It is safe to say that over the past year and a half, the world has changed significantly. We have seen shifts in the economy, jobs have had to adapt to an online/hybrid model, social lives were put on hold, and we had to make tough decisions to protect the health and wellbeing of our loved ones. However, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel, and society is beginning to reemerge. While some things are starting to return to normal, there will likely be many permanent changes and adaptations in job industries across the world.

Here at Next Step Communications, we have been adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic as best we can, and adapting to the challenges that have been thrown our way. It’s likely the PR industry will never go back to how it was pre-pandemic, and at NSC we are embracing the unexpected and beneficial changes as we move forward in our lives and “new normal.”

The Case for the Hybrid Model 

After over a year of working from home, companies are beginning to adopt hybrid work models – which embrace both in-person and virtual work. One benefit of working in public relations is that it lends itself to working on the go and from any location. At NSC, work from home Fridays were already part of our company culture, so the transition to working from home during the pandemic didn’t require any major technology updates or drastic changes to how we do our job. 

Starting this fall we have decided to work under a hybrid work model and are excited to host employees both in office and virtually! The team at NSC is small and values the collaboration and camaraderie that working in-person brings, as well as the flexibility and balance that remote work offers. This approach will allow us to continue to work efficiently, while ensuring that our employees maintain a work-life balance, and stay healthy. 

We never expected to be put into a situation like this and while our company has thrived in a virtual environment, we can’t wait to have some familiar faces back in the office! 

Embracing a Virtual Work Day

There are many different tools to help keep PR pros on top of their game! We recently shared our favorite PR tools that make our work easier – we would be lost without Sprout Social, MuckRack, and Canva! In addition to these PR tools, everyone is looking for ways to make virtual communication, collaboration and efficiency easier. 

Here at Next Step Communications, we rely heavily on the Google-Suite programs to chat, video call and collaborate on documents both internally and externally. This has allowed us to remain in constant communication – whether over chat or video – to discuss our work, as well as a way to catch up on our personal lives and hold monthly socials. Trello has also been a lifesaver for team collaboration and project management. 

Like many other companies worldwide, Zoom is a tool that we will continue to see being used to communicate face to face when in-person meetings aren’t an option. Video chat has opened a whole new world to both internal and external communication, whether that be from employee to employee, company to client, or journalist to interviewee. 

Going the Extra Mile 

One last, yet very significant change that will continue to stick around since COVID-19, is the need to go the extra mile to establish relationships with those you work with. Whether it is internal employees, clients, or the customers and patients we speak to, establishing genuine and trusted relationships over Zoom can be a challenge. Focusing on small things such as looking engaged, asking questions, giving undivided attention and treating Zoom calls as if they were in-person meetings are just a few ways that PR professionals can continue to solidify relationships as hybrid work and virtual meetings are here to stay. It’s also important to take the time to let those you are working with know you value them and are grateful for the relationship you have with them. What might seem like a small gesture can go a long way to establishing a meaningful connection.

We have all been kept on our toes these last 18 months and forced to adapt to the many changes that were thrown our way. Despite all this, Next Step Communications is excited about the future! We take pride in the work we do every day and embrace the new changes our industry is facing.