Engaging Current and Laid-Off Employees via Remote Communications
We hope these links and resources will help companies that have had to lay off employees, due to government orders, to keep in touch and ensure as many of their laid-off employees return to work as soon as possible.
Use your email marketing system
Whatever mechanism you use to communicate company-wide messages, consider including your laid-off staff, to keep them engaged.
- Send a weekly email out with updates and information. Newsletter style might be fine, but you should also consider more of a 1:1 email style and use personalization tools to help make it feel more personal. In the interest of getting the word out, don't over complicate it. If you have a template, it'd be fine to use, especially in the beginning.
- Keep the content informative and positive. It should definitely include hope about being able to get back to work and see them again. (Especially if your company culture fosters a family vibe).
- Keep it relevant and helpful to their personal lives. It may even include how they can supplement their income (depending on what % they are getting of former wages via unemployment). But, this is a tricky area.
- Share how they can use this time to connect with family and friends using free tools like zoom, hangouts, etc. Fun games to play with kids and how to manage the sudden “home schooling” part of their life. In short, try to help them find fun and positive things to do that help them through this time.
Create a private Facebook group for employees (or choose another platform, but Facebook is the easiest and has the most users)
How to Create a Facebook Group
To create a group:
- Click Create in the top right of Facebook and select Group.
- Enter your group name, add group members and then choose the privacy option for your group.
- Click Create.
Once you create your group, you personalize it by uploading a cover photo and adding a description.
Note: We recommend that group admins share any commercial or business affiliations in the group, as well as updating the group if affiliations change. You can update the group by changing the group description and making an announcement.
Content Ideas to Post in Your Group:
Your Facebook Group posts don’t need to be all about formal information. You can use it to create a vibrant space that helps build connectivity and lighten the mood. You can decide whether posts are allowed by all group members to the group page, and if so, whether or not the administrators of the Group must approve user posts before they go “live” (recommended).
A few examples:
- Fun memes and posted content drawn from other users’ Facebook posts using the Share feature
- Ask users for fun content, like Describe what your pets or kids are doing using the term “Co-workers”
- What are you getting done? Share your projects and successes
- What are you binge watching?
The key is to engage dialog and participation.
Conduct Facebook Live Events
Facebook Live is a broadcast video tool where you can create a video in real time that allows your viewers to participate in a virtual experience with you. It’s also semi-interactive, and allows viewers to send you comments, which you can respond to in real time. The Live session also archives when you stop the live stream, so people who missed it can watch it later on your Facebook page.
How to Create a Facebook Live Event
To go live:
- Click Create Post at the top of your News Feed.
- Click then click Live Video.
- Write something about your live video.
- Click Go Live in the bottom right.
Note: Use the Google Chrome web browser to go live from your computer.
You can use Facebook Live to share formal or casual information. Unlike a video conference call, Facebook Live features one presenter and your audience can interact via the Comments section. There is no chat feature in Facebook Live. For more interactive group experiences, you might consider ZOOM or Google Hangouts.
How Video Conferences can Reduce the Impact of Social Distancing.
Video conferencing allows you to have meetings and shared experiences that are the next best thing to being in the same room. Use of this tool can help stave off the added pressures of isolation. Morale is always important, and even more so during times of crisis or uncertainty. Besides standard use for meetings or presentations, you can host virtual social activities (lunch together, happy hours, trivia nights, etc.). Encourage your team to use these tools to stay in touch with friends and family as well.
Video Conferencing Tools (Instructions for Registration and Use Can be Access via Each Link)
This is not an exhaustive list. Please consult with your IT lead to identify the best solutions for your company
- Facebook Messenger (phone and video call capabilities)
- WhatsApp Messenger (phone and video call capabilities)
One-to-One or Group Calls:
- ZOOM (the free version limits calls to 40 minutes, subscriptions allow unlimited call time)
- Google Hangouts
Ideas & Tips For Home-Schooling (when you weren’t planning for it)
With nationwide school closings, each jurisdiction is handling the situation differently. Some schools are conducting courses online for part of the day and others are simply using vacation time.
Structured programs will keep the kids duly occupied during the period of the day they are “in school”. In addition to the added hardware you will need (laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.) it may be a good idea to contact your home internet service provider to ask about upgrades to speed or bandwidth, to accommodate the added load. Some companies may even offer this type of upgrade for free in this time of crisis.
Most school districts are either cancelling school altogether or offering distance learning. For situations where you will be expected to home-school your children, please consult with your school district about syllabus requirements and expectations, material packages and workbooks, etc.
Some articles that might help with ideas to navigate these new waters:
- NPR's 6 Tips for Homeschooling during Coronavirus
- New York Times: Homeschooling Tweens and Teens during Coronavirus Closings
- CNN: How “Regular School” Parents can Homeschool Their Kids
- The Kids are Your New Coworkers
This Might be a Great Opportunity for Kids to Take a Media Break! Here are a few ideas to get kids involved with hands-on activities — even trying something new — and off their phones:
- Arts/crafts projects
- Music, dance, play-writing and acting
- Science projects
- Reading and creative writing
- Watching educational programming and creating a project inspired by what they watched
- Exercise and indoor sports (or outdoor in a private yard)
- Helping to organize the garage, basement, kitchen, or another area of the house
- Start a business plan for an age-appropriate venture
- Have a listening day where you share the music you loved at their age
- For teens, volunteer with a local agency to help them make fundraising outreach phone calls, or have them shadow you while you do work for a few days
For more resources to help navigate these unprecedented times check out my other articles: