Experiencing the Office of the Future

June 2020
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I’ve been thinking about my first writing assignment for PRSA. Back in the spring of 1994, my editor, Adam Shell, learned that more and more PR agencies were providing laptops to their employees. Trend alert! 

Here’s an excerpt from my piece titled “Is the Laptop the Office of the Future?”

“This is my office,” says Christopher Dobens, an account executive with New York-based Creamer Dickson Basford Inc., pointing to his laptop computer.

Staffers now can work at home or on the road, keeping in touch via email. Among the things stored away on Dobens’ laptop: billings, expense reports, client release forms and media contacts. 

Will laptops become the latest agency rage? “This is the future,” says Dobens.

A new home office

For the past few months, a trusty MacBook Air has served as my New York office, as I — and fellow PRSA co-workers — have been at home during the COVID-19 outbreak. (In mid-March, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the “New York State on PAUSE” executive order, which includes a directive that all nonessential businesses statewide must close in-office personnel functions.)

Despite a few minor challenges at the outset, from staying organized to managing time, the transition has been smooth. In part, we already have a remote setup with our publications. Our art director, Erika Kendra, lives in Pittsburgh while our commercial printer is in Chicago. For the past several years, we’ve collaborated via email and Dropbox. 

Meanwhile, we’ve been keeping up to date with our colleagues via Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Managing Editor Amy Jacques, currently in South Carolina, and I have created the entire May and June issues from afar. 

We’re also continuing to post more timely pieces on our blog, PRsay. Recent headlines include “5 Tips for Producing Video Content During Social Distancing” and “Coronavirus Has Changed the Media — and Those Changes Are Here to Stay.”

Like so many other people, I’m waiting for a return to normalcy, and wondering what work life will look like in the months ahead. As of now, the PAUSE is in effect for New York City until June 13, and the governor will likely extend that measure once again. 

Thank you to everyone who has checked in this spring. (Love the outdoor setting in the PRSA Inland Empire Chapter Instagram post!) I’ve heard from many of you recently who are managing the challenges of supervising teams, clients and projects while also balancing the demands of homeschooling and elder care. My best wishes to you moving forward. 

A note on upcoming issues

If you’re continuing to work remotely, then you can receive upcoming print issues of Strategies & Tactics at your home address. To do so, please visit your MyPRSA Settings and follow these three simple steps: Under “Contact information,” add your new info for “My Home Address.” Select the two buttons for “Preferred Mail” and “Preferred Billing Address” in this same section. Click submit to update.

Update your profile by June 19 in order to receive the July edition at home. If you have any issues, please email helpdesk@prsa.org.

One other programming note: We are combining our July and August issues this summer. Look for this special double edition in mid-July!

Return to Current Issue Crisis Management | June 2020
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