The art of communication is the language of leadership.
Almost five months ago, a mysterious virus suddenly emerged and led to a global pandemic. Before we could figure anything out, much of the world as we know it has come to a standstill. More than five billion people across the globe were locked down inside their homes because of COVID 19.
However, restrictions are now beginning to lift after such a long duration of "stay at home" orders. That sounds like good news, right?
We know that sooner or later, the lockdown will be over, and we will have to return to our workplaces again. But is everything going to be the same? Well, the answer to this question is a clear no.
Given the nature of the pandemic, workplaces will not be the same as they used to be in the past virus-free world. It needs to be understood that even after returning to work, you will need to follow certain sets of rules to keep the virus away.
Recommended Ebook: The Post Lockdown Guide for Managers
In fact, the biggest is going to be on the office communications. You will no longer be able to reach someone's desk for a quick discussion or conduct meetings with the entire team like it used to happen in the 'before Coronavirus days.'
You will have to look out for new ways to keep the company-wide communication going. You will need to formulate a new, post-pandemic communication strategy for your business.
To help you with the same, I have compiled some tips to help you with the same. Let's take a look at those tips:
1. Discuss Your Return To Work Plan
COVID-19 has taken its toll on businesses. The only way to minimize the damage now is to formulate a clear plan of how things will be, especially regarding workplace communication.
As part of the plan, keep communication at the forefront to always know what is happening. A slight misunderstanding and miscommunication can set the panic alarm, leading to a stressful work environment. No businesses would want to happen.
Instead of just creating a vague plan and sharing it with your team members, it is advisable to discuss it with them (or their representatives, i.e., team leaders and managers). Discussions will help you ensure that you have a clear idea of their state of mind.
2. Communicate Clearly and Precisely
As a business leader, you must ensure that there is no confusion in employees' minds regarding their return to work.
Yes, they will be a little skeptical to begin, but you have to bring the plan you have created (only after discussing with them and taking their inputs).
Communicate the plan clearly (it is recommended that you create a written copy of all the plans, including the guidelines that need to be followed). Share it with everyone in the team to view it and understand it) so that there is scope confusion.
Even if they have some doubts, make sure you hear them and solve their doubts.
3. Keep Employee Safety At The Forefront
The most important thing that you might have to do when returning to work would be to reinforce safety at your workplace by creating new protocols and practices. Now, just creating safety protocols isn't enough. You need to communicate them to your employees too.
Some easy and effective ways to communicate the same to your team could include:
Creating a virtual safety guide
Create an online safety guide and share it with your workforce. Enlist all the safety measures and practices that need to be followed every day after everybody returns to work.
Providing Online Training
Before actually starting to work, provide online training to your employees to help them adjust to the new organization processes.
Make sure you make your employees well aware of all the protocols and measures before returning to work to make the transition comfortable.
Doing all this will help you communicate to your employees that you keep their safety at the forefront. And will be in a much better state of mind while returning to work.
4. Choose The Right Communication Tools
One of the most important things you can do to make your return to work communications smooth and secure is to bring technology to good use. There are several smart and powerful online communication tools available in the market that you can use.
For instance, if you are running a small business and need to simplify your team’s tasks. You can pick from the list of online to-do list apps and collaboration tools available in the market. This will help streamline how your team can plan and manage tasks virtually without relying on physical meetings.
Remember, online communication and collaboration tools are the future since they enable employees to have a safe working environment while effortlessly communicating. You need to find the right ones for your team and bring them to good use.
5. Keep Your Focus on Employee Engagement
You need to understand that it is tough to cope up with the changes. It can get very burdensome for your employees to deal with changes caused to their regular work routines, further leading to stress and low productivity.
The only way to make sure that the stress does not get the better of your employees is to keep all your team members engaged and motivated as much as possible.
But how do you keep them engaged, especially when you cannot interact with the workforce as freely as you used to in the past? Well, constant chat communication, video conferencing, or virtual meetings can work wonders to keep your employees engaged and motivated. As already mentioned, there is technology available for you to benefit from - so make the best use of it!
The pandemic has changed the way people work. Being a leader, you need to keep in touch with your team. And convey to them the essential details about how your enterprise will operate during such a difficult point of time and after it.
Suppose you are considering returning to the office. In that case, a well-structured communication plan is a must, and the above tips will help you achieve just that.
Implement them, and I'm sure that you will have a great time bringing your team back to the regular office workspace (whenever that will happen).