Field Notes – a year behind the screen



What a year it’s been! As I write this I’m sitting in my office, surrounded by boxes and debating putting on gloves as it’s so cold. I should say that the boxes are here because we are on the move and I will leave what has been my office for the last three years – and rather a lot this year – behind!

When it came to my final blog of the year, I wanted to write to you to say thank you. Thank you for subscribing to hear from me and the collective over the second half of the year.

Redefining Communications has been on a huge journey this year. We welcomed Nicola in January and said goodbye in October as she returned in-house. We worked with new clients like Amber Foundation and Thrive, embraced new members in our collective, including mental resilience expert John Humphreys. We launched a new mental resilience workshop, a shiny new home page, and our new diagnostic device, the leadership alignment tool. I’ve also spoken at over 20 online events since the lockdown began in March.

I will be hanging up my CIPR President hat on 31st December as well. Leading the chartered body in 2020 has been an incredible privilege. The team at CIPR, the volunteers, my Board – everyone has shown tremendous commitment to delivering value to members of the only chartered body for people working in PR and communications.

Personally, I finished my book, Influential Internal Communication. It’s now with the publishers and due to be released in April 2021. I launched a podcast with my good friends Advita Patel and Trudy Lewis; Calm Edged Rebels! I also spent more time at home than I ever have in my life and as a result managed to maintain regular fitness training throughout the two lockdowns – unheard of!

As we close our doors for 2020, I wanted to let you know about some things to look out for early in the New Year. I’ll be back to work in January (hopefully from my new office!) and we will be launching the next phase of our research, following on from the Remotely Interested? report from 2019. It’s all about the role of line managers, so if you’d like to take part, let me know and we can send you some more detail.

We’re also planning on making our mental resilience and productivity workshops available in bite-sized versions to purchase for individuals too. They’ll be in video format, with a useful workbook and recommended reading, so you can work through what we cover and continue independent learning afterwards. They are designed to help you without you having to invest a day or half a day; you’ll be able to grab a cuppa and a sarnie and gain advice and tips to put into action.

While the doors will be closed here, I’ll be chatting away on Twitter and Instagram, so feel free to connect there if you haven’t already. If this year has taught me anything it’s the importance and power of community.

As you know, we love gathering insights and delving into the stories they tell, so I’ll leave you with a few of the top stats from this rather unusual year:

  1. We trust nurses the most – the profession most trusted by the public, with 93% saying they’d trust them to tell the truth, and not surprising given this year! (Ipsos Mori)
  2. We’ve really embraced digital – with 50% of GP appointments now being held online (Matt Hancock), 96% of households in Britain now have access to the internet (ONS), and 60% of us will be buying all or most of our Christmas presents online (YouGov).
  3. We enjoyed our food (and drink!) – over 160 million meals were discounted through the Treasury’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme (HMRC). And 28% of us drank more than usual during lockdown (Alcohol Change UK).
  4. We all felt a bit frazzled – with 73% feeling more stressed at work in 2020, 76% struggling to rebound quickly after a stressful situation, and 79% believing their organisation could be doing more to support employees at this time. Two-thirds of people felt mental resilience training would benefit them as a communications professional (Redefining Communications).

On that note, I hope you find time to switch off, relax and be with those close to you this festive season too.

See you (albeit still virtually) in 2021!

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