When it comes to flexible working, great PR is in the bag

Think PR is all glamour? Think again. At approximately 7.30am I was mid-swim after my Monday guilt-assuaging workout when I noticed two strange black bags floating towards me. Small, black bags. My instant reaction was disgust, why wasn’t the pool cleaned first thing?

Then slowly it dawned on me, they were MY bags.

Or to be more accurate, my dog’s.

I think we all know what I mean by that. Mercifully they were empty and had fallen out of my shorts after being stowed there yesterday. I bring this up not to make you bring anything up, (sorry to any queasy folk) but because I’ve just got back from walking said hound and my phone went mid-walk. It was a client and in my line of work this is often urgent.

I didn’t want to ignore it but I didn’t want to sound distracted either, let along breathless on yet another balmy day in the UK.

So I went for the honest approach; ‘Morning. I’m not going to lie, I’m in the park with the dog but if I can help you right now I will. I’ll just find a bench.’ Now, my client also LOVES dogs and we spent the next 5 minutes or so chatting about his until we got back to the point in hand.

Cue the irony music…(no Alanis, cutlery problems are not ironic) my client wanted to talk about flexible working. They are doing some great things around supporting their employees and he wanted to discuss how we might leverage it. We chatted for a good 15 minutes, came up with a plan and now I am back in the office about to work it up for them.

The dog is asleep on my feet. This didn’t take place in a trendy PR office, replete with ping-pong tables, beer fridges and uni-cycling ‘creatives’. Nor did it take place in their boardroom during the token hour-long meeting most folk seem wedded to.

It came in the park, at no notice, with a dog in one hand, a phone in the other and of course, some small black bags in my pocket. I have a new angle for my client, they have a great opportunity to position themselves as a forward-thinking firm with a great organisational culture and crucially, Blue got his walkies even though I was ‘busy’.

Take a look at how flexible your working culture is. If you embrace it, shout about it. It conveys great messages about your brand. If you don’t, consider whether it is holding you back from attracting clients and top talent.

Take care my flexible friends and happy headlines.