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By Kerry Needs   |  
November 20th, 2020

Communicating clearly through the challenges of COVID-19

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Disruptive is a word many businesses might use to describe 2020 so far.

It’s been a scramble for workplaces to get the right Health and Safety communications in place after COVID-19 disrupted the world as we knew it.

Every business needed to gather information, pivot their processes, and distribute critical communications at a moment’s notice. 

You probably asked yourself questions such as:

Have we put up adequate signage for employees?

Do our customers understand the one way system correctly?

Are we doing all we can to prevent symptomatic people entering the building?

With constantly evolving government guidelines, those communications may be in need of a refresh. If they are, you’re in luck!

We’re pleased to announce that we have partnered with graphic design experts Canva to launch a range of COVID-19 Health and Safety downloadable templates. These range from in-store posters, social media posts and stories. Best of all, they’re completely free.

These templates can help us communicate more clearly in the workplace as we move through the pandemic.

We’ve found there are two core ways that leaders can promote openness and transparency with their communications, in a way that will mitigate risk and build trust for both employees and customers alike:

#1 Prioritize communication and documentation

We recommend prioritizing concise and relevant communication and documentation. Without deciding on a clear safety message, information can easily be misinterpreted. 

Why prioritize these? Because now more than ever, businesses need to be a pillar of safety. This is important for both internal and external communications to reduce risk, and stay safe during the pandemic.

Focus on checklists:

Checklists keep us safe, and are an efficient and effective way to communicate a large volume of data at a moment’s notice. Utilise a company playbook to build your own early warning system that will prepare your business for the road ahead.

Use digital technology:

The public health crisis is evolving at a rapid rate, and no one knows what will happen from one month to the next. Digital tools such as iAuditor can help you stay on top of health and safety guidelines, and distribute the results of your safety checks to the public. Cloud data enables you to quickly share valuable communications such as ‘We’ve cleaned 137 surfaces throughout the month of June’

Make documentation and communication collaborative:

By making checklists and graphics collaborative, your team can easily update guidelines at a moment’s notice, refining your safety message as the COVID-19 rules change. Real time updates allow for communication to be prepared as a live government briefing is announced.

#2 Implement communication within your team

Once you have the health and safety information at your fingertips, it’s time to embed the safety culture within your teams.

Create a team for centralised communication:

By creating a team for centralized communication, you’ll know who your go-to guys are for getting accurate information and having their finger on the pulse. These are not just comms experts – they’re your crisis response team, acting like a task force. Harvard Business Review recommends that this team should be small, between 5-7 people.

Be honest in your messaging:

Openness and transparency are key. If you really don’t know when your building will be fully open again, just say so. It’s better to be honest than to mislead your customers and destroy trust. 

The same honesty extends to communicating with employees. In a crisis situation, a panicked response is natural. A 2020 Gallup survey found that 74% of staff felt they were missing out on important company information. The businesses that are the most transparent to their staff during COVID-19 will be the ones who foster loyalty and retention.

Post regularly in high visibility spaces:

Where do your audience congregate online and physically? Distributing pPosters in high footfall areas and social media posts at the most engaged times of day will ensure your customers and staff are kept informed on a need to know basis. Check pre scheduled posts for accuracy to make sure all of the information is up to date before they go out.

In a time of crisis, everyone looks to their leaders to provide direction. 

Is the guidance communicated easy to understand, accurate, and clear? 

Our COVID-19 checklists can help you navigate the health and safety response, and our elegant Canva templates will show your staff and customers you’re doing everything you possibly can to stay safe.

Explore the safety graphics templates by Canva, available for free download today 

Important Notice
The information contained in this article is general in nature and you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your specific needs. Legal and other matters referred to in this article are based on our interpretation of laws existing at the time and should not be relied on in place of professional advice. We are not responsible for the content of any site owned by a third party that may be linked to this article. SafetyCulture disclaims all liability (except for any liability which by law cannot be excluded) for any error, inaccuracy, or omission from the information contained in this article, any site linked to this article, and any loss or damage suffered by any person directly or indirectly through relying on this information.

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