Internal Communication Blogs

Covid-19 and internal communications: the positive impact of the pandemic

As the end of 2021 is coming close, we’re looking back at another year overshadowed by the pandemic. Although the impact of the pandemic is mainly negative on a lot of areas in our lives, it has also had a positive impact on internal communication. In this blog, we describe how Covid-19 has positively impacted internal communication and how Netpresenter has helped our customers use internal communication to their advantage during the pandemic

According to Gartner, Covid-19 dramatically raised the topic of employee communications to a strategic level, with IC having an impact on crisis communication, business continuity, and employee wellbeing. Additionally, the demand for Employee Communication Applications has increased substantially. Internal communication has now got a ‘seat at the table’, and that’s not a surprise. These are three ways in which Covid-19 has impacted internal communication positively:

  1. Effective digital collaboration and connection
  2. Physical and mental wellbeing is now prioritized
  3. Greater visibility for internal communication

1. Effective digital collaboration and connection

At the start of this pandemic, the importance of connection and digital collaboration became monumental overnight. Organizations across the globe thus have been searching for new ways to connect their employees to the organization, to leadership, and each other. Many have widely adopted new digital collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams.

Digital collaboration and connection can never replace the benefits of face-to-face communication. However, organizations may now be focusing more on connection and engagement than they did pre-pandemic. Digital connection through, for example, an employee communication platform can decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation and boost engagement levels within an organization

“Netpresenter helps engage all employees working at home to stay connected with the company”

– review on G2

Connection and engagement through screensavers

Our customer, the Municipality of Sittard-Geleen in the South of the Netherlands, has been using our platform to connect and engage their remote workers. Remco van Rijt, Sittard-Geleen’s Digital Communication Advisor, explains how Sittard-Geleen has found new ways in which technology connects employees: Connection is an important part of our organizational culture. It has become even more important now we’re all working remotely.”

“We’ve been using Netpresenter to close the physical distance between our colleagues and the organization. We use the screensavers to show messages that encourage a sense of connection and engagement, such as photos of the municipality or projects that make us proud. Everything my colleagues and I do during our work; we ultimately do that for the people who live in Sittard-Geleen. Through these messages, we create a connection with the municipality and encourage a sense of pride in the municipality and our work.”

2. Physical and mental wellbeing is now prioritized

How hopeful we all were in March 2020: we’ll be out of this in a couple of weeks. Yet, the impact of this pandemic unfolded, and we quickly realized this is a marathon, not a sprint. The coronavirus has obviously increased risks for our physical health. But bereavement, isolation, loss of income, insecurity, fear, and fatigue have increasingly triggered mental health conditions or exacerbated existing ones.

Organizations quickly realized that the conversation about mental and physical health is important to keep their employees going and healthy. While each person’s experience of mental health is different, being able to relate and feeling seen and understood can really help on a bad day.

Organizations and leaders have thus been highlighting employee benefits such as mental health support or gym membership discounts. Employees’ personal stories can be shared on an intranet like SharePoint or a public platform such as Microsoft Teams or a corporate mobile app. Weekly CEO messages or videos have been spread across organizations to give employees a shot in the arm.

Seeing messages that show your coworkers and leaders go through similar, relatable struggles can positively influence mental health. Organizations and internal communicators have been working to openly address these issues to offer support to their employees and will continue to do so in the future.

Another communication trend has been the use of polls and pulse surveys to track an organization’s wellbeing and sentiment. These short and frequent surveys allow organizations to ask their employees how they are doing in real-time. The survey results enable organizations to act accordingly if their employees’ wellbeing is substandard.

“Netpresenter has been a great tool for us to have before and during COVID!”

– review on G2

3. Greater visibility for internal communication

Since the start of the pandemic, internal communication has been crucial for connecting leaders and organizations with their employees. This has put internal communications in the strategic spotlight. Covid-19 has created a shift in how internal communication is viewed, with more senior leaders beginning to understand and positively supporting and viewing the function.

Internal communications didn’t just do its part – it was the solution to ensuring engagement and connectivity with remote workers. Internal communicators have kept the news flowing, the troops informed, and the morale resilient. It has come as no surprise that more internal communicators were speaking directly to their senior leaders than ever before.

Our customer Smurfit Kappa has also seen this increase in the importance of internal communication. Smurfit Kappa has started using their corporate screensaver more than ever during the pandemic. Arjen Warners, System Administrator at Smurfit Kappa, explains why: “If you work from home, there’s a lot of communication and news you just miss. We’ve chosen for these messages on our screens to keep us informed of what’s going on.”

“If I go for a walk or a cup of coffee, the screensaver would be activated when I got back. I was often triggered to read all the messages that it showed. Corporate often publishes videos, especially at the start of the pandemic. When one of these videos starts playing, you’re definitely stimulated to watch it in full. It’s a great tool to keep everyone up to date constantly.”

“A good example is the Covid-19 instructions that can change on a very short-term notice. Netpresenter is making sure everybody is updated on the rules that apply on this day.”

– review on G2

The negative impact of the pandemic will hopefully fade away once everything is back to ‘normal.’ However, let’s hope these positive changes stay! Do you want to make sure they do within your organization? Schedule a free 30-minute demo to see what Netpresenter can do for your organization. Or get in touch with our consultants; they are happy to help you spread the positive impact of great internal communication.

Bente
Bente Pieters

Bente is, besides a language purist, a communication wizard. She knows all internal communication ins and outs and likes to share these in impeccable language. In her spare time, you can find her at the gym or reading books at home.