As the new year begins the pandemic is far from over and there is a naive and misplaced optimism that there will be some rapid improvement and a return to normality. The cruel reality is that the first nine months of 2021 are likely to be every bit as challenging as the last nine months of 2020. What should internal communicators be planning for and should asking ‘why’ more often be our new year’s resolution?
When did it suddenly become compulsory for remote workers to be ‘on camera’? Constantly being visible on camera is proven to be stressful and unproductive. We need to establish and communicate clear rules about how employees should interact in remote working organisations, to create healthy workplace cultures that are fit for a post pandemic world.
Why can’t some leaders just say thank you, without any strings attached? As internal communicators draft their organisation’s end of year message from the leadership team, our guiding principle should be unconditional kindness. After the year we have all endured, workforces need to heal, and this time there is no place for a thank you with strings attached.
We aren’t working at home, we are living at work. Virtual presenteeism amongst remote working employees is on the rise driven by a paranoia to be seen to be always ‘at work’ and fuelled by the rise of employee surveillance technology. It’s stressful, and internal communicators have responded with a barrage of mental health and wellbeing communication, but should we have been focusing on creating remote-first organisational cultures instead?
We stand on the threshold of Lockdown 2.0 in England. Ironically timed to begin on Guy Fawkes Day, it is a bonfire of the liberties as our lives become ever more restricted once again. In Lockdown 1.0, I learned a few coping strategies. Eternal optimists may wish to look away now.
The ever-present tyranny of the future has been intensified by the uncertainty created by the pandemic. Maybe the best thing any of us can do right now is to just take things one day at a time and to not try to think too far ahead.
In a week of significant coronavirus related UK government announcements, it feels like we are in this for the long haul now and there is a creeping permanence in our current remote working circumstances. Internal communicators should be heeding the ministerial mantra of ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ to move away from the crisis and change communications approach of recent months towards one of continuous improvement.
We are being bombarded with rhetoric telling homeworkers that it is now time to get back to the office and ‘get back to work’. As we move into the next phase of the pandemic the gaslighting continues and does nothing to help organisations prepare for the safe return of some employees to their pre-pandemic workplaces. How can internal communicators neutralise the tangled messaging of an insidious gaslighting campaign designed to confuse and disorientate us?
In the wake of the pandemic is your organisational culture an Eden destroyed or a Hell vanquished? For internal communicators tasked with helping organisations balance the needs of employees and the demands of leadership to establish a new workplace Eden, there may be some big challenges to come.
The explosion of philanthropy in knowledge sharing and support which many internal communicators experienced in the early days of the pandemic is over, and paid for online events are now making a comeback. Knowledge has a price tag, but it should be one that everyone working in internal communication is able to pay.