COVID-19: How To Inform And Engage Your Staff Working From Home

Caroline Duncan - Mar 18, 2020 7:43:20 PM

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The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) has caused a significant shakeup to the way we work in a very short period of time. As this volatile situation keeps changing, companies around the world have been telling their employees to work from home, practice social distancing and to help flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus.  

Large companies such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Apple, Ernst & Young have made headlines for doing this, but lots of other businesses, large and small, have taken similar steps. Many others will soon follow suit and are waiting to activate business continuity plans.

Other countries are in complete lockdown and nobody can leave their homes to work. In these situations companies that are able to continue with remote workers are doing so.  The situation keeps changing and more countries will inevitably follow the lead of Italy and France and keep everyone at home indefinitely.

While having remote workers is nothing new in 2020, for many businesses it is unchartered territory. Then there’s the issue of having your entire workforce suddenly working remotely when normally they attend an office is going to pose a number of challenges for businesses… particularly when it comes to internal communication.

During a global health and economic emergency, it’s critical that businesses keep their employees informed.  Keeping everyone in the loop about what needs to be done in order for the company to meet its objectives and remain viable has never been more important.

 


If your employees need to transition to remote work due to a change in your operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be a new way of working for them and for the entire organization. This checklist can help you to determine what to do, and what you need to communicate with staff.

work from home comms checklist


 

 

How DeskAlerts can help to keep your remote workforce informed

There are unique communication challenges when your organization has remote workers and virtual teams. When people are physically co-located they work together differently, sharing ideas more readily and ask for feedback from their colleagues. Sometimes when people are not physically in the office together it can be a case of “out of mind, out of sight” and they can get overlooked in the communications process.

Traditional internal communication channels may not be enough to keep people informed. They may not be able to access intranet or other internal systems easily while working from home. Emails are already problematic enough: people get more emails in their inboxes than they can read and respond to. When everyone is sending more emails than usual to the colleagues they normally speak face-to-face with, important corporate information, announcements and updates can get lost in overflowing inboxes.

Having a dedicated, reliable tool available to keep all your employees informed, no matter where they are, is essential if you want to ensure that internal communications function smoothly in your organization as the global crisis rolls on. 

DeskAlerts is an internal communications software system that has a range of features and uses different channels to send information to employees no matter where they are – so long as they are connected to the internet. 

 

Some of the ways you can use DeskAlerts include:

 

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1. Sending pop-up alerts that can’t be missed

Many organizations use DeskAlerts as a fail-safe way of bypassing their email system and ensuring that employees receive their important updates.  You can send a pop-up message to your employees’ computer desktop. No matter what task they are doing, what software program they are using at the time, the message will appear and can’t be skipped, ignored or minimized.

Messages can contain information on practically anything you need to communicate, and can include links, images or videos.

DeskAlerts has a 100% delivery rate and a built in statistics module so you can be certain to know who has seen your messages and who may not have. If employees haven’t seen the messages you could follow up with them to determine if they are working effectively from home or to check on their welfare, or determine if they are having technological issues you will need to address.

 

2. Sending notifications to practically any device

With DeskAlerts you can send messages to PC and Mac computers as well as iOs and Android cell phone and tablet devices.  Smartphone and tablet users can download an app from the Apple or Google Play stores which sends notifications from your organization to their screens. This is great for those who are not physically in the office, keeping them connected wherever they go.

 

3. Sending messages to custom audiences

With Covid-19 causing different issues in different countries, if you have a global workforce you may need to communicate different things to different groups of employees depending on where they are physically located.

DeskAlerts uses ActiveDirectory integration to enable you to create custom audiences to send different messages to. It is also available in a variety of languages to help you communicate with your people around the globe more effectively.

 

4. Deploying corporate screensavers and wallpapers and using scrolling ticker

Screensavers and wallpapers are spaces on your employees’ computers you can make the most of to send important messages and reminders. During the Covid-19 crisis, it could be good to have an easy-to-find place for employees to know important information, such as employee assistance hotlines. You can use desktop tickers to broadcast any news that directly affects your company.

 

5. Getting instant feedback from employees

With the built-in quizzes, surveys and polls module of DeskAlerts you can check with employees and get feedback on just about any topic at the push of a button and see the results in real time.  This is especially good to ensure that you get buy-in from employees, no matter where they are working, on issues that will affect them and their jobs so they know that their opinions are valued.

 

 

Other internal communication methods to consider during the Covid-19 crisis

Of course, as professional communicators we know that communicating via a range of channels is the best way to share important information.  

In addition to DeskAlerts, you could consider the following tools or strategies in your organization to keep in touch with your employees who are working from home:

  • Encouraging employees to use instant messenger tools for the sorts of conversations they may have had face-to-face with their colleagues when working in the same office so they don’t send too many emails.
  • Have a dedicated staff phone hotline, even if it just contains prerecorded messages, that employees can hear the latest information you need them to know at any time of the day or night. 
  • Use corporate social media channels such as Facebook for Business to help employees stay connected.
  • Have your teams use team/project platforms like Slack, Asana, Teams or Basecamp to share ideas and files and keep their projects running virtually.
  • Videoconferencing software such as Skype or Zoom can help you to keep having regular team meetings where everyone can still speak to one another… but from their homes!
  • Have managers reach out and check in on their people. This is always important but especially during a time like this they need to know if they are overwhelmed or have problems with their workload. If managers can’t see their employees like they usually would it can be hard to know there are issues to manage.

 

It may be many months before the world – and workplaces - gets back to normal again. By keeping your people informed every step of the way you can help your business to survive.






Topics: Internal Communication Best Practices- COVID-19

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