Flexible working – its not all about the money!

We recently published the results of our 2019 salary survey – a survey based on remuneration & benefit information, provided to us anonymously by our PR agency clients. What was interesting, was to see how many of these agencies offer flexible working … 79% of the agencies surveyed now offer employees the opportunity to work from home, or work flexibly, outside of the standard 9-5.

Speaking with a vast number of PR professionals on a daily basis, it has become progressively clear (even more so than a few years ago), that there is much less of an emphasis from those on the job hunt on what salary is offered for a role, and more interest in what benefits around the ‘work life balance’ are available.

We’re finding that it’s not even so much about having the opportunity to ‘work from home’ once per week or on set days, but actually much more about employers having a flexible approach to how, when and where work is completed.

Of course, there are going to be elements of any role where being in the office with your team is necessary. But having the opportunity to start early and leave early one day because you have something planned that evening, or coming in late and then making up that time over the next couple of days, should be something which is very much do-able in the PR industry.

In fairness, many PR agencies do seem to be open to this way of working – as evidenced in the results of the survey. But you could argue that offering 1 day from home per month, isn’t really the same as flexible working.

So often when you think of ‘flexible working’, you think of parents needing flexibility around childcare and it can sometimes feel like a ‘them’ versus ‘us’ situation. But this really shouldn’t be the case… In this day and age, when work can be completed remotely, or outside of the traditional ‘office hours’, there shouldn’t have to be a reason as to why flexibility is needed. Whether it’s about needing to work around childcare commitments, caring for a family member, pursuing a personal interest or project, or simply about wanting a different lifestyle, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s a priority for employees.

It’s therefore clear that PR agencies need to get on board. There are so many positives to be seen, on a business level, by enabling employees to work flexibly – from increased morale and therefore increased productivity, to improved job satisfaction and therefore higher retention of talent. In an industry where there is a real dearth of PR talent at certain levels & in particular sectors, a lot can be said for keeping staff motivated and committed to the agency for which they work.