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 came to a standstill. More than five billion people across the globe were locked down inside their homes because of COVID 19.
However, after such a long duration of “stay at home” orders, restrictions are now beginning to lift up. 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 there will be certain sets of rules that you will need to follow in order 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 like you used to or conduct meetings with the entire team like it used to happen back 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 a list of some tips that can 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 are going to be from now onward; especially in regards to workplace communication.
As part of the plan, keep communication at the forefront so that employees always know what is happening. A slight misunderstanding and miscommunication can set the panic alarm, leading to a stressful work environment, which no businesses would want to happen.
Instead of just creating a vague plan and sharing with your team members, it is advisable to discuss with them (or their representatives i.e. team leaders and managers) to ensure that you have a clear idea of their state of mind.
2. Communicate Clearly and Precisely
It is important for you as a business leader to make sure that there is no confusion in the mind of employees in regard to return to work.
Yes, they are going to be a little skeptical to begin, but you have to bring in front of them the plan that 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, and share it with everyone in the team for them to view it and understand it) so that there is the scope of confusion.
Even if they have some doubts, make sure you hear them and provide a solution to 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 they come back to work to make the transition comfortable.
Doing all this is going to help you communicate to your employees that you are keeping their safety at the forefront and they 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 that you can do to make your return to work communications smooth and secure is to bring technology to good use. There are a number of 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 the way your team manages its tasks, you can pick from the list of online to-do list apps and collaboration tools that are available in the market to help streamline the way your team can plan and manage tasks virtually without having to rely on physical meetings.
Remember, online communication and collaboration tools are the future since they enable employees to have a safe working environment while providing effective communication effortlessly. 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, which can further lead 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 to do that since 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 totally changed the way people work. Being a leader, it is important for you to keep in touch with your team and convey them all the essential details about how your enterprise is going to operate in such a difficult point of time and after it.
If you are considering returning back to the office, well-structured communication plan is a must, and the above tips are going to help you achieve just that.
Implement them and I’m certain that you are going to have a great time bringing your team back to regular office workspace (whenever that will happen).