The Covid-19 pandemic has been the biggest disrupter our society has experienced for over a century, and it will change the world of work forever. My vision of a dystopian future of work may be an Orwellian fantasy, but it includes the issues which internal communicators will be grappling with for years to come.
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic internal communicators have been adding our experiences of what it is like to practice during a significant historical event to the vast digital record of our times on social media and the internet. What will this historical archive we are creating say about what we did and what our purpose was during these difficult days, who will feature in it, and will it be a past imperfect?
As a globalised civilisation we were seemingly completely unprepared for the occurrence of a pandemic. The failure of leadership which helped the coronavirus proliferate has caused a day of economic reckoning and restructuring which will fundamentally change the contexts in which we all live. What are the career consequences of this for internal communicators as the curtain falls on significant parts of the old world we once knew?
Internal communicators can no longer continue dealing with the workplace impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak with a reactive crisis communications approach and tactics. What we are now dealing with is the mother of all change situations. With no internal communication precedents for dealing with the longer-term workplace impacts and fallout of a pandemic on this scale, the future is an undiscovered country for all of us.
After being preoccupied for the last few weeks with coronavirus related crisis communications, social distancing and whole workforces suddenly home working, when is the right time for internal communicators to resume normal service by restarting business as usual communications, and what should they be considering when they do?
As the coronavirus pandemic unfolds, social distancing has suddenly created a new army of remote and home-based workers. Internal communicators have responded by sharing tactics, content and technology solutions in an attempt to bridge the divide and build ‘engagement’ with employees, at a time when engagement is not the issue that needs to be addressed. The solutions to reconnecting remotely working colleagues are to be found in an understanding of human psychology and overcoming the negative behaviours this can catalyse in a divided workforce.
It’s been the week from hell for internal communicators. However, the impacts of the coronavirus crisis have a silver lining for our profession. We should act to seize the opportunity which has been presented by the outbreak and not let it slip through our (washed) hands