TUESDAY 2 JUN 2020 3:23 PM


A report published by PR consultancy Carta Communications revealed that two-fifths of PR and communications leaders plan to stick with homeworking for the foreseeable future, amid fears of illness in the workplace due to Covid-19.

The study also reports that a further 36% are planning a cautious approach when returning to the workplace, with agency respondents suggesting dates between June and September. The in-house side is even more sceptical, with some not expecting a return until 2021. Only a mere 21% wishes to return to the office as soon as possible.

“For the foreseeable future, getting back to face-to-face working is not the priority; ensuring we are able to continue to deliver work for clients, and do so at a high creative quality in a more flexible manner is. Keeping talent safe, healthy and in constant collaborative contact is essential to this, and when executed well, a virtual office can be just as effective as a physical one,” says Blair Metcalfe, CEO and creative lead at the Agency Partnership.

Nick Woods, partner at Sunny Side Up, agrees. “We've shown we don't ‘need’ the office in quite the same way as before. More disruption comes from having team members sick than having us all working remotely.”

Other concerns for PR leaders highlighted by the report include a decline revenue, with clients freezing budgets and brands putting PR plans on hold, and the challenge of restoring their organisation’s working culture after a period of such upheaval. While 38% of respondents fear a second wave of colleagues succumbing to the virus if they return to the office, almost a fifth are concerned about the psychological wellbeing of the staff in delaying a return.

Despite a feeling of general apprehension, half of the respondents believe this experience has changed business for the better, in that they will be in a better position to innovate and make long-term business improvements.