Coronavirus

20/3/2020

Over the last few days the team have been focused on helping our clients prepare for and communicate their approach to dealing with the coronavirus situation. So I wanted to take the opportunity to cover our own position on the Covid-19 pandemic.

We set two objectives with our coronavirus response:

  1. Keep our team, our clients, and those we come into contact with safe, sane, and healthy.
  2. Ensure not only operational continuity for everything we are working on but also that we are able to increase support for those that need it.

Many of the steps we are taking bridge both objectives, and most are variations of practices we already employed:

  • Our team are now fully remote working – half our team already work like this so luckily this is something we are already set up for. Our files, project management, proofing, operational, and financial systems are all cloud based.
  • Guidance has been given not only on how to remote work effectively from a quality perspective but also from a psychological perspective – keeping a healthy mind is vital.
  • All our team have phone, video call, and WhatsApp – so that communication with each other and with you is easy to facilitate beyond email.
  • Everyone is set up for screen sharing, and online collaboration tools so we are able to conduct both progress review meetings and creative planning sessions remotely.
  • We are holding twice daily internal video call meetings – as much to talk about non work as to discuss projects. We are trying to maintain some normality and keep an element of office chit chat.
  • The team are watching the daily briefings and news agenda so that we are up to speed with anything that might impact our clients or the industries they operate in.
  • We have been sharing information around our comms approach, the news briefings, and tactics for responding to the coronavirus situation – and will continue to do so.
  • Also we made sure the fridge was emptied and the plants watered before we left.

These are challenging times but we intend to rise to them and offer help and support where we can. At the moment I am considering setting up a group on WhatsApp or Facebook for us, our clients, and our contacts to share issues, best practices etcetera; and possibly another group for remote workers to talk about something other than work. I’m also considering if it worth setting up a weekly video call drop in session for people to ask questions about internal or external comms, remote working, anything that the team of incredible minds I have here at 3manfactory might be able to help with. If you’d appreciate being involved with either of these ideas please reply and let me know.

19/3/2020

With government guidance changing on a daily basis, and differing assessments over the human and economic impacts of Covid-19, there is a great degree of uncertainty and confusion for people at the moment. The psychological effect of influences like this should not be underestimated, it can impact feelings of depression, ambition, hope, and alter our behaviors, sometimes in an unrecognisable and unpredictable fashion. Panic buying toilet rolls being a case in point.

A clear and consistent communications plan can really help assure concerns that your employees, customers, suppliers, the marketplace , and general public may have.

Our advice is to:

  • Have a single source of truth for your position on the Coronavirus, ideally a top level page on your website – messaging across other channels can then direct people back to this point. This is where your most detailed information should be and kept updated as things change.
  • Breakdown your single source of truth information into smaller elements to then share across other channels and link back to your single source of truth page where possible.
  • Make direct personal contact with your key stakeholders, by either picking up the phone, sending a WhatsApp, or a personal email to find out how they are being impacted and to explain your approach. 
  • Make sure you don’t forget your internal comms, people are bound to be worried, and even just letting them know that you have a plan will help reassure.

These are all things we are likely already working on with you but please feel free to share this advice. 

As many of us are going to be moving to work from home in near future, or may have already done so, I’m going to share some details later today around our remote working practices covering both some of the processes and applications we use, but also our thoughts on how to work from home effectively.

16/3/2020 (2nd update)

The government has just put out new guidance which includes:

  • Asking anyone displaying possible symptoms to self isolate for 14 days, including everyone else in their household. 
  • Reduced contact, social distancing, between people, with home working recommended, non essential travel to be limited, and gatherings both large and small avoided.
  • People in high risk groups are being advised to self isolate for 12 weeks regardless of symptoms.

They have not recommended school closures yet.

If you need help with communicating this to your customers and employees, or would like advice on robust processes and systems for home working and/or video conferencing please let me know.

16/3/2020

The impact of the current Coronavirus pandemic is likely to be far-reaching, not just affecting industries directly such as health, leisure, and travel. It’s also likely that we may experience a domino effect as parts of the supply chain slows down, or even stops, as strain is placed on organisations if people are sick in greater numbers, or unable to work as a result of childcare duties and school closures.

The near future is likely to create a lot of uncertainty and worry for the marketplace at large; your customers, your suppliers, and your workforce. In times of uncertainty, maintaining strong lines of communication is vital. If you still need to agree a comms plan, then we are on hand to advise and help develop this. If this is the case, then please call us as soon as possible.

If you already have a plan then we can help ensure that your agreed messaging is communicated effectively, either through advice and appraisal or by directly assisting with distribution and community engagement. For assistance or support with any pre-determined comms plans, please share any formal or informal plans, company policies, or messaging you have around the virus outbreak with as soon as possible.

Messaging is likely to be changing in line with government announcements through the week, and whilst this is likely to be a confusing, delicate time for businesses, we want to do all we can to aid in communicating your comms plan efficiently.

We have made some changes to our own operations in order to minimise the risk amongst ourselves and our clients.

  • We’re going to be working flexibly and are fully set up for working from home, should this be required.
  • Anyone who shows any symptoms is being asked not to come into the office and to self isolate for a minimum of 7 days.
  • We are also rearranging all face to face meetings to be either phone calls or video calls until government guidelines change.
  • Workshops, particularly any planned within the immediate future, will now only be run on our premises, and with limited numbers. Our team here will be in touch about these directly should there be any planned for yourselves.

We’ll be monitoring government updates in order to guide our advice, over the coming days, weeks and possibly even months. Let’s ensure we are all as prepared as we can be for what’s to come. Once people come through the other side of the outbreak, the economy will rebalance with people wanting to pick commercial projects back up that were placed on hold and get back out spending after going through lockdown – let’s do all we can to ease the burden in the meantime.

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