Planning Communications for Phasing Back to the Office

As I’m sure much of the content you’re reading right now reiterates, COVID-19 has changed life as we know it. We at akhia are starting our eighth week of remote work, and so much in the world is different. But businesses are slowly starting to open back up and phase into the new normal, and we must think through not only how our business has changed but also how we will manage communications to our audiences.
Enter the akhia Solve 2.0 tool. This is a unique tool we developed to help our clients think through a communications plan for the next 30, 60 and 90 days. And if you missed my Facebook Live on akhia’s channel about it and have a moment to check it out, please do so!
Let’s start with your brand. Chances are your brand, mission and values have not changed. In fact, they are more important than ever. Continue to lean on them and use them as your guiding light in all your decisions and communications, both internally and externally. Here are a few thought starters as you begin planning for the coming weeks and months:

-What do your employees and customers need now that is different than what they needed before?

-What trade shows have been postponed or canceled that you would have attended, and how will you maintain that presence with your customers?

-Will your organization be launching new products and solutions, and how should launch communications be shifted?

In general, 2020 plans are likely changing, and new goals and success metrics must be defined to help set priorities and expectations.  
And how about your customers? Their needs are evolving as well, most likely based on organization size, industry and location—and those variables need to be considered as we continue our touchpoints.

-Alignment between marketing and sales teams is more important now than ever. Lean on your sales and customer service teams to learn what customers are saying right now, what their concerns are and how their businesses are weathering. These insights will help you steer your approach.

-Supply chain disruptions are another important consideration right now. You may have to communicate changes in shipping and delivery dates; properly managing messages of changes in service is important and can have a long-term effect on your customer relationships.

-Your organization and customers may have learned new tools that you don’t plan on getting rid of anytime soon. For example, perhaps your services team may be able to troubleshoot for a customer using Zoom versus hopping on a plane, saving money and creating efficiencies.

A subsector of customers that need their own separate considerations is distributors. If you do sell through distributors, stay close to them in the same way you do your customers. They are just as important in your chain of business.
And last but certainly not least, your employees are the ones most directly affected by your decisions and communications efforts. Understanding that everyone’s situation is different, and many have mixed emotions about coming back to the office, we must consider their personal journeys and needs. To help ease everyone’s minds:

-Keep communicating frequently the organization’s careful plan to get them phased back to work.

-A survey could be a nonthreatening way to gauge thoughts, concerns and questions they have about coming back to the office.

-Ensure every piece of communication has a call to action and a forum for employees to ask questions.
Want to get started on your 30-day plan? Browse our Solve 2.0 tool, and talk to your akhia team member today. Or, feel free to email me at