The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply disrupted all kinds of industries.
However, some of that disruption has had a positive outcome, forcing modernization in some workplaces and giving the spotlight to the communications profession. The pandemic has created opportunities for communicators who are willing to stay curious and take calculated risks, says Stewart Argo, associate director of BIG Partnership.
We spoke with him for our Day in the Life series and here were his takeaways about what it has been like to navigate working from home in the U.K.
1. How much coffee do you drink during a day?
Argo: I don’t drink much coffee, but I get through about four mugs of strong tea.
2. Who is the most important person you talk to every day?
Argo: That’s a tricky question. The only people I literally speak to every day are my wife and kids, and we don’t talk about work much, which is probably a good thing. Other than that, the most important conversations for me are the ones where I learn something new or get a different perspective, both of which can come from clients, colleagues or indeed anyone.
3. How much of your day is spent on Zoom calls?
Argo: I seem to be getting off lightly compared to many others. Some days it can be virtually all day but other times it’s maybe only an hour or two. Having had some time off between jobs during lockdown I’m really conscious of how draining video calls can be. Where possible, I’m trying to do old-fashioned phone calls (or Zoom/Teams calls minus video).
4. What’s a tool you couldn’t live without right now?
Argo: Can I have two answers? A second monitor, which is a huge help during video calls when needing to refer to documents or websites. And my telephone headset, which makes for a better experience at both ends of the call.
5. What’s been the biggest change you’ve faced since the pandemic started?
Argo: I changed jobs in the middle of the pandemic (the deal was done well before lockdown started), so that’s an obvious and unforgettable experience! Other than that, I miss the small, spontaneous conversations that are an easier part of normal office life, providing support to each other or bouncing ideas around.
6. Are you still working from home? If so, what’s been your favorite part of WFH?
Argo: I’m still working from home full-time. That’s been great for seeing more of my family and instead of commuting I can go for a walk with the dog or spend some time in the garden.
7. What’s your No.1 message to clients, co-workers or employees for the rest of 2020?
Argo: In answering this I feel it’s important to acknowledge that the pandemic has been a terrible experience for many and we’re not out of it yet. Beyond that, though, there’s potential for a lot of good to come from this and I’d like us all to be curious and creative about different ways of working or achieving our goals.
8. What makes you hopeful about the future of PR? Any big predictions for 2021?
Argo: In my new job I’ve already seen some exceptional work and virtually met some talented, inspirational people. But there’s also the ambition to do things differently, especially when it comes to insights, analytics, strategy and generally having PR even more aligned with achieving corporate goals. That will be a priority for me, our business and many of our clients, which is something I find an exciting prospect.