There’s no question about it. Flexible working isn’t just a buzzword anymore – it is here to stay.
With the UK government directive to work from home where possible looking set to last for the next six months, there’s a big challenge facing internal comms teams. How do you keep your workforce engaged through what looks set to be a long and gruelling winter?
Pre-pandemic, a report by Morgan McKinley found 39% of those who worked solely from home felt less engaged with their organisation. With almost 50% of the employed UK population currently doing at least some of their role from home and that set to last until spring 2021, this figure has most likely risen.
Here we share some top tips for keeping your people on-side in the months to come.
1. Revamp your policies
Apart from asking their peers, policy documents are usually the first place employees go to find out what help and support they can get from their organisation. But now that the world’s changed, has your flexible working policy?
There’s more to think about now – you might have colleagues who want to make working from home a more permanent thing. And you might have some who desperately want to come back to the office for their mental health or physical wellbeing.
We know reading policies is not fun. But it’s the first insight a person gets into how supportive your company really is. If they’re parent>child in tone, any colleague even thinking about making a request will most likely already feel like it’s a bad move on their part.
In fact, in a pre-COVID CIPD report, 33% of flexible workers felt they couldn’t switch off in personal time and 18% even felt ‘under surveillance’. Fostering trust and an adult-adult relationship between an organisation and its employees is the first and perhaps most vital step to making this new-normal a success.
It’s time to bury your head in those policies and make sure they match your employer brand and tone of voice (or get us to do it for you…)
2. Check your tech
The way we communicate has been changed forever by technology and it’s really proven its worth over the last six months. Why sit in the car for an hour or be crammed on a train like a sardine when you can do your job more efficiently from the comfort of your own home?
Investing in the latest tech though isn’t always the right tech. It might have been a big win finally getting Microsoft Teams approved by your Exec team, but if your colleagues are using it via a company mobile which has next-to-no storage or a laptop straight out of Back to the Future, it’s quickly going to lose its shine.
Focusing your resources into better hardware may give you more longevity from your investment.
3. Supercharge your communications
Last, but by no means least is to think about your communications. If people are home-working, is there a better channel to reach them on? Is there a better way to deliver your message?
Video is a powerful tool if your organisation has lots of home or remote workers, because seeing the faces of colleagues and leaders within an organisation can foster a sense of closeness and being part of a team, whether it’s live or not. In fact, research shows audiences retain 95% of a message when it’s shared in a video.
Not only that, but video delivers authenticity and connection, and often dovetails into watchers consuming more content (both video and written), especially if it can be accessed on mobile (see point 2).
If you’re wondering how to keep your people engaged and inspired, get in touch. You’ll find a team of curious communication experts who pride ourselves on producing brilliant work, offering warm welcomes and hot beverages (from a safe distance of two metres, of course).