Bringing them back
For anyone who had attended Bladonmore’s previous hosted breakfast events, this one started somewhat differently. No chatting together over a coffee and croissant; instead, the webinar began in a digital holding room replete with a short refresher of Moloko’s classic, ‘Sing it back’. A taste of the new normal?
What remained the same was the chance to talk about the pressing communication challenges businesses are facing today with an experienced panel. Caroline Hill, Group Director of Corporate Affairs & Sustainability at property developer Landsec; Susan Ho, SVP of Brand, Communications and Partnerships at Hong Kong fintech Airwallex; and Jo Osborn, VP Internal Communications & Corporate Brand at health to nutrition group RB, joined Bladonmore’s Managing Partner Richard Carpenter to discuss the communications challenges of bringing employees back to the office.
Here is a run-down of five key lessons we learned on the call…
Communicate, communicate, communicate
Since the lockdown started one message has been made (fairly) clear, over and over again – stay home. Given the effort and emphasis behind this, asking people to suddenly switch their behaviour will demand an equally strong response. Frequent communication is a must.
In or out? It requires a rethink
Leaving the office might have been a mass migration but coming back won’t be the same. While some employees slowly start to return, others may stay at home for some time to come. With different groups in different environments, it’s important to tailor the tone of your message for each audience.
Leadership must drive flexibility
Employees must not be forced to come back – their health, safety and mental well-being should remain the number one priority. This message needs to come from the top down. People will return when they feel comfortable, but there is a lot that businesses can do to support this – dialling up the conversation around mental health, providing practical advice and encouraging downtime.
Keep it human
Lockdown has changed a lot of things – but we are still human! People thrive off real interaction and authentic content, so incorporating this into your comms is a must. User-generated content, from all parts of your business, is a great way to deliver this – with the added bonus that it keeps content fresh and engaging.
Light at the end of the tunnel
Perhaps the most encouraging thought was on screen the entire time. Susan Ho had joined the discussion live from her office in Hong Kong – and had been back to some sense of office normality for the last two months. Things will get better, we just have to stick with it and keep positive.
If you would like any further information on our future webinar or, hopefully, some point in the future, seminar events or would like to discuss how Bladonmore can support you with your back-to-office communication, please get in touch.