As we move through the first quarter of 2021 with continued uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic and when the U.S. might achieve widespread vaccination, many organizations have already embraced an increasingly remote workforce.
For health care organizations, managing a remote workforce is not new. Hospitals and health systems, in particular, employ many people who work outside of traditional hours and are mostly mobile. But even corporate offices have gone fully or partially remote during the pandemic, which brings an added challenge to teams communicating internally. With many companies choosing to go remote long-term, communications teams must adapt to ensure employees remain engaged and connected.
Here are a few internal communications considerations for increasingly remote workforces.
Conduct a communications audit. It is important to periodically survey your staff to understand how they’d like to receive important company information. The past year has undoubtedly changed the routines of many of your colleagues. Now is a great time to take note of previously used communications vehicles and review relevant metrics. Perhaps office staff engage best with email but workers in the field prefer to receive information via team meetings or physical signage.
Spend time segmenting your audiences. A clinical director and an accounts payable specialist have very different workdays. They also have different professional goals, even though they may be working for the same organization and believe in the same overarching company mission. With an increasingly mobile workforce, it is more important than ever to segment messages by audience to cut down on communication overload. Doing the work on the front end to ensure people receive messages relevant to their positions will cut down on hours of follow-up questions caused by confusion on the back end.
Invest in collaboration tools. This is especially important for employees who are used to being in an office setting and interacting with their coworkers throughout the day. One of the biggest noted drawbacks of working remotely is the decline in collaboration time. Thankfully, there are many online tools that can support internal communication while providing teams with greater potential for collaboration, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack and more. The challenge is making sure to use these tools strategically and not bog down teams with unnecessary meetings.
Strive to empower, not hinder, your mobile workforce. A good internal communications strategy strives to provide employees with tools to better understand and do their jobs. The last thing any communicator wants is to spam employees with information they do not find valuable. Organizations should be cognizant of a mobile employee’s needs – and cater internal messages to meet them.
If you need help developing an internal communications strategy or adapting an existing program to meet the needs of a mobile workforce, contact Lovell Communications. We’re here to help.
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