Jordan Laing has provided the below blog on his experience of working from home during the COVID-19 situation. Jordan is the club’s Media and PR Manager.
Virtual coffees, regular Zoom conference calls on a daily basis and continuous planning documents and sessions have become the norm for Sydney Swans staff working from home.
For the past week, the majority of Swans staff have been working remotely with the office restricted to a select few staff and the football department, who are working in small groups to prepare the players for the season ahead.
These are necessary measures to ensure the health and safety of the playing group so they can take to the footy field each week.
There’s clearly a lot of uncertainty around the situation and it’s hard to know where we might be at any point in the next six months or beyond. The situation is so rapidly evolving that it changes from one hour to the next.
But the show must go on.
What does working from home at a football club actually look like when you’ve had daily interactions with players, coaches, colleagues, supporters and, in my case, the media, on a daily basis over a period of seven consecutive years?
Despite juggling more childcare drop-offs than usual and a four-legged friend constantly moving about at my feet, much of my focus has remained the same – and that is to promote our club, and its people, through our various media platforms.
There was a holding pattern for much of the week as the government and AFL worked towards extremely difficult – and unprecedented – decisions.
We’re working hard through these challenging times to keep our members and supporters connected to the team. Yes, our access to players isn’t what we’re used to at the moment, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still provide access to players. The club’s website, app and social media are leading the way in this space – and we will only become more adept at operating in these new circumstances.
We’re also trying new ways to engage with our members and supporters through the media, who remain an integral stakeholder.
For the first time in our club’s history, we held a virtual press conference with coach John Longmire on Monday.
Media have become accustomed to John’s usual Monday afternoon press conference outside Swans reception on Driver Avenue, loud delivery trucks racing past, tourists having their photos taken in front of the Paul Kelly statue and walkers or joggers carrying on with their blaring conversations like they’re in their own world on their way to Centennial Park.
Instead, John found himself in a small room inside the club’s headquarters answering the media’s questions they had submitted electronically.
It’s not an ideal situation for anyone, but we made it work and this form of communication will no doubt remain the norm for the foreseeable future. In fact, we held another virtual press conference on Thursday with co-captain Dane Rampe.
With Round 1 forging ahead, our communications team is continuing to work with newspapers, TV and radio to promote our upcoming game.
While these are clearly uncertain times – and the TV and radio products will look vastly different than usual – it’s actually an exciting time to work with the broadcasters as we strive to keep fans engaged in unique ways.
One obvious point of difference is supporters will be able to hear more conversations on the field in the absence of the chorus of fans. There is no question they already missed in the empty stadiums devoid of the atmosphere we all love and look forward to each week. It will be intriguing to see what will be picked up in the on-field mics and to hear club leaders go about their business.
While the whole country waits to see what will happen next, I for one am pleased the AFL has made the decision for Round 1 to go ahead. It will offer some normality in circumstances that are anything but normal.
Our team is trying to #spreadthecheer so tag us to show us how you’re watching.
Stay safe everyone and go the Swans!
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