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Weekly Chat: Internal Communications in the Age of the Coronavirus

One of our most important audiences are our employees and internal stakeholders. This week’s chat explores how we’re handling internal communications. Joining us are internal communications and HR pros from a wide variety of businesses including MedStar, Sodexo, CEIWC, MPT, and Goucher.

Join us for a conversation!

About PRSA Maryland Weekly Chat: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the ways it is affecting our professional and personal lives, we are holding weekly virtual meetings to gather and address a variety of topics.

Missed past chats? Click below for recording and recap:

Weekly Chat: The new COVID challenge >> too many zoom meetings! Let’s hack the virtual meeting!

Join us for a fun cap to the week where we’ll hack the virtual meeting. We’ll explore how to make our virtual team and client meetings shift from dreaded to welcomed (well at least more welcomed). Peggy Hoffman, PRSA Maryland administrator, will share video meeting tips she’s figured out and gather your tips. We’ll troubleshoot some of pain points with virtual meetings. And we’ll have fun. Bonus – bring a meeting tip, share it and in fun “tip-off” we’ll find a winner who gets bragging rights and maybe a gift (you have to join in the fun to find out). Join us for a 45-min break in the dreaded virtual world.

About PRSA Maryland Weekly Chat: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the ways it is affecting our professional and personal lives, we are holding weekly virtual meetings to gather and address a variety of topics.

Missed past chats? Click below for recording and recap:

How we’re living, working, and coping during the COVID-19 crisis

Photo by Kyle Hanson on Unsplash

 

We wrapped up the week with a dose of optimism and ideas on how to find a balance. Joining us in the chat were three PR pros who are sitting in the middle (you know that space where you have to delegate down and up?) – Lauren Walbert (Sandy Hillman PR), Emily McDermott (Van Eperen), and Phill Yerby (Weber Shandwick).

Each offered a glimpse into their challenges and successes on finding that balance. Note: we don’t have a recording of this chat but below are some of the top tips offered.  

Challenge: Not being in the office and connecting with your team on a daily basis.

Tip: *Be your #1 advocate! Put a hard stop to the day for some self-care.

  • Hold weekly Zoom Happy Hours to chat about non-work issues.
  • Hold regular team meetings to exchange ideas.
  • Hold one-on-one meetings with staff (up and down) to discuss work/issues etc.
  • Above all … be flexible!

Challenge: Experiencing more anxiety issues caused by increased noise, limited spacing, etc.

Tip: *Find a calming app to help deal with the stressors. Check out the Happiness Lab podcast series to help destress.

  • Have open conversations with other people in the house.
  • Share with your team how you are feeling, i.e., you’re exhausted over trying to balance and deal with stress – BE HONEST, BE VALUABLE
  • Put your computer and work stuff away at the end of the day.
  • Cut out too much news and transition to more helpful podcast vs news

Challenge: Trying to get work down vs. giving family attention (including being teacher to your children) when needed.

Tip: *Know that you can only take in so much info a day so limit your intake to avoid overwhelming yourself.

  • Establish your own space.
  • Get into a routine by setting limits on your time.
  • Take breaks during the day

Challenge: Feeling energized especially if you’re losing or pausing clients.

  • Find something meaningful to do, such as starting a new hobby or volunteering for a local cause.
  • Get out as much as possible.
  • Interact with others (at a safe distance of course!).
  • Support local businesses as much as possible.

Challenge: Taking vacation or days off when this is a demanding time for communicators

Tip: Find time to turn it off! Do have to have selfcare; talk to other people … take a break!

  • Ask for a mental health day
  • Shut down with out of office
  • Driveway drive-bys
  • Avoid workspace as much as possible
  • Take advantage of Employee Assistance Programs if your employee provides
  • If you’re self-employed, take vacation with no check-ins.

Look for the positive – create your own environment (i.e., put on your own music). Get into your own space!

So what’s to like about this new work environment? How about the flexibility?

  • Flexible work hours (but stay consistent!)
  • More time to exercise, i.e., online exercise classes
  • Savings on gas, childcare, etc.
  • Less chitchat while trying to get out of work so workday ends when it ends.

The question in the end is How will this time change the way we work?

 

Have tips you’d like to share? Send to info@prsamd.org.

Missed the last few weekly chats? Here you go …

 

We hope this Zoom meeting finds you well!

How we’re living, working, and coping during the COVID-19 crisis.

 

Let’s wrap the week with a dose of optimism and ideas to find a balance. Priming our chat will be three PR pros who are sitting in the middle (you know that space where you have to delegate down and up?) and looking for balance. Add the dimensions of kids or spouses or pets and maybe a little too much videoconferencing? Two are playing substitute teacher. One is an introvert (with no place to go in a small place), another an extrovert. One much prefers the office.

Join Lauren Walbert (Sandy Hillman PR), Emily McDermott (Van Eperen), and Phill Yerby (Weber Shandwick) for a conversation – with you, so come ready to talk! We’re all looking for positive ideas and resources.

The chat will be open with Lauren, Emily and Phill kicking off to get us all talking. Join with or without video.

Dress quarantine casual  ** Pets encouraged ** Heck, kids in the background (or on the lap) are cool **

How can your organization survive this pandemic? Weekly Chat Recap

On Monday, April 13, we focused on finances with John Miller, director, Strategic Advisory and Valuation practice, Chesapeake Corporate Advisors (CCA) and Todd Marks CEO & Founder of Mindgrub. John and Todd talked about the CARES Act as well as offered advice on how our firms can not only survive but thrive during this pandemic.

Listen to the conversation below. And see the recap for some of the highlights.

RECAP

Resources:

Payroll Protection Program: covers companies with 500 employers or less that have been impacted by COVID-19

  • Offers eight weeks of payroll – 2x times monthly payroll
  • Can be used for mortgage/other bills; however, 75% must go to payroll
  • The percentage of loan forgiveness depends on # of employees retained
  • Loan portions that are unforgivable can be paid over 2 years at 1% interested; deferred until 2021

Families First Coronavirus Response Act:

  • Requires employers to give up to 12 weeks paid sick leave (provides two-thirds to full pay depending on the circumstances). Sick/vac can be used for more. Advice – Please try to work with employer to adjust schedule to keep working.
  • Relaxes unemployment insurance, increased payout amount.
  • Payroll Tax Relief: For employers that are not eligible for PPR. Offers deferred payment on employers’ tax for payroll. Also available is the tax credit for retaining your employees. Check with your accountant!

Handling cash flow, vendors payments, etc.:

“Double down on marketing. Double down on business development. You need to bring in same amount of work you had before to feed everything else downstream.”

  • Be conservative with cash but also fight. Be creative. Be adaptable. Think forward.
  • Ask yourself how can you serve your current clients, past clients, and possible gain new clients? Reach out and ask … how can you help with their employee’s uncertainty? How can you help with Covid-19 media or stakeholder messaging?
  • Reach out to your customers re: payments. Do they need to pause the contracts? What can you do to help them? Not a time for collections but rather a time for open conversations.
  • Reach out to your landlord, creditors, vendors regarding your circumstances.
  • Make a plan for what will happen on the other side, i.e., financial forecast, daily cash flow.
  • Add a line item to your expense statements for any expenses related to Covid-19.

Final thoughts: Take this time to find the opportunities you may have not thought of before. Rethink your business. Ask how can you maintain your culture virtually? How will we gather differently after this over? How will our model change?

Time will tell.

The chat was only the beginning of a long conversation that we’ll be having for weeks and months to come. To do our part, we’ll be holding weekly virtual meetings to gather and address a variety of topics. Be sure to stay up to date at www.prsamd.org.

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors

Thank You to Our Chapter Sponsors