Times like this clearly demonstrate what a special industry this is -- All of our 110 Member agencies are coming together to share best practices. During our daily HR leader call and weekly one for COOs/CFOs, the mission is to put competition aside and help each other through this crisis.

Taking care of our talent has been the industry’s most important priority, with our Members focusing on both the physical and mental challenges of Shelter in Place.  Physical challenges include providing the equipment employees need to work from home and new tasks and guidelines for jobs that do not typically allow remote work. Beehive Communications encouraged employees to take everything they needed home from the office to make their lives easier.

As schools have closed, the challenges and stress have increased for parents of younger children and they now juggle their full-time jobs with childcare and homeschooling.  Some agencies are asking employees’ older kids to use Zoom to read stories to younger kids. Many agencies are inviting employees to extend their flex time policies to find less stressful ways to get their work done.

Mental health is a challenge for our talent through this period and agencies are offering employees many online resources – from yoga and meditation apps to EAP reminders. Creativity abounds in initiatives like COVID-free Zoom coffee breaks and happy hours. Prosek recently began offering employees “It’s OK” mental health days off and is encouraging their use during this time. 

Having fun with each other and supporting the local community continue to be key facets of agency life even during a quarantine.  M Booth employees enjoyed the first-ever BFH (Boothies From Home) “Best on Top” fashion show as they dressed to fit the window of their video screens. Oklahoma-City-based Saxum gave employees a cash bonus and asked them to use it to “pay it forward” by purchasing gift certificates at local restaurants, generously tipping, etc. 

With our talent taken care of, we can focus on serving our clients -- even as their needs rapidly change. Already heroic stories are surfacing about teams pulling off amazing client work while sheltered in place. Teams are enthusiastically helping their clients mobilize to make a huge difference during COVID-19.  One example is Praytell’s work with client Tito’s Vodka. The company is now producing hand sanitizer after cautioning the public that homemade sanitizer using Tito’s would not adequately kill germs.

Kim Sample focuses on helping the PR Council’s 100-plus member agencies thrive and elevating the PR profession overall. Prior to joining the PRC in August 2018, Kim was the founder/CEO of Emanate, a $35 million, 100+ person international marketing communications agency. During her tenure Emanate was named PR WEEK Agency of the Year and CRAIN’S Best Places to Work in NYC, and the team’s work for clients was recognized with numerous industry awards. Kim also worked at Ketchum, Marina Maher Communications and Golin earlier in her career, and has served Fortune 500 clients across a number of industries, including financial services, travel and hospitality, CPG and consumer electronics.

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