March 27, 2020
Out of Sight Need Not Mean Out-of-Mind
Internal communications strategies and execution will need major overhauls in the wake of the remote working era instigated by the battle against Coronavirus.
With millions around the globe working from home during the crisis, the question arises will they easily surrender remote workplace advantages once the pandemic is over?
Remote and mobile (work from anywhere/anytime) advantages have long been touted by technology providers and include enhanced productivity, reduced office operation costs and a more satisfied staff base (millennials have ranked remote working as their preferred environment). The slow take up of the remote workplace in some geographies is largely down to local and corporate trust and control cultures. The question now is how are companies going to keep employees office bound after they’ve experienced workplace freedom?
A survey of Action clients across our network of countries across Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as Central Asia, suggest remote working will be a post-Coronavirus reality. Just over 68% percent of those surveyed have adopted work-for-home protocols in the current crisis and 13% of them have already decided to continue post-Covid 19. 27% of those surveyed have adopted partial work-from home strategies and remain on the fence as to whether they will continue in the AC era. Only just over 4% are not working from home and have ruled out any adoption of it.
The fact is that there are also disadvantages to remote working – not least a feeling of isolation for employees. For employers this brings the challenge of continuing to build an informed and engaged workforce which will aid staff retention.
This means that internal communications will take on an ever more vital role – but will have to transform to address the AC era realities. Our survey respondents who have embraced work-at-home protocols say they will readdress their internal comms approach; the partial adopters say they may consider it and only the 4.5% non-adopter have ruled it out.
The technology is there to deliver information flow and exclusive online communities, apps and sharing platforms will be crucial to the process though organisations will need to opt for one communications platform which will bring the workforce together.
Video messaging and open-door ‘chat’ sessions with leadership will set the corporate tone, reflect values and keep employees up to date with business progress. ‘Town Halls’ will move to online meetings solutions, scheduled departmental weekly web meetings will help teams build relationships. Podcasts from workers in different departments/geographies can open up the opportunity for people getting to know each other and improving their understanding of individual/team challenges and markets.
Creativity will be the essential prerequisite of an AC-era remote working culture, supported by effective technology resources – and agencies are should demonstrate their creative and digital capabilities. We at Action understand this because we are continuously communicating across our network building strong inter-Group relationships from Moscow to Dubai, from Greece to Algiers and all points in between. Internal comms for the future must ensure that remote workers are fully engaged with the communications process convincing them that out-of-sight, never means out-of-mind.