Deconfinement: 11 Communication Tips to Support Your Recovery Plans

As the government announces its first deconfinement measures, organizations are preparing for new communications initiatives to announce the gradual resumption of their activities.

While the deconfinement process is experienced differently from one organization to another – complete return of employees, partial return, continuity of telework – some questions remain universal: How can we ensure work-life balance? How can employees be reassured? What tone should be used when communicating?

Let’s start with four principles to promote in your communications:

  1. Be clear and precise: leave no grey areas
  2. Put people first: your employees are your priority
  3. Communicate frequently: ideally on various platforms
  4. Adopt the right tone: reassuring, neutral and confident

Now, let’s look at the key elements to consider when communicating about deconfinement.

A solid deconfinement plan

What should be included in a deconfinement plan? First, we suggest taking stock of the current situation and the actions taken so far. This should be followed by a statement of possible scenarios, as well as a list of the measures put in place. Finally, a schedule of next steps and contact information will complete your plan.

Here are four other tips to help you get through this stage:

  1. Test your plan with people who are representative of your organization.
  2. Promote human contact. If possible, share your plans via video conference.
  3. Convey your messages using multiple communications channels (social media, newsletter, etc.).
  4. Be flexible and ready to adjust. This crisis is a first for all companies, mistakes are inevitable.

Consider new work methods

 Ensuring your work environment is safe while respecting physical distancing rules is not necessarily easy. If returning to the office is an option for your employees, have a plan that meets the sanitary requirements:

  • Do you have enough disinfectants?
  • Do employees have enough space between them?
  • Do you have one-way corridors that should be used by only one employeeat at a time
  • Will there be a maximum number of employees who can take the elevator at the same time?
  • Will all employees be able to come back to the office?
  • Will you divide employees into sub-groups? Team A for week A, etc.
  • Is telework always recommended?

These are all questions, among many more, that your employees will want answers to. To reassure staff, it is important to communicate that for every risk, there is a potential solution.

The COVID-19 crisis is also leading companies to review their working methods. According to Jean-Marc Léger of the marketing research firm Léger, 79% of employees in Quebec are satisfied with their teleworking experience. A Gartner study, taken up by Isarta, indicates that three quarters of American executives were considering keeping at least 5% of their employees in a permanent teleworking situation, as a result of the crisis.

From a communicational point of view, this means that companies must listen to the needs of their employees and demonstrate flexibility in order to adapt to everyone’s new reality.

Here are three more tips to communicate change:

  1. Remember that your employees are your most important allies, they will want answers to their questions.
  2. Use charts to present the actions taken or visuals to help illustrate these actions.
  3. Involve your employees in finding solutions and be receptive to their ideas.

Some will have noticed that the basis of this blog is internal communication. There are numerous challenges that await companies and, above all, they are all being experienced for the first time. As always, you will need your best ambassadors, your employees, to get through these uncertain times.

Mathilde St-Vincent About the author
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