What is the new normal? As European economies open back up, most companies are attempting to define a new relationship with space.
Here in Dublin, non-essential employees in small to mid-sized companies have begun to trickle back into offices on a part time basis whereas in the larger multinationals, many are still working from home and some companies have handed in their leases and abandoned offices entirely because working from home has been such a success. Regardless of where you are on this spectrum, it will be months before your traditional hub of work is brimming with employees and for that reason, you need to think about videos more than ever.
In order to survive and thrive in our new not-as-physically-connected normal, you’re going to have to harness ever more engaging and innovative ways of communicating with your employees through the medium of video. You might not be able to go into all of your employees home offices, but your video can. So without further ado, here are 10 types of internal video that are going to help you embrace the New Normal.
Safety & Training
The world has changed significantly in the last six months and that takes some getting used to. Can you still chat around the coffee machine? Is it okay to stand over someone else’s shoulder as you review a document? What’s the proper restroom etiquette? Rules about social distancing are both a way to keep Covid-19 at bay until we can create a vaccine, and also to respect the space and comfort zone of your co-workers, but that doesn’t necessarily make them straight-forward. All workplaces are different and they tend to bring people into and out of contact in unique ways based on architecture, company culture, and personalities. A good training video addresses the unique challenges of social distancing in your workplace without lecturing or pandering. It won’t just help employees who are already back at work, it will help pave the way for those who have yet to return by addressing their concerns and showing them that their well-being will be protected when they return to the office.
Direction & Vision
Lack of daily contact with management breeds confusion, distraction and ultimately fear within a team. If a captain appears to be absent from the helm it’s easy for the crew to lose sight of their destination. But how to stay visible at the helm of the ship when your crew is spread across the city, or even the country/continent/world? Increasingly, both team leaders and c-level executives are turning to regular video content production to address their colleagues. These videos work best when they are focussed on the big picture (for the granular details we have Zoom calls) and are released on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. They certainly don’t replace video chats and phone calls, but they help set the tone for the next week or couple of weeks and highlight important themes and goals that easily fall by the wayside when people are cloistered in their homes. Although some people prefer to appear very formal in their videos, we have worked on others that have achieved great engagement by adopting a scruffier look and shooting in their homes as a way of showing that everyone is in the same boat. In this way, they aren’t just communicating, they’re actively working against that fatal sense of isolation that threatens to grip many employees in times like these.
When the going gets tough, the tough go live. As soon as global lockdowns started in March 2020, our largest clients didn’t cancel their upcoming events, they switched them to live streams. No one is arguing that a conference that was going to be attended in person will be the same when it’s viewed in a small box on your computer screen, but it’s still the best way to deliver your messages, live, to large groups of employees. Starting relatively simple, they can become as complex and inclusive as you would like, topping out with something that has all the excitement and immediacy of live television.
Here at One Productions, our office social calendar is usually pretty full so we felt the lockdown both inside and outside of the office. Then one of our producers hit upon the idea of making videos, that is, more videos, that we could shoot at home, then edit in the office to celebrate the raft of international holidays that currently fill our calendars. International Tea Day? Check. Easter? You bet. Even make-up-your-own-dance day. Each of these events saw us sitting down in our homes and shooting quick, fun videos on anything we had lying around, up to and including our smart phones. One of our editors would then take the footage and cut a little video.
Even if you don’t release yours to the world, office-made videos are a unique team-building exercise and utilise the performative nature of video in a new and surprising way. Whether it’s recipe videos, lip syncing competitions, or just a quick home tour, video is connecting people personally like never before. If you don’t believe us, try it: pick a theme and have a few of your team members make 30-second videos around it. We guarantee it will be an eye-opening experience.
Talk about money
How’s your company doing? No, really, is money coming in? Could it be doing better? How does this period relate to last year, or other difficult moments in your history? We’re sure you’ve been thinking about all these things quite a lot over the last few months and guess what? Everyone else at your company has too.
If you don’t control the narrative, rumour, conjecture and fear will take hold. Some of our biggest clients have started producing monthly videos that deal specifically with company finances so that every employee feels they have a stake in the future of the company. They aren’t always easy to watch – hey, it’s been a tough few months – but regardless of the message, all have been received warmly by their audiences because they are helping to allay fears and give employees a sense of where they are going and what they can do to help.
They’re coming home (to the office)
Remember when “home office” was an excuse to start the weekend early and employees were fighting tooth and nail to get away from their desks and onto their sofas? In a funny inversion of the good ol’ days, a lot of people are now clambering to get back into the office, at least for some of the week. The number of Zoom calls that your employees can still take while wearing pyjama bottoms will differ for each company; what won’t change is the need to clearly communicate when, where, and how you will be returning to the office as well as what employees can expect when they get there. Transition always breeds uncertainty and the new/old office induction video is all about allaying that uncertainty and cutting down on the time it takes everyone to get settled (back) in.
Are you okay?
We seem to be through the worst days of the pandemic, but it has taken a stiff toll on just about everyone’s mental health. After a year and a half of unprecedented physical and emotional strains, It’s good to let your employees know that you’re here for them if they want to talk about it. A video isn’t going to solve anyone’s struggles with stress and isolation but it can inform them of the services you offer to employees who are struggling through difficult times and help remind them that they aren’t alone.
Respond to the news
For the many businesses that actually increased revenues during the pandemic, employee uncertainty arose not from within the office but from outside it. The most agile internal comms teams are responding to the news with their own videos instructing employees on how the company will change (or not) with regards to the latest changes in the scope and severity of the pandemic. They are using video as a sort of PA system, like the one you had at school, that delivered the need-to-know news every morning. The key to this strategy is keeping a careful eye on current events and being able to craft cogent responses quickly.
Highlight the unsung heroes
A lot of people in your company have done a lot of extraordinary things over the past year. From the parents juggling their work with kids who weren’t in school, to the people who went shopping for elderly neighbors, the pandemic has created a lot of everyday heroes. Find their stories in your own company and amplify them with interviews and mini-documentaries.
…but don’t forget the leaders
Times of great uncertainty require people who are willing to lead from the front. That’s why your C-suite should be more visible than ever right now. Keep them in regular contact with the rest of the company through video addresses, especially ones that allow them to consider and address the concerns of their employees.
Once you’ve had time to mull on what’s right for you and your business, be sure to check out your next steps below:
Or simply talk to us today to get started on your project!