Communication Overload? PR and the ‘always on’ culture

By Juliet Cameron, COO, Launch,

In the days before smartphones the concept of work/life balance was straight forward.  You were either at work, working.  Or you were out and about at an event, socialising with clients but in effect still working.  The rest of your time was leisure. Simple.

For me, it all changed with the Blackberry.  I loved my Blackberry.  It felt liberating to keep in touch with clients, journos, my team whilst being out and about.  I was always available, always in control and always on it.  Great!

Ten years later and this feeling of liberation has gone and the ‘always on’ mantra is the norm in our client service world.  The expectation and the lines of work time and leisure time are completely blurred.

Smart phones, working with international clients, entrepreneurs who have lightbulb moments (any time of the day or night) and monitoring and scanning social feeds have also put everyone on call 24/7.  That excludes hugely necessary crisis work (accidents, explosions, attacks and outages are beyond our control) but it all makes switching off difficult.

It’s increasingly becoming clear that there is a price to pay for this always on lifestyle and for many the price paid by your mental health and impact on family and friendships isn’t worth it.

This month marked World Mental Health day and things are changing with employers far more focussed on helping teams achieve some work / life balance.

At Launch we talk a lot about ‘head space’.  This is about making sure Launchers have head space for clients (we limit the number of accounts they work on), for creativity, we give our teams time and funding to get out of the office and actively seek inspiration, as well as some pure unadulterated fun with colleagues.

But this also means head space for them personally.  Whether that’s our no email policy between 7pm and 7am (unless we’re working on a crisis for a client), flexi-hours, an office that closes at 9pm weekdays and on the weekend – truly switching off from work is not a nice to have or a perk.  It’s essential for wellbeing.

What does that mean?

A fresher, focused and more creative team.

Photo by ROBIN WORRALL on Unsplash

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