This month the British government encouraged everyone to go back to business as usual, but many are reluctant to return to the office. At a time when people are still questioning whether they’re ready to face the commute again, employers are also wondering whether the risks and restrictions are worth it. Many large companies have announced they will continue to work from home. Google, Facebook and Twitter are all embracing working from home long term, and Fujitsu has announced a permanent work-from-home plan.

With the workforce scattered literally anywhere and the prospect of a second wave over winter looming, a robust and well-executed internal comms strategy is more essential than ever.

Leaders first need to understand their workforce’s wishes and concerns regarding returning to the office. (A remote survey or poll clearly listing out what changes would be in effect, allowing staff to understand what they would be returning to, and then inviting them to say whether they feel comfortable returning to the office would do the trick). Once you know how your staff are feeling, you can then decide on your company’s strategy – will you be encouraging everyone to work from home for the foreseeable future, or will you encourage a rota for people to have some face to face, in the flesh interaction with colleagues?  

Whatever you decide, the reality is that the office is not going to look the way it did back in March 2020 for quite some time, if ever, and at least some of your staff will be working from home at any given point. Execs will need to manage this carefully – Hotwire’s internal comms expert Heather Craft wrote an excellent piece with three tips for internal comms to a remote workforce.

For those asking how they can lead when everyone’s scattered, the most important thing is to let your team hear your voice – be it over email, pre-recorded video messages, live streaming video calls, or through social media. Your team will want to hear your vision for their future. You need a clear, consistent message across all your communication, just as you would when in the office.

If you need some help with this, please get in touch with me at alex.dacunha@hotwireglobal.com