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Overcoming Remote Worker Communication Challenges with Mass Notification

April 9, 2020
An organization’s ability to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus is going to rely on strong communication across its workforce.

Organizations are continuing to adapt to the changes brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, the most dramatic of these being the move to remote work.

As states have shut down non-essential businesses from gathering at their normal facilities, organization leaders have needed to find ways to overcome the challenges of communicating with their people while they are remote. Most regular communication methods are no longer accessible once people are off-site.

Without a tool in place to get critical messages in front of your people, you may be exposing them to unnecessary risk, contributing to confusion around new operation expectations, and further hurting your business continuity by impeding productivity.

An organization’s ability to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus is going to rely on strong communication across its workforce. That’s why many are turning to mass notification solutions to deliver attention-grabbing alerts that keep people informed and engaged.

Organizations typically use mass notification systems to alert large groups of people within their buildings about potentially dangerous situations. This could be an active shooter, chemical spill, approaching severe weather or any kind of event that would put people at risk. It utilizes devices and systems organizations already have in place, like desk phones, IP speakers, and digital signage and turns them into powerful safety tools by sharing critical safety information.

But the minute your people are no longer regularly using your facilities, those devices become ineffective when trying to share details about whether or not people should work from home. Now, mobile devices and desktop computers are quickly becoming the primary means organization leaders use to communicate with their employees.

With people working remote, their mobile phone will become an important tool for receiving updates. Mass notification systems can deliver alerts as SMS text messages, push notifications to a mobile app, emails and phone messages. While many organizations may default to using mass emails as their main method of communicating updates to workers, emails are easy to ignore, which is less than ideal when sharing information that impacts schedules.

Utilizing a multi-channel approach with mass notification helps ensure everyone sees a message and takes the appropriate actions given the information they have received. Communicating with text and audio also makes the information accessible to anyone who needs to receive it.

Depending on your organization, you may have sent workers home with laptops or desktop computers. These devices can also be an effective way to reach people while they are remote. Mass notification systems can deliver pop-up alerts to connected desktop computers with timely information. These messages can appear over any other running application to ensure the recipient knows important information is being shared. They can also include custom colors and even company logos to make it clear who is sending the message.

Mobile and desktop notification methods can also be used to check in on employees while they are remote. Mass notifications can give the recipient the option to respond to a message. This can be to confirm if they have read the message, so leaders know if they need to follow up with anyone. It can also be used to check in on your remote workers’ wellbeing. Sending notifications that include common coronavirus symptoms can also ask if the recipient is experiencing any of the symptoms. This gives leaders the opportunity to follow up with advice for contacting a person’s primary care physician and can help identify potential outbreaks within your organization.

Mass notifications systems also have the benefit of providing consistent messaging to an entire organization, helping to minimize confusion. With scheduled messages, organizations can provide daily updates that provide timely insights into the changing situation. This can also get recipients in the habit of checking their devices for updates at the same scheduled times. Regular updates can also help combat feelings of isolation workers may feel when they are remote for extended periods of time.

The coronavirus outbreak is a fluid situation with new guidelines and recommendations being shared at the federal and local levels almost daily. This situation requires ongoing management from organization leaders, and mass notification solutions can help key stakeholders collaborate on the best path forward. Following a mass notification distribution, the system can also automatically launch collaboration channels via tools like Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex Teams and conference calls. This is a more effective and less time-consuming way for organizations to gather the right people who can make decisions on how to proceed.

When the coronavirus outbreak dissipates, mass notification can be used to invite workers to return to their normal routines. This can help mitigate any delays that might be caused by someone not receiving an “all clear” notice. Organizations can also take advantage of a mass notification system long term to use for any kind of emergency they may encounter. Customizable message templates make it easy to create text and record audio for any kind of scenario that includes easy to understand safety instructions.

Your people’s safety should always be a top priority. With a mass notification system in place, an organization can overcome the challenges of communicating with remote workers by providing relevant messages on a regular basis to keep employees safe and informed.

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