If your business uses a hybrid work model, having an internal communications strategy is more important than ever to keep operations running.
Over 60% of employees cited poor communication as a reason to quit their job. With teams divided between the office and home, more effort is needed to ensure everybody knows how, why, and when to communicate information.
It’s normal for a previously office-based business to face challenges with internal communication when moving to a hybrid work environment. The best way to overcome this is to build a reliable strategy that your team is aware of.
Here’s how to build an internal communication strategy to keep your hybrid team working seamlessly.
Why is it Important for Hybrid Teams to Prioritize Internal Communication?
Internal communication holds together businesses in moments of uncertainty and even crisis, but it is also crucial to maintain collaboration and prevent employees from feeling isolated.
Even positions that work mostly by themselves will either need to report to others, pass on projects or manage employees. Having strong internal communication creates awareness of workloads, ensures deadlines are met, and keeps employees informed across departments.
While many businesses once relied on word of mouth and emails to pass information, hybrid offices need a strong communication strategy to ensure nothing gets overlooked.
The passing thoughts you have about a project can easily be forgotten if you’re working from home, and there’s no such thing as asking the desk next to you a ‘quick question.’
Everybody should be on the same page about how to give and receive information, feedback, and support when working between the office and home.
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The Challenges of Internal Communication in a Hybrid Office
Unsurprisingly, poor internal communication can have long-lasting effects on performance, productivity, and even the bottom line.
Look out for these challenges when considering how to improve or build your strategy:
1. Unreliable Technology When Working from Home
If you don’t have a hybrid work policy that requests a good internet connection when working out of the office, the chances are your team’s connectivity will vary.
When deciding upon how to uphold internal comms, it’s important to consider everyone’s access to the internet wherever they’re working from.
2. Consistent Brand Voice Across Communications
Without instant access to ask colleagues to look over an email or social post, it can be hard to ensure your brand voice is being upheld across comms. Occasionally this will mean emails are sent or content is posted that doesn’t reflect the brand.
Make sure everybody has access to a document or guide for the tone of voice and brand messaging to avoid simple mistakes like this.
3. Lack of Visibility Over Colleague’s Work
There are two levels to having visibility of colleagues’ workloads. From a management perspective, understanding what your employees are working on is crucial for time management and productivity.
From a colleague’s point of view, having awareness of what your teammate is working on allows you to make an informed decision on looping them into a project or asking for advice.
In an office, you have a much clearer perspective of when people are working with their heads down, so it’s important to find a way to communicate this when people are also working from home.
4. Less Opportunity to Gauge Employees’ Moods
While most of us try not to let our moods impact our work, sometimes it’s inevitable. When working from home, management is less able to tell when somebody is unhappy at work or feeling unmotivated, and it becomes more difficult to address the roots of these problems.
Your internal communication strategy doesn’t just need to work across the business side, it should also maintain clarity on your team’s feelings and motivations when they’re not in the office.
How to Build Your Internal Communication Strategy
If you’re having difficulty navigating the above challenges, here’s your guide to building an internal communication strategy that works for employees both in the office and at home.
Define the Goal for Your Strategy
Which areas are you struggling the most with? Do you need to streamline your customer service, hand off projects more efficiently, or build a stronger rapport with your team?
You may need to address multiple challenges in your communication strategy, so solutions will vary according to each one.
Find Tools that Work For You
Not every hybrid business needs to have daily Zoom meetings and work on Notion (although we are a big fan of it).
The tools you use to communicate internally will be highly dependent on job role, responsibilities, management, and how your hybrid work model works.
If you’re all in the office multiple times per week, you won’t have the same reliance on virtual meetings as a business that come together once per month.
Before rolling out a new tool to your entire team, research and even try it for yourself. The goal is to make internal communication as easy as possible, rather than present another hurdle.
If you’re unsure of where to start, we kick off our list of top 10 must-have hybrid business tools with Communication Tools. Use our guide to discover what could work best for your business needs.
Make Decisions Based on Who’s in the Office and When
If you’re trying to decide when to hold meetings, kick off projects or sit down with your team, the chances are you’ll want to pick a time and day when the majority of people are in the office.
Desk booking tools such as Officely, offer an overview of who’s booking in and when. You can pull data from previous weeks or look at future bookings to find the most convenient time for everyone.
Visibility around booking into the office is an important part of successfully running a hybrid internal comms strategy; with those insights, you can understand which tools will be most helpful and organize touch points based on office activity.
Beware of Micro-Managing
When you move to a hybrid business model, you should have the same expectations for output and your employees. Often, teams overcompensate for the reduction in in-person contact by increasing meetings, which reduces productivity time for your team.
If you’re entrusting your team to work from home, you need to consider how to compensate for the lower visibility of their work, without making life harder for your employees.
Ensure any new communication tools (such as Slack), or new meetings, are introduced with the goal of maintaining productivity, rather than to micro-manage those not in the office.
Be Open to Feedback
As with any strategy implementation, you need to hear whether it’s working or not from those who use it most. Feedback doesn’t just mean criticism, it also means finding out what is or isn’t working and getting to the bottom of why.
Check in with your colleagues and teammates to ensure they feel they can communicate and collaborate more effectively with the strategy in place.
Don’t Let Collaboration Slip at Your Hybrid Office
One of the biggest challenges faced by new hybrid employees is maintaining the same level of collaboration without seeing teammates face-to-face.
A strong internal communication strategy takes on board the needs of the business and employees alike.
Keep your strategy relevant by tracking office attendance to find out when and how often your employees are coming into the office. Officely plans start free of charge and only increase depending on your office usage!
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