In today’s climate, I am more grateful than ever to be in an industry that allows a great deal of flexibility with working from home — and of course, taking my courses online which luckily required no transition being an IMC student. I have had the opportunity to take part in a number of remote opportunities with remote internships and remote teamwork through the National Committee for Public Relations Student Society of America and I am well aware that it is not always a flawless process.
For those transitioning to remote work and burning through Spotify playlists, here is a breakdown of what your first work-from-home conference call might sound like:
When Your Office First Goes Remote: Home - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zero
It’s the best of days for some and the worst of days for others. You begin to charge up your laptop, figure out what PJ shirt is the most business casual and actually turn on that coffee maker that’s been sitting on your kitchen counter untouched for months.
Planning Your First Remote Meeting: Come Together - The Beatles
Not only are you taking emails from the comfort of your couch, but it finally reaches the time where your weekly staff meeting needs to be organized, without any face-to-face interaction. Google Invites are being sent, different video-call services are being explored and lots of headaches begin to form.
When It’s Finally Scheduled: I’ll Be There - The Jackson 5
A platform has finally been selected, and hopefully tested. You’ve downloaded the appropriate software, you think, and invites have been sent out. You accept the invite, prop your slippered feet up on your couch and answer emails (maybe while catching up on Netflix, we won’t tell your boss).
The Time Arrives for the Meeting: Hello - Adele
It’s time to log on and get down to business. For most, this will be a bit of a mess. There will be many confused “hello-’s” and a lot of “can you hear me-’s.” Someone will inevitably be late because they couldn’t figure out how to log in, or they were secretly taking a midday nap and overslept. Someone’s Adobe Flash will be out of date and someone will claim their camera doesn’t work when they really just don’t want to be seen.
When Disruption Strikes: Sweet Disaster - DREAMERS
Working at home means that you are reliant on the atmosphere of the surroundings of yourself and your employees to mimic the isolated environment of your typical office setting. We all know this is virtually unachievable and disaster and disruption will strike. Your coworkers wifi will randomly drop, buffering will take place and they may even be dropped from the call. Someone's dog will decide it NEEDS to go outside and will bark until action is taken. Children will decide they want to fight in the same room as their working parent for the duration of the meeting - and this is only a description of the first ten minutes of the call.
When Your Boss Gets Fed-Up and Reschedules: Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out - Mayer Hawthorne
You gave it your best shot, you logged in on time, muted your microphone when instructed and tried to look like you weren’t surfing Facebook the entire time. Eventually, something will tip the iceberg and your boss will decide it’s better off to wait until the conference platform bugs have been worked out.
Emily Zekonis ( @EmilyZekonis) is a graduate student studying Integrated Marketing Communications with an Area of Emphasis in Management. She is from the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania and holds a B.S.J. in Strategic Communications with an area of emphasis in Public Relations from West Virginia University. Follow along with her graduate adventures on the Marketing Communications Today Blog.