How Covid-19 changed the way we communicate
From the very beginning of this pandemic, individuals and businesses have seen a huge change in how businesses, family, and friends interact with each other. The easy hugs and handshakes are no longer safe in case of further spread of this virus.
But what has this pandemic done to the way we communicate?
Impact on business
Organisations had to quickly adapt to the restrictions that had been put in place in the UK lockdown. For businesses, it meant that office-based colleagues were asked to work remotely, high street shops were closed, millions were put onto furlough. This was a breeding ground for uncertainty, and rumours.
Certain communication methods, such as face-to-face meetings, events, desk drops, water cooler conversations were no longer viable because of the lockdown rules in place across the country.
Organisations had to quickly put in new communication technology infrastructure to keep the business going, to allow people to communicate with each other.
Platforms such as Zoom, Teams or Slack had a sharp rise in usage, by employees, although many with limited training.
Quickly, communication teams and those responsible for communicating with their colleagues had to engage with their people. To calm fears, give real, fact-checked information, and help their people understand what their business was doing, how it would react to the pandemic, what measures would be put in place and the impact this would have on people.
Affect to your people
Covid-19 and anxiety are two words that go hand in hand. This pandemic has caused insecurity, doubt and in many cases loneliness, with people either working remotely, furloughed, or made unemployed due to the pandemic.
Mental health has been a regular topic on news channels and within businesses. With many people having to combine working with childcare, and homeschooling. There is a reason why these are not done together. They require very different skill sets, and each requires full attention, which can’t be achieved together.
Adapting to technology
With new digital communication technology introduced to business during this pandemic, it has been a major change for those people who were resistant to using these types of platforms.
Suddenly this was the only option and way to communicate outside of email and phone. If they wanted to join meetings, meet ‘face-to-face’ they had to use this technology.
Using these platforms as newbies can be a challenge. Thank goodness for Youtube to learn on the hop. It’s a challenge at the beginning to understand how the microphone works, if the video is on, how to turn on the video if you can be heard.
I think the most used phrase this year has definitely been “you’re on mute”. This pandemic has certainly introduced new lexicon and terminology to our dictionary this year.
The way forward
The world was always heading to a more digital age. With over 3.6 million on social media and businesses become more digital internally and externally.
But the speed that many businesses have had to change was not expected. I believe people and businesses thought they had a year or two before they had to transition their technology and communication infrastructure.
Now’s the time to fully embrace and embed digital platforms within your business, train your people in how to use it. It’s time to look at which digital channels your people are responding to, which they prefer and then re-evaluate your communication channels. Look at the purpose of each communication channel, who’s your audience, is it formal or informal?
And if you need any further assistance around communicating better with your people, take a look at From the Inside’s online training. This is a great course to give you the confidence to communicate with your people and know you’re getting your messages across.