Keep the change
Recently I recommended some of the adaptations to COVID that we should keep. The change we should keep, if you will.
I received a lot of additional helpful suggestions that I’ve synthesized below. Credit by first name, since I didn’t get full permission to quote:
- Pitching sources outside their local market will continue, says Jon. I agree – journalists are going to continue saving costs by not rolling a camera for every interview, now that audiences are conditioned to accept Zoom.
- Teams should standardize collaborative vs individual work. Shannan’s team established quiet hours Monday and Friday with collaborative projects T/W/Th mornings. It doesn’t matter when or which days, it’s the consistency and clear expectations that make this so effective. Solo practitioners are blocking time as well, laying down the law for “no meeting” Fridays.
- “Product drops” are successfully replacing delivering stuff to the newsroom for Adrienne. She works in food/dining so timing is vital. She’s found this surprisingly successful as writers are working from home and available for deliveries.
- For time-strapped, understaffed niche pubs, Julia will continue to repurpose her clients’ owned media and freshen it up, giving the overworked staff a done-for-you option instead of merely pitching an idea.
- Instead of resuming physical press conferences and announcements, Tina will keep leaning heavily on the virtual model. Journalists will definitely prefer this, and clients/bosses hopefully will be persuaded by the cost savings and flexibility.
- Similarly, being intentional about accepting in-person meetings, especially when they involve travel time. Meetings are usually shorter and more productive when virtual. Thanks Amanda, Margot and Marvin.
- Lots of affirmation of my call for a hybrid workweek, some in the office and the rest using a commute-saving WFH approach. And biz owners like Katie weighed in on the cost savings associated with unloading some (but not all, interestingly) office space.
- Keep being human, says Melissa. Checking in with journalists on how they’re doing, being patient with them when stories take longer than expected. Asking for a virtual coffee chat to get to know them better – Tamara has had remarkable success with this.
- Being more adaptable to other people’s changing circumstances, says Devin. And Kristen wants to celebrate “life behind Zoom,” with hopes we keep that part of working culture. I agree – I crack up in a good way when a cat walks back and forth in front of my Zoom-counterpart’s camera.
And, my personal favorite:
As someone who juggles client work, university teaching AND parenting I'm learning every day that just because I could do something, doesn't mean I should. When we get to what's next – whether or not that feels “normal” – I'm going to remind myself to continue to manage my own expectations so I can define my own success.
Go Kate! And thanks to everyone else who responded with recommendations.
It’s clear that we have a huge opportunity coming up to leave the bad behind and “keep the change” that we’ve liked.
This article was originally published on March 10, 2021