Weathering the storm – how we can make remote working a success

Eileen Curry

SINCE new measures came into force to help stop the spread of Covid-19, remote working has suddenly become the way of life for many people in Northern Ireland.

To help navigate these uncharted waters, I've listed below my top tips to help people make the most out of working from home.

Also, some advice for business owners on the role internal communications can play a part in delivering leadership direction and supporting employees during these difficult times.

For employees looking to make the most of home working:

• Separate your workspaces -The ideal set-up is a workspace that's separate from the rest of your home, but for most of us a corner or area you can dedicate to work is perfect. If you can do this, you'll be better able to concentrate on your work and find it easier to switch off from distractions.

• Embrace technology - Take advantage of the array of technologies available to make your life easier. Instant messenger services like Microsoft Teams or WhatsApp allow you to check in with your colleagues instantly, helping you maintain key relationships.

• Drive your personal development - There are a wide range of options online from top tips to online training courses, like the one CIM launched last week, ‘Digital Marketing Channels, which offers 25 hours of interactive learning and video classes to help you take advantage of digital marketing channels from home.

For employers looking to support employees:

• Be human - It's a common misconception that businesses must default to their usual corporate façade when it comes to internal comms. But in order to foster real social connections outside of the office, it might be time to ditch the corporate jargon where you can. Try to communicate at a personal level and be informative, but still keep a good level of professionalism.

• Keep calm and carry on - Pacing your comms in a calm manner is key, not only to ensure that only credible and trusted information is shared to avoid unnecessary stress in the short-term, but to keep employees informed for the long-term. Whether we like it or not, we are in this for the long haul.

• Plan - During times of crisis like this, the voice of an organisation communicating directly to its employees will more than likely rest on your shoulders, so it's worth planning well in advance how you will co-ordinate and distribute multiple messages from around the organisation and manage your employees' expectations.

Remember, even though our way of life has dramatically changed over the last few weeks, it is crucial that employees and employers alike maintain a positive mindset and that employers have a proactive voice that their employees can trust.

Social distancing may be the phrase of the day, but effective marketing can lift people's spirits, drive opportunities and remind us that we are all in this together.

:: Eileen Curry is chair of CIM Ireland

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