What does your internal communications landscape look like in 2020? Is it anything like you imagined even just a year ago? Gathering the team in Meeting Room 2A for a weekly briefing, a simple news blast in the morning - it’s no longer our reality. Internal communications are more important than ever to unite the workplace, with everyone now under remote and tricky working environments.
Despite unheralded circumstances, because it is 2020, we have come to the point where we have the tech tools available to enable the right internal communications - whatever and wherever the work environment.
We were poised for remote work, but hadn’t made the leap
Back in 2016, we wrote an article titled The Impact of Remote Collaboration In The Workplace, in it was mentioned a “survey conducted at the Global Leadership Summit in London highlighted that of all companies polled, 34% confirmed half of their workforce would be working remotely by 2020.”
Little could anyone have predicted (except Bill Gates, perhaps - watch the Ted Talk), that a pandemic outbreak would force nearly 100% of companies’ workforces into remote work in 2020 - for those who still had jobs.
“Remote work is the future!” has long been a cry among trend analysts. But were we prepared?
Well, indeed many companies previously allowed some degree of flexibility in being able to work away from the office - but with the expectation that the majority of employees’ time would be spent on-site. The systems that employees used to do their work remotely may have been limited.
The difficulty of being thrown into remote work
The issue with going fully remote all at once is that no one was prepared for this future.
Even offices that were already fully remote were unprepared to deal with an unusually uneasy workforce. A US study in April reports that 45% of respondents felt that worry and stress related to coronavirus had a negative impact on their mental health. A workforce with increased stress and mental health concerns means potential instability in working patterns, even across great internal communication platforms.
Bringing the team together from afar
During this time, and extending out beyond, it’s very important to bring the team together as smoothly as possible. Without the face to face element, or the familiarity of the workplace itself, internal communications can break down if they aren’t approached correctly.
Companies accustomed to using simple weekly email newsletters and ad-hoc in-person briefings as they arise for their internal comms have needed to shift tactics.
A stable, continuous, and encouraging workplace presence is needed to:
Provide a sense of ongoing continuity across a remote workplace
Increase community spirit through continued comms
Instil faith in the business from employees
Reassure the team about their needs during this time
Ease confusion about any incoming questions in a public forum
You should treat your internal communications landscape as a ‘safe place’ where employees can find useful, up to date information, continued guidance and direction towards assistance if needed, and a place to highlight wins or initiatives within the business or with individual employees - plus a bit of light humour or reposted memes doesn’t go astray.
How to get it right
Undertaking internal comms the right way in 2020 means not only using the right technology, but being extra careful about the messaging you are sending out, being mindful of themes, and cadence. Now is the time more than ever to ramp up internal comms to support your remote team when they may be feeling isolated and disconnected from their workplace.
Think about how larger companies are undertaking their advertising and social media at the moment and follow suit. With a remote workforce, your internal communications as internal marketing should be stronger than ever to draw your team together.