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  • Richard Forbes

How Agencies Have Adapted to COVID-19

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

2020 has been plagued by disasters, one right after the next, and no one has felt it more than local businesses. Being a student at the University of Florida and working with small businesses, I’ve seen the impacts that the Coronavirus pandemic has on the community first-hand. As a member of several communications organizations and institutions, I’ve also seen the adjustments this industry has taken to perform at its best. Below are changes I’ve noticed, ones that I especially believe will persist even after the pandemic.


Habits

Learning Personal Space

Every communications professional knows the job doesn’t end when you leave the office. Late nights and early mornings can mean making sudden changes to schedules, fast deadlines on digital content and an increased pressure to know every corner of the Internet. If Work From Home has taught us one thing, it’s to create personal space outside of work. Some ways to do this include:

  • Dedicating time to exercise, learn and enjoy yourself outside of work.

  • Silencing phone notifications after dark

  • Automating social media scanning


Learning Video Etiquette

After spending months exclusively on video calls, you would think people would learn how to communicate in a conference. Still, when in a meeting, interview or workshop, etiquette is essential, though different to in-person conditions. Be sure to:

  • Look directly into your device’s camera, not the person’s image.

  • Dress appropriately. You’ve seen the clips of people not wearing pants, don’t be that person.

  • Test your Internet connection, sound and video settings before the meeting starts. Avoid any reason to be late or to have an awkward first impression.

  • Choose your background. Software, like Zoom and Google, have the ability to change your background using overlay technology. Remain professional, but use this freely.




Learn Your Productivity

Productivity looks different for every person. To maximize your efficiency and comfort, experiment with your workspace to find what best suits your needs. Whether you need background noise, a dedicated workspace or scheduled work time, know what makes you think the best.


Skills

As we head into the Fall semester and a new hiring season, resume building is at the top of every potential hire’s mind. As a recruiter, one of my favorite questions is “What did you do over quarantine?” This gives an insight into the person’s work ethic, lifestyle and interests. As communicators, the possibilities are endless, but here are some skills in high-demand.

  • Adobe Creative Cloud: Photoshop, Premier Pro, Illustrator, etc. are used every day in our line of work. Why not diversify your abilities and learn at least one of these systems?

  • Microsoft Office: as both a writer and a strategic data analytist, I use Word, Excel and PowerPoint on a daily basis.

  • Social Media Platforms: Get to know advertising systems on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube as you will likely need them in the future.

  • Data Analytics: Many social media platforms have ingrained analytics. Use your personal account to experiment with trends. Research definitions and strategies for different metrics to better understand the impacts of campaigns.




If you are a college student, LinkedIn Learning, YouTube and private platforms often have training for these subjects, either free or at a small fee. Take advantage of these discounts and add to your portfolio!


Resources

Staying updated on the industry is essential for carrying a conversation and watching for openings. Various news outlets, professional organizations and private businesses run blogs and news platforms. These resources can offer valuable information on the latest industry advancements and job openings. I recommend joining newsletters and setting alerts to absorb this abundance of content. Some of my personal favorites are:


Remember, things are certainly different than we expected, but the world stops for no one and nothing. As communicators, it is our job to keep the fires burning for our clients. As we continue to socially distance, an online presence is in ever-increasing demand. Pushing yourself to develop your skills and stay updated on the news is essential to grow in the current job market.


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