The return to the workplace may be a strange and concerning one for many of your staff members.
As internal comms leaders, you have a responsibility to prepare people for the return in a way that not only reassures them, but also empowers them to take control of their own care in the workplace.
Organisations need to provide the confidence that premises aren’t just sanitised and secure, but that buildings and facilities are operating in a seamless manner.
To maintain morale, wellbeing and employee efficiency, an orderly, flawlessly executed return of the workforce is absolutely fundamental.
Video provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate and show how the workplace has been prepared for the return. You can use video to provide guidance to assist in the process of bringing colleagues back to safe and efficient workplaces that may be differently configured to the ones they used before.
One way to do this is to provide a ‘video journey’ around your new office space, covering such important issues as desk spacing, elevator access, hand wash stations and so on. You can even film how-to guides for best practice in using public transport as they travel to the office.
In particular, you will need to show how you have redefined your use of the workspace to ensure that physical distancing is possible. This may include: workplace redesign on the use of desks and operational areas; defining your occupancy policy for meeting rooms and shared areas; and defining your occupancy and spacing guidance for common areas such as elevators, stairways and corridors.
Video provides the best way of showing your staff that everything has been considered for workplace return, because it does so with a human face.
To keep things really memorable, I recommend that you focus on creating video snippets of around 15 to 25 seconds long. Each of these should focus on a single area rather than attempting to cover everything in one two minute video. People’s attention spans are very short, especially with such a dry subject as this!
You should aim to focus on mixing up the content of your video with not only live action but also graphics such as text, animations or infographic style sections – it breaks up the flow of the videos and makes them more visually digestible.
And edit your snippets snappily by showing sequences of actions rather than trying to explain things at length. A well-edited fast cut video showing a sequence of events as examples is much easier to understand than a lengthy explanation via a piece to camera.
Here are my ten points on how to use video to prepare, reassure and empower colleagues on their return to the workplace.
Demonstrate the appropriate wearing of PPE, where it can be found, how to wear and use it – and its safe removal, sanitisation and disposal.
Explain the requirements for handwashing in the workplace, and at what times. Demonstrate effective handwashing techniques.
3 Physical distancing:
Demonstrate the requirements for physical distancing by filming people standing together. Show how to maintain physical distancing in different areas of your office.
4 Changes to workspace areas:
Show how workspaces have been changed to allow for improved physical distancing, for instance any zoning of the workplace and recording of people who are moving between each zone; and any desks that are left unoccupied.
5 Meeting rooms:
Likewise, demonstrate the use of meeting rooms and any changes to enable physical distancing such as seats being left unoccupied.
6 Other shared spaces such as corridors:
You may also choose to introduce one-way systems to avoid crossing in corridors and stairways, and reducing shared resources such as libraries, magazines, and fruit bowls. Show any changes and demonstrate effective ways of dealing with the changes.
Demonstrate any new procedures to queue management for people waiting for lifts, to allow for physical distancing, with information on healthy lift use protocols such as passenger limits and safe distances. Show where attendants will be and how they can help.
8 Food services:
Demonstrate access to food services, and the procedures for buying and eating food, and how to deal with any dividers between service providers and staff. Signpost queuing areas.
9 Fitness facilities and bicycle storage units:
Again, signpost your queuing areas. Demonstrate how equipment should be used in order to achieve physical distancing. Demonstrate effective use of face masks during training.
Show your new policies around toilet usage, including reduced access and one-way systems, partial decommissioning or screening between urinals.