Communicating with Remote Employees

In times of uncertainty, communication with employees is more important than ever and easily neglected as we deal with each new crisis. Working remotely can lead to employees feeling isolated and alone.

First, it is critical to keep communication factual. Rely on information from the CDC, WHO, and your state’s Health Department. There’s a lot of speculation and sensationalism on the web, and employees need to know they can rely on you for information. Here are some communication ideas:

  • Create some fun. Have a virtual morning coffee meeting, send pet pictures, or enjoyable weekend ideas, or a video yoga session. Give people a chance to laugh and be present with one another.
  • Meet regularly. Short daily update meetings can help with feeling separated from coworkers and colleagues. It also gives managers a chance to answer questions that the group may have.
  • Send out messages about dealing with stress and fear. If you have an EAP or health insurance plan, they may have information or even videos about coping with a crisis. Share EAP information and encourage employees to take advantage of it.
  • Use multiple types of media. General updates and daily information may be delivered most easily by email, but other types of communication could work better by phone or video conference.
  • Stay abreast of current state and federal laws about COVID-19 that affect your business.
  • For furloughed employees, provide updates and information as you can without making promises. We know that every day brings a new set of challenges to businesses.

HR professionals are ideally situated to lead communication efforts. How we treat our employees now may be our legacy for a long time to come.