Survey shows huge drop of ‘in-office’ PR professionals

A snap survey of PR professionals workplace habits pre and post COVID showed a 50% drop in those permanently in the office.

The survey, conducted by BakerBaird Communications, ahead of a Chartered Institute of Public Relations Midlands event, showed that Pre-COVID, 66.7% of respondents said they worked full time in an office – post-COVID this dropped to just 9.9%.

The majority of respondents were in-house practitioners from Government, local government, the NHS and universities and were a broad range of age groups – other than early-stage professionals.

When the asked if COVID and the move to hybrid or remote working had made a difference to working practices respondents replied that it had made a difference to team dynamic; there was a 50/50 split on whether or not it had affected creativity but the majority felt it had made no difference to client relationships.

There was an even split on whether or not it has affected formal learning and development, but respondents said it has made a difference to informal learning. 80% said that working with clients and colleagues were either easier or unchanged.

A hybrid networking event and panel chaired by Bron Eames, featured Emma Leach, Director of Marketing and Communications at Nottingham Trent University, Martin Stone from Nottingham agency Tank, Lisa Jolly from Leicestershire agency Liberty PR, and Emma Tee from AF Selection.

Attendees and panellists discussed a wider range of issues including team leadership, flexibility of recruitment, development and continual learning.

BakerBaird’s Stuart Baird, who hosted the event in Nottingham, said: “This really was only a snapshot view but if it gives us a little glimpse, it has implications for those recruiting and leading teams, for how much office space we need to work in, on working patterns, on how people learn organically from others, on creativity.

“The culture of physical presenteeism seems to have been laid to rest for good in a lot of areas as we have harnessed the flexible, hybrid world.

“Post COVID working practices will present opportunities and challenges for recruiters, leaders, managers and individuals – but we are public relations professionals – we’ve always been more adaptable & agile than most.”

  • Look out for the Chartered Institute’s State of the Profession Report 2022.