Seven useful tips for helpful, comforting COVID-19 communications

Almost every country in the world is facing crisis just because of COVID-19 pandemic. It has a significant human dimension and also major economic impact.  The virus has exponentially spread the unease and uncertainty around us.

Due to the enormity of the problems created by the Corona virus, a feeling of insecurity has enveloped mankind. It is threatening to shake the self-confidence of people and their dependence upon wealth.  In order to face the grave situation, it is essential that we act carefully as well as collectively to contain the spread of the highly contagious Coronavirus and to minimise its impact.

What we do in this crisis matters – action speaks louder than words; however, words are equally important during a crisis situation like COVID-19 pandemic.  The immediate priority to combat Coronavirus is to maximize our efforts and minimize the risk.

Here are seven tips for effective internal communications, namely:

  1. Build a Team and Establish Ownership 

Establish ownership for internal communications within your organization.  The COVID-19 communications team should include the most senior management.  The crisis response team should meet regularly to review the latest situation and discuss adjustments.  Every person and stakeholder is important for your organization, so clearly outline the channels to be used to communicate with people. In doing so, it is absolutely essential that the team is chosen carefully from all sections of the work force.  They should have an easy access to communication system.

  1. Be Empathetic and Understanding towards People

Empathy is the most important factor during crisis.  The first priority must be wellbeing of people and their families.  Many people are working from home and trying to maintain the routine work along with their children or partners. Working from home adds more complexity for employees. Do understand each other and be empathetic. It is vital to establish trust and frankness among the team members and to reduce the fear of unknown.

  1. Be Clear and Consistent

Clear and consistent communication is the key to success for any organization.  No matter what the situation, a daily update is required to establish a trustful and responsible environment.  In the absence of a regular, trusted communication channel, misinformation and assumptions will circulate.  Team leaders must make it clear that your organizational values are more important now than individual opinions. In doing so, we need to maintain our poise and patience.

  1. Set Two Way Communication Channels 

During this crisis, it is not recommended to roll out a new communications channel.  If email is your primary communication channel, you can use this to disseminate information in multiple ways, using text, images, video, links to outside sources etc.  It is absolutely important that every person in your organization should have a mechanism to register their feedback and leadership in the organization must respond and answer their questions.

  1. Consistency in Internal and External communications 

In the time of crisis, marketing/PR professionals have to make sure that both internal and external messaging is consistent and in line with the policy of organization.  Be sure to prepare effective key messages and talking points about operations, response to crisis and any other significant changes in the organization that everyone should be aware of.  At the same time, it may be useful to revisit the company policy and strategy periodically to suit the practical situation.

  1. Create Healthy and Safe Environment 

COVID-19 crisis really changed the working style and importance of those discussions.  In fact, it takes things to a whole new level such as work from home, physical distancing, personal hygiene, sanitized working environment.  An average person probably isn’t aware of the powerful immunity-boosting properties of certain foods or the importance of exercise and sleep to our bodies’ defense systems.  Help people to build healthy habits while they’re working from home.

  1. Encourage Participation and Online Networking  

It has been proven that unusual circumstances can provide a great opportunity for people to get to know more about each other.  Small teams could have regular online video chats, virtual coffee dates or even happy hours. Such initiatives could help organizations to develop deeper connections and strong understanding towards organizational goals. 

Recommended Preventive Measures for COVID-19

Please wear mask, pay attention to personal hygiene, frequently wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with 60 percent alcohol, practice social distancing of about two meters, avoid close contact with people who are sick and also do stay in compliance with the guidelines issued by the local health authorities.

Some Useful Tips on Use of Digital Opportunity to Minimise the Impact of Coronavirus

  • Use mobile based applications for data collection 
  • Use telecommunication facilities for tracking the spread
  • Utilise the telemedicine facilities for remote care and cure
  • Provide quality entertainment during the lock down phase
  • Remaining at home does not mean idling. There are lot of pending things to do
  • Do not transmit any information about which you are unsure.
  • Keep yourself updated with the sources of authentic information
  • Practice Yoga in office or at home
  • Read jokes and light literature, watch funny movies, listen to good music
  • Give some time to your old hobbies
  • Be cheerful – this too will pass

About the author:

Sanjay Kumar is an International Communications Strategist with 20 years of experience in strategic communications, process management, and organizational development. Currently, he is pursuing his Doctoral degree in Development Economics at Rangsit University, Thailand. 

He can be reached by email: [email protected] and mobile +66 84 327 7267.

(Featured image source: hbr.org)


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