Well, here I am at 2:50am wide awake and watching an episode of The Mind of a Chef on Netflix. This bout with insomnia is the result of a lovely Turkish coffee enjoyed at Jerusalem Restaurant at a family New Year’s Dinner. Amazing the power of caffeine in the evening.
Anyhow, it called to mind the idea of what time of day means to relationship building. We think of regular business hours as the time that we spend in an office, check in on a time clock or feel obliged to do a task or think certain thoughts for which we are compensated.
The thing is that this has changed for so many people. Like me, my brother and his lovely wife, many people now pretty much work from home. This means that work time and downtime sort of blend into a foamy smoothie, which can be delicious or soul-destroying, depending on the mix of ingredients and your mood.
Good internal communications for a distributed company is kind of like making a life smoothie. You start with knowledge of your employees desires, dreams, workflows and personalities. Much of this can be achieved through clever targeted content analysis of email and text messages between employees over the corporate network. Next, you build messaging and workflow to inspire, assuage, motivate and sometimes even comfort. Comfort? But of course – who hasn’t had an anxious day and felt better after finishing a task that was outstanding? It’s a little endorphin reward from a well-known and (hopefully) emotionally neutral source.
So, internal communications managers: learn about who the work-from-home employees are. Then work with HR to get this knowledge. After that, communicate with them in a way that inspires, motivates and comforts them at times when they tend work or think, be alert and enthused or need a quick win when they’re down in the dumps. Work with operations management to add a workflow and tasking component to the message. That way you tie an idea to a feeling to a behaviour.
Voilà – an internal comms smoothie: parts employee communications, human resources knowledge and inspiring messaging/tasking.