Internal communication and remote working

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The pandemic induced a change in workplace scenarios almost overnight in an abrupt, instantaneous, and unexpected manner for the working population of the world. While the companies struggled to set up new norms for the new normal the employees initially were unaware of the things to shape up their work lives. Everything was being affected from processes, systems, policies, training & development, and more importantly the personal human interaction with colleagues and co-workers.

The most important function in any organisation being communications, both internal and external was as it is the common thread that ensures the whole organisation remains connected within and outside of it with all stakeholders. Corporate communications experts along with senior management were taking lead in addressing these sudden changes for both the internal and external audiences.

Organisations have a large number of constituents, who are interconnected through several systems & processes and work cohesively to deliver the work. Overnight the physical office-centric approach was changed to a dispersed and separated workforce, spread across different geographies, in some cases extremely distant ones.

One of the biggest challenges for the organisations was to ensure that the systems and processes set are maintained well, the company policies for employees, customers, trade partners, and other stakeholders remain in force effectively, and the overall growth and development is not affected negatively due to the reasons of ineffective internal communications.

While traditionally external communication has delivered reputation management for the companies, internal communications ensured a great work culture and effective functioning of the workspace environment. However, in the pandemic-created situation, the lines between internal and external communications have started blurring.

Technology-led communication can make anything viral in almost an instant leaving barely any chance to exercise damage control if the viral news is potentially damaging to the reputation.  What if the news is internal? Internal communications come into play here by pre-empting a lot of situations and relooking at everything in the pandemic-created working conditions.

One of the biggest challenges is the loss of community development at work as most people work individually out of their zones, sometimes comfortable and sometimes not. While a lot of people might be feeling good at having their times and space available at disposal, many others look forward to getting out of their closed spaces and feel good by being at work with co-workers.

Internal communications need to address the community building in absence of physical community among the workforce. Work community binds people together, it gets them to work cohesively and allows them to interact and share their thoughts, ideas, and views with their colleagues, office friends, and co-workers making a humane environment creating a conducive work environment.

There is a slew of measures, companies have taken where they create brainstorms, interactions, casual weekend parties, and fun interactions in a virtual setup bringing together the employees giving them a break from their work-from-home mindset.

In the remote environment, it is often possible to have arisen communication gaps as technology also comes with its pangs. Imaging a highly efficient person working from a remote location with poor connectivity and internet bandwidth may not be able to receive full instructions. On another extreme, it is very easy to miss out on the social clues of an individual in a video call when compared to a one-to-one interaction. Internal communications address many similar situations for the organisations.

With extreme stress, almost everyone is undergoing on personal fronts, as pandemic has delivered trauma in some or the other manner to everyone, the burnout rates for many has been tremendous.

An empathy-filled, discussion-oriented, less stressful communication-driven internal communications can be of great help to effectively attain its purpose.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Praveen Nagda
Praveen Nagda is the CEO of Peregrine Public Relations, a full-service corporate communications and public relations consultancy firm delivering a pan-India reach to its clients. He also heads White Coffee, an independent events & celebrity engagement company.

Praveen has been closely associated with many national and international events related to cinema for children, art and culture. He has a well-rounded experience that cuts across all key sectors of PR & Corporate Communications.

He started his career with URJA Communications, an advertising agency specialising in technology brands, where he was instrumental in developing the PR division. Post this, he had a stint with Horizons Porter Novelli, a global public relations consultancy. Thereafter, he was heading the IT & Telecom division at Clea PR, a leading Indian public relations and communications company followed by a fairly long stint with Omnicom Group agencies viz. TBWA\India and Brodeur India.

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