Blog 4 in the Emerging From COVID-19 series
During periods of rapid change, communication becomes even more important. If a company does ultimately decide to send its employees back to the office under the safety of the vaccine, business owners need to remember that some people are still concerned for their health in the wake of re-opening. Utilizing basic crisis communication tactics, like transparency, empathy and honesty, will help businesses manage communications and expectations. Maintaining two-way communication with your employees and patrons will be crucial in this final stage of re-opening.
This open communication will allow people to not only remain in the know, but to ask and answer questions. This isn’t just “in theory” for us at Sinclair PA, as we begin having serious internal discussions about the best ways to get back to in-person meetings – together and with clients – in the months ahead. We’ll be sharing some of our observations – good and bad – as we start this process along with the rest of the business community in the weeks and months ahead.
Currently, the Sinclair PA staff is still working from home- handling internal communications, as well as client meetings over the phone and via Zoom. However, with everyone at our small firm almost vaccinated, we are finally entertaining discussions about returning to the office.
This decision isn’t one your business should take lightly- and should be made after consulting your employees about their comfortability level. Upon your return, your staff should have clear expectations for office etiquette- for example; mask requirements and in-office social distancing guidelines. Clearly communicating these new rules will help establish trust between you, your employees, and your patrons.
Before returning to the workplace, employees should be assured of their health and safety. Compiling a detailed plan that outlines how your business will protect employees can help instill confidence in your staff, as it shows their safety is top priority.
It is critical to recognize other factors that may affect your employees during this time as well, such as childcare availability. Businesses should utilize surveys to gain insight into employee concerns so they can better approach re-opening. Remaining flexible and sensitive to these concerns as an employer can position you as their ally, and strengthen workplace morale.
Everyone is eager for life to return to normal- but remaining cognizant of the fact the virus still exists, despite the vaccine, is crucial. Workplace and employee safety should remain your top priority, just as it was at the start of the pandemic.
If your business needs help navigating communication efforts during this time, our staff at Sinclair Public Affairs is here to help. Contact Sinclair Public Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org