The grass really is greener - why life in a virtual PR agency really appealed, by our new hire Katy
When I received a call late last year from an old colleague and friend I really rated telling me about a role going at The PR Network (PRN), I jumped at the opportunity to meet the team for a chat. I was coming to the end of my second maternity leave, and pondering my next move.
I’m an agency stalwart, having worked for many big and mid-size agencies across London and Sydney over a lot of years. Having done the “Big Move” to the countryside 18 months previously, my heart dipped at the thought of doing the serious commute four days a week. With two children to rush home to it was seriously lacking in appeal.
The idea of working remotely obviously had massive appeal, but I was also interested in meeting the team as I have followed the path of PRN closely for many years, seeing them as pioneers in this space. I was lucky enough to meet with both Nicky and George over ten years ago and they seriously impressed me. They were talking about a new way of working - remotely / working from home/ virtually, however you want to describe it, before any progressive agency was even thinking about it let alone living it.
It was at a time when agency management only thought teams could work cohesively if they were sat next to each other, like literally! There would be endless office moves to make sure everyone was sitting next to their teams. Shuffling around, as if by the very act of sitting next to someone is going to make the team perform better. Plus views like this are hardly inspiring!
George and Nicky had the foresight to realise that there is technology to talk and connect and if you are a professional, you can manage your time and output effectively and then this can be done anywhere. Not to mention the serious appeal to clients of creating a network of likeminded, hugely talented and highly skilled individuals in every corner of the world that can be accessed in an instant.
The benefits to both companies and employees are huge and well documented from being cost effective (let me not get started on commute costs!) to the wellbeing benefits. However, the advantages are huge to clients too – from the cost benefits of not having traditional bricks and mortar and other such overheads to the scaleable and fluid nature of such a huge network meaning we can access any kind of skill set needed, and in my short time here I literally mean any. It feels like the tide has really turned on the virtual agency model, there is huge momentum behind it as every brand (not just the tech/entrepreneurial) are starting to understand the benefits, which makes it very exciting. George and Nicky have just launched a new PRCA working group which they are co-chairing to champion the virtual agency 'category', which I look forward to getting involved with over time.
And if that wasn’t enough reason to join, then my view from my window is. Having never sat near a window in all my time in agency, this proves that the grass really is greener from the virtual side.