even a simple post-it note helps me to visualize and prioritize my work. By coordinating with my colleagues and ticking off tasks as I complete them, I am able to keep pace with the short- and long-term needs of clients.
The nature of an agency environment is fast-paced, dynamic, and busy. Every client has different needs that are constantly shifting, so you must ensure you, your team, and your client are on the same page and can adapt quickly if something isn’t working or priorities change. Keeping an open line of communication is critical for a successful engagement.
Though it’s important to learn how to work independently, remote work can hinder communication. While initially I was hesitant to ping my colleagues on Slack with my questions, I have realized that when they say “please let me know if you have any questions,” they mean it. Proactive communication builds trust and eliminates the chance of a misunderstanding later on. Scheduling regular check-in calls or video chats to discuss a change in strategy or a piece of feedback has helped me stay aligned and on top of important priorities.
No matter how small a team is, it’s crucial to have a common goal that you’re working towards together. At Group Gordon, we strive to become an extension of our clients’ in-house teams. By being fully integrated into their teams, we can better understand their business goals – not just the communications goals – and build trust – all of which produces better ideas and outcomes.
Remote work has challenged me to be a team player through the screen. Figuring out ways to coordinate our work despite working from different locations has made my team stronger and more efficient. When my team and I are hitting a roadblock, taking a moment to brainstorm together on a call and reinforce our end objectives has been valuable.
While working remotely has been challenging, it has helped me develop skills that I’m not sure in person work would have taught me in the same way. As we plan our return to the office, I’m excited to take my time management, communication, and collaboration skills with me and develop them even further.