Alma doesn’t use timesheets, employ a dress code, or compel employees to be in the office between 9-5. You manage your own time... and your clients.
You would think that nothing has changed since Shakespeare described the seven ages of man 400 years ago. However you would be wrong. Office life, particularly in the “creative” world of PR contrives to repeat the first age, the infant “Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms”
As students progress throughout the education system they are gradually treated more and more like an adult. Even in Primary school there is the responsibility of homework, although most of this falls on the parent. Secondary education introduces increasing levels of individual responsibility and, of course, in further education students are expected to be self-motivated, left to complete tasks with minimal external support and control.
It is when you turn up for your first day in the exciting world of PR that you are returned to the infant stage. You have to be at your desk between 8.30 and 6 (with 45 minutes for lunch if you are lucky) whether you have anything to do or not. You are told what to wear, when you can have holidays (which must be booked using the correct form, 6 months in advance and placed in a nice pile on the relevant desk) and given clear instructions on what not to do, which is in essence using your initiative. For the first year you can then use your hard earned degree to file press cuttings, prepare lists and do the work in which nobody else has any interest. At the end of all that, you can fill in a time sheet which needs you to justify every minute of your existing at the Company’s expense. At Alma, we prefer to use our creativity on our clients, not on time sheets.
With today’s connected world, clients are quite rightly expecting access to their advisers as and when they need it. It doesn’t matter what time of day it is or where you are, a good PR adviser should always be contactable and prepared to give quality advice. However, there is still a hangover from pre-connected days that if you are not in the office, suited and booted, you are not at work.
We have a simple philosophy. If employees need to be chained to a desk to ensure they work or feel like they need to justify their time, they are not the right people to be advising our clients. We are as motivated as the senior management we advise and, like them, work outside the rigid structure of 9 to 5. We focus on the quality of work and advice we provide, not how many hours we spend in the office.
After all if you were mature enough to complete your studies you are mature enough to be treated like an adult at work.
If you aren’t, there are plenty of PR firms that will welcome you back to Kindergarten.