New habits to keep – and what to let go – post the corona crisis

What new habits to keep and what we must let go was the question at Belgian internal communications organization, vonk, at their recent world café which brought together professional communicators for sharing ideas and best practice.

Here are some of the event’s key findings:

1. What to keep?

The digital tools that we accelerated during corona, such as MS Teams, have made remote cooperation and communication possible and efficient. The digitalization of communication has also become a fact for groups that we previously thought would not be digitalized and means we are increasingly able to reach everyone and to establish two-way communication.

The pandemic forced us to question our way of working. We must maintain this mindset post-covid as well. We must continue to think ‘out of the box’ and look for ways to deliver the greatest added value.

In many companies, the CEO took the lead in communication which, coupled with more empathetic and people-oriented communication with a focus on well-being, meant that internal communication scored well overall. We were able to take our place at the boardroom table and play our role as a strategic connector. The challenge now is to maintain this momentum.

With a more human tone-of-voice, video as a format has also clearly broken through. It should be noted here that we must be careful not to suddenly want to bring everything in video as not all content is suitable for the video format. But the fact that we do not always have all our employees coming to the office for one-way information is also an advantage that we want to retain.

We have all experienced the importance of a strong company culture and informal connections between colleagues. We need to maintain and encourage that focus on culture and connection. Through the many Zoom and Team Meetings, we have got to know the kitchen/bedroom/pet/children of our colleagues. Let’s keep getting to know each other in an informal way in the office too.

2. What to let go?

Remote working has made micro-management almost impossible and we must also let go of managing teams based on presence instead of outcomes. It is the task/challenge for IC to support team leaders to communicate this.

A risk of digitalization is the incorrect use of all the tools. Determining the appropriate channel and format becomes an essential skill: when do you use e-mail, chat, a video, an article, etc.?

Not paying attention to informal moments, not giving space to ‘lost time’ by planning meetings ‘back to back’, these are habits we have to let go of. We don’t always have to be available either. It is also important, as an individual, to be sufficiently self-regulating and to protect ourselves by making good arrangements.

One pitfall we must not fall into is suddenly making everything digital or hybrid. Here, too, the challenge is to choose the right format for the task and we need to know what is better to bring live or digital only and what can be done in a hybrid form.

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