Most businesses have done their initial internal communications on ‘work from home’ guidelines and workplace health and safety measures to protect staff. Aside from logistical and safety concerns, it is important to keep staff motivated and ensure they are supported during this critical period.
Too much communication can be as detrimental to the process as too little; it reduces the ability of your audience to focus on important information. So now is the time to pivot into the next phase of your COVID-19 comms strategy. Here are some ways to avoid communication fatigue whilst working remotely and keeping your people engaged:
Share critical information
Businesses that communicate excessively with customers end up losing their attention, which is why a lot of consumers unsubscribe to emailers. The same can be applied to internal communications.
While sharing crucial information about the coronavirus crisis might seem like a no-brainer for business owners and managers, the consequences of over-communicating can be counterintuitive.
Be mindful of frequency
Before we send an email, post to intranet etc., we need to ask whether what we’re about to share is really of interest and how many times we have already shared messages with the same people on the same topic. If an email doesn’t provide anything new or timely, then re-consider sending it. Multiple updates should be consolidated into a single email whenever possible.
Use a mix of channels
It’s critical to make necessary information easily available. Connecting solely through email can be monotonous and mean important updates get lost in a full inbox. As people work from home during the outbreak, they might prefer to use apps such Slack, Teams or Google Talk for short, more immediate communication. Effective communication is as much about engagement and interaction as content and message.
Appropriate tone is always important – but it’s especially so right now. When faced with a multitude of channels, how can you be sure you’re getting it right? A regression to the use of text-speak and emoji’s is not fitting for the business environment. The tone should be the tone of the business but using language your audience is familiar and comfortable with keeping the channels in mind can break down many barriers – and initiate two-way conversations.
As people adjust to this new way of working and communicating with colleagues from their homes, they will inevitably start to miss the direct interaction that helps define workplace culture and even social identity. Check-in with your colleagues and staff to see how they are doing and offer support and assistance if needed. Continue to recognise and highlight exceptional efforts. As social distancing keeps us apart, a personal touch might be just what is needed. Find ways to creatively maintain the team’s social interactions and still have fun.