Every day, recent developments lead more companies to conclude that they must send their employees to work from home. For many professionals, a flexible remote-work routine is nothing new. However, working efficiently for multiple days or even weeks without meeting in a common office is unusual for most. As an expert in corporate communications, you should be able to act confidently and precisely advise other team leaders on how to maintain internal communication in times like COVID-19 when home office is widespread.
Here are five practical tips:
- Encourage a cross-site and cross-team task force for your company
- Together with management, employee representatives and the human resources department, define a task force with one person per location. The task force should bundle questions about coronavirus and home office and deal with the addressed issues.
- Determine who should communicate when, with what frequency and on what topics to whom. Arrange regular update-meetings so you can react quickly to current developments.
- Ensure all members of the group can be reached via a suitable channel (e.g. workplace, WhatsApp for Business).
- Involve the IT department to arrange the technical requirements for a comprehensive home office at an early stage (server solution, equipment for employees).
- Prepare your colleagues for a potentially longer home office phase
- Inform employees who are to switch spontaneously to home office in case of a suspected coronavirus infection before the case arises. Besides a short background explanation, colleagues should be aware of a few simple rules:
- Everyone should start taking necessary documents and work equipment (notebook, work mobile, etc.) home every day – this must be in accordance with existing policies.
- Everyone should check their email for new messages about the coronavirus every morning before leaving for work
- Everyone should know their relevant contact people in the company
- Develop an announcement regarding home office for all potentially affected employees
- Together with the task force (HR department, employee representatives, management and spokespeople from each location), prepare a circular email that asks employees to work from home with immediate effect. Include FAQs and explicitly refer to each location’s contact person who can be asked questions.
- Provide middle management and team leaders with useful tips on how to work efficiently from home
Identify presence meetings with external parties (customers, suppliers etc.) that have already been agreed upon. Inform those concerned about the situation and agree on an alternative solution (e.g. video call/telephone conference).
Talk to your team about internal presence meetings that have already been arranged and agree on an alternative.
- Identify upcoming deadlines with your team. Critically examine whether they are endangered by temporary home office and develop a solution. If this is not possible, involve your superiors early on.
- To keep an overview of current projects, short, daily team calls could be helpful. This way, everyone stays in touch and keeps each other informed.
- Define rules on availability and coordination loops with your team to ensure seamless quality management.
- Make sure that the employees are and remain informed about the situation’s development
- In Germany, you should closely follow the recommendations of the state and municipal health authorities and regularly share them within the organisation. Together with the HR department, management, employee representatives and responsible contact people for each location, discuss continuous updates with all employees. You can find official and trustworthy information here, for example:
If you have questions or would like support, please reach out to our Corporate Reputation Team.