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Why Bringing More Connection to Remote Work is Good for Your Company- And Brand

As 2022 kicks off, many companies’ “return to workplace” plans have been postponed yet again (including ours!).  The serendipitous conversations that used to take place around the watercooler, in the hallway or the conference room – are few and far between, only to be replaced by even more conversations by Zoom.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. Despite these challenges, making remote work human again is important for your companies, your clients and your brand!

Our team has been remote-first for many years, whether that means working with clients beyond our NYC headquarters, or offering flexible work-from-home options for our team. We’ve always focused on building our ‘human connection,’ regardless of the medium.  Now, admittedly, this was much easier when alternating with in-person meetings was a realistic option, and we’re certainly optimistic about this again in the year ahead. 

Especially when it comes to PR and communications, people are at the heart  of it all– from getting to know an executive’s industry perspective, shining a light on a company’s culture or even brainstorming effectively for the next biggest news story, success or failure. 

As we kick off a New Year, here are some of the ways that we’ve vowed to keep connection front and center in what we do.

Not Letting Technology Stand in the Way of Getting to Know Our Clients

While we can’t meet with our clients in person as frequently as we’d like (just yet), we can make sure the interactions we do have  are as meaningful as possible. Yes, we’re all pressed for time, but we far prefer getting to know the people we’re working with– and letting you get to know us. For this reason, making sure we have a little bit of time to really get to know our clients is a high priority.  For example, sometimes we kick off new clients with Zoom ice breakers like ‘best moment from your weekend.”  (Pets, particularly dogs are another big topic for us to discuss) Usually by the end of that quick 10-15 minutes, everyone has learned something interesting about each other that personalizes them to the group.

Overcommunication & Transparency – Even About the Small Stuff

We know that clients can’t see all the work we’re doing — unless we share it.  We firmly believe in shared Google trackers so all parties can see PR activities, accomplishments and next steps. Walking clients through our strategies and tactics is part of every weekly check-in. We want to take clients on the journey to understand the ‘why’ behind the work we do, and how this sets your company up for success.  We’re right there with you to celebrate the wins (and in fact, nothing delights us more). But we also want to share the ‘how’ as this is the fundamental piece in building ongoing visibility into how and why we’re choosing a series of steps.  And, we realize many clients today enjoy Slack in addition to email, phone and Zoom, to communicate in real time about what’s in the hopper, what’s needed that day, and any “quick asks”— it’s important to be reachable in any channel preferred by clients.

Applying the Same Rules to Ourselves

We apply these same principles to our internal work and collaboration as well. We can’t be a great team for you unless we’re similarly feeling like we’re more than a bunch of zoom boxes dialing in to endless calls. How do we do this?  Every Monday we have a team meeting to discuss client updates, review news trends and brainstorm new ideas. But just like we do with our clients, we start each meeting catching up on our weekends, sharing recommendations for books (we’re big readers!) or Netflix shows, or telling funny stories about our families. We make it a point to build in time to share what’s happening in our personal lives to create even deeper bonds. We have standing check-ins throughout the week and are in constant communication in between. And we take our work offline as much as we can, given the circumstances (and hopefully with much more ahead). In addition to these weekly meetings, we find interesting ways to keep our work fun. From virtual cooking classes to flower arranging classes, we invest in team building activities of all kinds to keep our connections strong.

So What Does This Have to Do With Brand?

A lot actually. People are looking for more purpose and connection in the new remote reality. They care about maintaining a human connection, social impact, and what the brands they patronize stand for.  That means that as you look to build a brand, having a connection-oriented lens will help you share your company’s story in a way that resonates and cuts through the noise.

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