The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world in more ways than we can count, especially in terms of the way we do business.
While getting through the pandemic was a slog for many companies, it also forced many enterprises to evolve and taught us valuable lessons, especially regarding communication.
Here are some of the most important things the pandemic taught us about communication.
Communication Lessons Learned From the Pandemic
1. Video meetings are indispensable for businesses
If it were not for video meetings, many companies would have found it much harder to continue doing business during the pandemic.
Although video conferencing is far from new, it definitely became much more prominent during the pandemic because so many people were working from home. Because of this, many companies learned that a video meeting can be just as efficient as an in-person meeting.
Even though many office workers have returned to in-person work, video meetings are still being used as a means of communication far more than they were before the pandemic. This is largely due to the fact that many companies are still allowing some or all of their employees to work from home or other remote locations at least part time.
Since remote work is here to stay, so are video meetings, and they are therefore an indispensable tool for companies that want to foster strong communication and collaboration among their teams.
2. Companies need to plan how to communicate during emergencies
The COVID-19 pandemic surprised the whole world, to say the least. As countries around the globe locked down one by one and many people were not allowed out of their houses, let alone to their offices, many companies realized they did not have adequate emergency communication plans in place.
While some companies that already used tools like team chat apps and video meeting apps were able to maintain relatively fluid communications, others were not so lucky.
Many managers found themselves scrambling to communicate updates to employees in order to try and maintain some level of business continuity.
This shows the importance of planning for the unexpected, especially when it comes to communicating within a company during emergency situations, whether that be a pandemic, a natural disaster, or any other unexpected emergency scenario.
3. Working from home is just as productive as working in an office
Another vital communication lesson learned from the pandemic is that working from home is just as productive, or even more so, as working in an office space — provided you have the right communication tools.
With a combination of email, team chat, and video meetings, many companies were able to remain just as productive as usual during the pandemic, even with the majority of their employees working from home.
This goes to show that you don’t have to be physically next to someone to collaborate and communicate with them efficiently, which has big implications for the future of work.
Remote work opens up all kinds of doors for companies that previously only hired people who were located locally. They now have the potential to contract talent from anywhere in the world, knowing that they will be able to work just as productively with them via virtual communication channels.
4. You have to communicate with customers via social media
For many companies that relied on doing business in person with customers, such as restaurants and retail stores, the pandemic would have been far worse without social media.
The most agile brick-and-mortar businesses were able to maintain business continuity largely by changing their business models and communicating the changes to customers via social media.
For example, restaurants that focused heavily on social media were able to maintain high sales volumes by doing lots of to-go and delivery orders. And, retail stores were able to ramp up their eCommerce efforts to keep merchandise moving.
5. Being caring when you communicate matters
Everyone experienced the pandemic in different ways, and you never know what someone is going through at home — even in non-pandemic times.
Whether you’re talking to colleagues or clients, the pandemic really highlighted how important it is to be caring when you communicate with them.
At the end of the day, we are all humans, and caring communication goes a long way towards building good relationships, both in the workplace and out of it.
Many managers who were not compassionate when dealing with their employees during the pandemic learned the hard way that a job is just a job, and people will look for better opportunities if they are not treated with kindness at work.
Simply asking your employee or coworker if there is anything you can do to help them or support them in their job, especially during hard times, helps foster a close, collaborative team.
Additionally, things like short videos or social media messages directed at your clients, letting them know you care about them, can help build customer loyalty and improve client retention.
The pandemic was a learn-as-you go situation and, despite all the negative things that happened, some positive lessons have been learned, especially when it comes to communication.
Remember these five lessons when you’re looking for ways to communicate better in the workplace.
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