By Digital Marketing Apprentice Sophie Coombs
It has most definitely been an odd and challenging time for all of us over the past few weeks.
We are sure that in weeks, months and years to come we will have learned a lot from the Coronavirus pandemic, but one thing many of our clients learned (almost instantly) was that internal communication is hugely important for businesses at times like this.
As we work in the communications industry, Team J&PR has always been fantastic when it comes to keeping everyone up to date… which should really be expected of us!
While the majority of our work is getting your content and business messages and news out to your desired target audience, we do offer internal communications and have been more involved than ever with advising our clients on what to communicate to their staff and when and, most importantly, how. The “how” is a big one as a weekly brainstorm in the office could not happen as we were quickly packing up our computers to work remotely – the very next day we were enjoying virtual brainstorms using Zoom or Hangouts.
Keeping the team in the loop
There are so many things that businesses can do to keep their team updated with their next steps. Plenty of our clients have been waiting for the Prime Minister’s daily announcements before making any final decisions, which has meant they need to inform staff members regularly of any changes to their working life.
We know the 9am to 5pm working day has long gone out of the window at J&PR and also for many of our clients too.
Internal newsletters have worked a treat when it comes to letting team members know of updates but time has also been very precious so a round-robin email has also done the trick!
However an internal newsletter is a great way to inspire your staff and keep them motivated.
And don’t forget to include non-work related items too – maybe sharing weekly positive stories from the team while they are away from the office. Not only will it hopefully spark a smile, it will also ensure your team is staying up to date with one another.
Why not include one of the fabulous comedy videos doing the rounds at the moment? The child crying her heart out when her mum tells her she has to eat her home cooking because the fast-food chains are closed gave us a very welcome laugh!
Video calls have been essential at Team J&PR to ensure we all know what each other are up to and also update the team on developments with our clients. It’s a fast moving world.
We’ve been enjoying a morning video conference to set us up for the day and have also been doing so with clients too – seeing a face and bringing some normality to the working day has been imperative. We have encouraged our clients with a smaller workforce to do the same with their team, as a five minute video call can often replace a day’s worth of emails.
Kirsty has been enjoying her weekly BNI Thomas Telford on-line meeting and visitors are still able to join in too! Drop her a line if you fancy some virtual networking or just some adult company if you have been surrounded by children and schoolbooks!
With that said, emails are, of course, the top-dog of business communication. Having something in writing is paramount and is extremely useful if some people can’t attend a video call. Another useful tool is recording video conferences so that those who cannot make it can view them at a later time.
It’s all in the timing
When it comes to internal communications, timing is vital – especially during such a challenging situation.
While none of us have experienced a global pandemic before, we and our clients both understood that timing was everything.
Staff want, and need, to be reassured after every government announcement of the next steps and how that will impact them. Letting staff know of any updates as soon as decisions have been made will put their mind at ease.
Some of our clients (especially with the large number of events we manage) have also had stakeholders, sponsors and supporters to inform of any changes alongside their workforce. As with their staff, they have informed their wider audience of any changes immediately to alleviate any anxiety.
The start of March feels like a lifetime ago and we have certainly experienced a worrying few weeks. J&PR made the switch to remote work on March 16th and we have been non-stop ever since. Obviously many members of the J&PR team have children at home who are now being home-schooled so juggling the working day and teaching children has been ‘fun!’ Well there are other words to describe it but we will keep them for another time!
We would just like to say a huge “thank you” to our staff and clients for their exceptional communication at this time, and another “thank you” to the key workers who are currently carrying this country through a crisis… and where would we be without our families, who have had to listen to our client calls at 11pm? We are so thankful to them, too.
Stay safe, keep going and keep smiling and we will continue to help you through the Covid-19 pandemic.