It goes without saying that we are all in a state of constant and rapid change. Businesses are having to change the way they work; focus has shifted and the set-up of the workforce for many organisations looks very different to the picture of just a few weeks ago. Creativity and resourcefulness are undoubtedly key features of successfully managing business operations over the next few months and communications with all key stakeholders are a large part of that; there has never been a more important time to get your message out there!
Looking at prioritising activities, there are two groups that organisations should ensure communications are currently focused on: employees and clients and prospective clients.
Supporting your workforce
Communicating with employees is critical for all businesses, particularly at the moment; from changes in practice, cleanliness of the working environment, updates on how COVID-19 is impacting the business as well as all the usual day to day conversations – all made slightly more complicated with large numbers of staff now working from home.
It’s key to encourage appropriate behaviour around the physical working environment in line with guidance on working practices, health and cleanliness – banners and posters in key locations are useful to support efforts around minimising risk and helping to protect staff. A great way to really engage with your staff and get them on board might be to create an essential information guide with a ‘frequently asked questions’ section.
Understandably, your employees are likely to be concerned about many different things now and in the coming weeks and those who are home working are likely to be feeling quite isolated. The postal service is classed as a ‘key service’ and remains operational so it’s possible to maintain some ‘physical’ connections with employees. Creating a support and guidance information pack to send to them through the post is a great way to stay in touch. It might include best practices on working from home such as creating an optimal working environment, maintaining breaks, creating to do lists plus any support on mental health and wellbeing you can offer. There are lots of resources available, for example, one of our clients, The Happy Learning Company have created a selection of daily activities to encourage positivity and wellbeing.
A particularly engaging option might be to create a ‘survival pack’ which could even include learning resources for children, to help where homeworkers are also home-schooling.
Clients still want to hear from you
It goes without saying that it’s critical to keep talking to your clients. Your communications and marketing campaigns might have been paused, re-evaluated or revised but it’s important to let your clients know of any changes that might impact them, and measures you are implementing to continue servicing them given the social distancing restrictions currently in place.
Route to market has changed and at Ruddocks we’ve already seen a large upturn in work for mailing campaigns from many of our B2C and charity sector clients who are adapting and maximising the opportunity to get in front of their audience who are now working from home.
For some clients their market is shrinking, through lost business or forced closure but in order to sustain their businesses they have diversified and adapted their offering. For example, some of our hospitality clients are now offering a takeaway service where they can no longer serve people on their premises and some are helping the local community by providing home deliveries. Another one of our clients, The Lincoln Distillery Ltd, the company behind Lincoln Gin, have set up a crowdfunded initiative to produce an alcohol-based hand sanitiser for the emergency services.
Whatever you are doing to adapt it’s important to make sure you are getting your message out there, through PR and social media at the very least. Creativity, resourcefulness and community spirited initiatives are good news stories which not only help your organisation stand out but also help to give public morale a much-needed lift in amongst all the current uncertainty.
We understand all the pressures you are likely to be facing right now and we are on hand to support you with your communications over the coming weeks, whether it’s creating and delivering a direct mail campaign or guidance on communicating with your workforce. Please do get in touch for a chat, we’re happy to talk to you over the phone, via video call or email.