COVID-19: 5 Insights on Communicating Differently

June 15, 2020

Our team recently distributed a non-scientific survey asking respondents to tell us how they stayed connected with their teams, how work patterns changed, and how they adapted to the pandemic in their respective workplaces. Some results – like the increased use of videoconferencing and feelings of disconnection to co-workers prior to March 2020 – are not surprising. A few others, however, were interesting to our team.

Using videoconferencing to communicatenull

While 97 percent of respondents found videoconferencing a very or somewhat effective way to communicate, there was clear feedback that too much videoconferencing leads to fatigue and burnout.

Like with all meetings, the purpose and goals of a Zoom meeting should be clear. You want to ensure others feel the meeting is an effective use of time. Not every team interaction needs to be, or should be, a Zoom meeting.

Interestingly, almost everyone – 89 percent – likes videoconferencing, and many people are getting used to seeing themselves on camera. Yet, we know many people are uncomfortable being on camera, often because we do not spend much time looking at ourselves every day. With repetition, seeing ourselves on video becomes more comfortable. 

Connectivity to teamsnull

Approximately 44 percent of respondents feel less connected to their team than before the pandemic

Despite the increase in videoconferencing, the technology does not replace face to face interaction for building relationships.

Harder to accomplish goals

Fifty-six percent of respondents said it took either more effort or much more effort to accomplish their business goals with team members.null

As would be the case with any significant change, teams should take time to adjust while noting gap areas they need to address in reestablishing guidelines for engagement. A team needs to continue rallying around the same desired goals and outcomes.

Trust increases

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Trust in leadership remains important as ever: Respondents said that trust in leadership has increased (42 percent) or stayed the same (46 percent) since the beginning of the pandemic.

As communications advisors, our team can verify that crises often have the ability to bring people together. We have seen many companies ramp-up their communications efforts and hopefully this will continue after the pandemic.

Consistent communication is crucial for building and maintaining trust.

Importance of written communicationnull

More than 50 percent of respondents preferred to receive communication in a written email from company leadership during the pandemic.

Perhaps this is an outlier reaction as a result of the pandemic. It may suggest, however, that business leaders should reserve email for providing organizational updates or changes, and use videoconferences and phone for “one on one” connections.

In short

 The more things change in the way we communicate, the more they stay the same.

Wixted & Company has advised several clients throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and other crises on how to reach their business potential through communication goals. As you move forward, consider the insights above as you engage with your team and external stakeholders.

 

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By: Ryan Curell

Ryan brings more than 10 years of retail, consumer public relations, issues management and corporate communications expertise to Wixted and Company. With prior experience at Walmart and Sprint, he has led communications efforts on many public relations and product campaigns. As Communications Advisor, Ryan helps clients with messaging development and training, strategic communication and media relations.