It has been nearly two years since the Covid 19 Pandemic fundamentally changed how we live, work, and how we as organisations interact and engage with our clients, employees & target markets. In almost overnight, companies worldwide had to make an immediate shift to remote working. With employers and employees slowly beginning to return to the workplace, numerous organisations worldwide are transitioning towards a permanent ‘hybrid’ approach to work as we advance into the future.
This shift towards remote working or hybrid working models calls for a complete re-alignment of your brand communications, which has never been so important as it is today.
Whether your workforce is composed of primarily in-office, remote, or hybrid employees, your organisation will benefit from a focus on hybrid communication. Below, we look at some essential tips to ensure you are creating successful hybrid workflows and communication strategies to navigate the transition to hybrid working successfully.
1. Using the right technology
Suppose you are looking to implement the hybrid work model in your organisation. In that case, you need first to ensure that your organisation is well equipped with the technology & tools to facilitate day-to-day communication and collaboration, especially in a hybrid working situation where employees, sales teams and customers are in different spaces.
Lack of good employee communication technology is often the biggest roadblock to improving communication in the workplace. Therefore, matching the right technology to the right task is the ultimate foundation for successful hybrid work or workplace communication in general.
Select a reliable virtual meeting platform you trust for synchronous communication that happens in real-time such as phone calls, video conferencing, live instant messaging. The most popular ones include Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Skype for business. Many of these serve the purpose of a one-stop-shop virtual collaboration tool with many additional features such as screen sharing, breakout rooms, and polls.
It’s necessary to understand that most workplace communication will be asynchronous or, in other words, not in real-time. This is especially the case when teams work in different places or clients in different time zones. Here are a few examples of tools you can utilise here:
- Email (Gmail, Outlook)
- Messages via instant messaging apps (Slack, Skype, RingCentral, Whatsapp)
- Collaboration, Shared Documents & Project Management (Google Drive, MS Teams, Sharepoint, Asana)
2. Setting clear goals & expectations
A hybrid working culture makes alignment across the organisation & teams even harder, so clear communication around an organisation’s overall strategy, goals, mission, projects, key information and deadlines is crucial.
- The Senior Management, department heads & project leads should ensure all the necessary information on projects is provided to their teams, such as clear briefs, outline and allocation of tasks, access to files, common goals, client expectations and deadlines. When employees and teams clearly understand what is expected, their work location will not stop them from achieving their goals.
- Share an agenda in advance for client meetings with a definite start and finish time.
- Include meeting links, password, dial-in code in the calendar meeting request.
- Set expectations regarding participation: Do they need to prepare anything or read anything? Inform beforehand if it will be a video meeting.
- Ensure increased visibility by providing them access to a detailed project plan outlining tentative deadlines for tasks, meetings and reporting over the agreed period.
3. Develop a virtual meetings policy
A majority of internal and external meetings have moved almost entirely online. However, a poorly executed virtual meeting can reflect badly on your organisation and our own personal brand. For many companies, virtual meetings are an entirely new terrain that they’ve been forced to explore due to COVID. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to have a clearly defined virtual meetings policy that clarifies what is expected from your employees when they are hosting or participating in virtual meetings, particularly when it comes to external client-facing meetings.
Your Virtual meetings policy should cover key areas concerning virtual meetings such as Meeting platforms, General meeting rules, Use of audio and video, Rules around recording, and preferred virtual meeting attire & etiquette.
4. Be Responsive, Supportive & Inclusive
Whether you run a multinational company or a growing startup, building a culture where everyone feels supported, valued and heard should be a top priority for any business. Creating an inclusive and supportive organisational culture matters now more than ever as in-person interaction within teams has significantly reduced due to the pandemic. It’s essential for business leaders and colleagues to lead with empathy and compassion in mind and see the humanness in each other to foster a positive and productive work environment.
- Establish direct communication with coworkers who may feel left out – check in with them, see how they are doing, and make a point to draw them into discussions where possible.
- Create a safe space for employees to voice any concerns, challenges or difficult situations they might be facing. Do encourage them to open up and share what they feel and need.
- Leaders can look to schedule a one-on-one check-in with individual team members to see how they are doing and encourage their professional development.
- Allocate time each week to host a 20-minute virtual coffee session for your teams to catch up on things outside of work.
- Try to host fun virtual events or games to encourage positive interactions. For example, Group team members send them to separate virtual breakout rooms for a fun trivia game.
IMS Marketing offers a masterclass in Virtual Selling that will help you and your team excel in pitching, negotiating and communicating in an online world. This masterclass will help you and your sales team acquire the skills, tools and processes needed for world-class excellence in digital selling remotely from their home or office. Contact IMS today and we will develop a customised programme to suit your organisation’s size and capabilities.