For most, 2020 was a time of great change, uncertainty, and learning how to exist in a new norm. This was my experience as well; I became a mum.

In October of the year that ‘should not be named’, I put down pens, put the out of office on, and welcomed our first child, Poppy. What followed was a very different twelve months. The days of back-to-back meetings, creative brainstorms and strategising the next big PR campaign were replaced with watching Hey Duggee, reading Stick Man and understanding how to puree food!

But just as quickly as I switched from role of PR Director, to the role of mother, 2022 finds me in a new role altogether; working mum. Two months back in the job and I feel motivated and inspired to see the changes that have happened across the industry I work in. In three key areas particularly:

Commitment to hybrid working 

Two years after the start of the pandemic, the WFH model looks set to stay. 25% of jobs advertised in December mentioned hybrid or flexible working, and Gartner found 69% of employers expect at least half of their workforce to work from home, even after a full vaccination programme.

Large corporations, such as Zurich Insurance, are leading the way on this. They have embraced the flexible working model since 2019, a decision that has seen more women applying for senior positions. With big businesses supporting a less rigid structure, the industry is breaking down barriers of progress for women - who were previously prohibited from advancing in the traditional/ non-flexible structure on account of (but not limited to) childcare challenges.

I am proud to be part of a business that also took an early stand on hybrid working (long before the pandemic!) and continues to advocate and bang the drum for it, with our very own ‘Thoughtful Working’ initiative. For more on the era of hybrid working and what the transition can mean for aligning communication and narratives in business, I would recommend giving this report from Hotwire a read.

Change for the better + talent acquisition

The technology industry has never been one to rest on its laurels. Fast paced and ever-changing, in my year away, Facebook rebranded to Meta and Jeff Bezos stepped down from Amazon, and up into space. There were many acquisitions in the industry as well, with Microsoft acquiring AI voice recognition Nuance Communications for $19.7bn, and Intuit buying Mailchimp for $12bn.

The merging of businesses brings talent acquisition, which propels positive change and movement forward. It has been exciting to experience this first hand, coming back into Hotwire, after the acquisition of McDonald Butler Associates last year. Experts in account-based marketing, industry marketing and channel and alliances programmes, the merging of MBA with Hotwire has added a host of new friendly faces to the workforce. It is also helping drive growth for our clients with sophisticated integrated comms programmes from ‘reputation to relationship to revenue’ which are discussed in greater detail here.

 Driving DE&I initiatives 

Finally, it has been refreshing to step back into a working world where the message of “people-centred” business is strong Building a diverse community of open-minded individuals, is key to driving positive and lasting change in our industry. In June 2020, Hotwire put in place a three-year DE&I strategy which we recently released our first Progress Report on. We all know that a shift in culture has further to go. But seeing company investment in these initiatives is so encouraging, and so integral to the long-standing improvement of an industry I am happy to be back in and part of.