Issue 25 March, 2015
Many of us work at a desk with a computer all day, and the default way to reach us often involves technology. This issue of Wordnerdery talks about how to reach the many employees who don’t have a desk.
How do you reach remote or "non-desk" workers?
A typical workplace is a “cube farm,” that cluster of modular office cubicles where people can pop up like gophers to chat across the dividers. But a workspace can just as easily be a mine, a retail sales floor, a room of sewing machines, the cab of a delivery truck or other location with little or no access to a computer.
How do companies talk to employees who don’t work in a cube farm? I polled LinkedIn groups related to employee communications, searched IABC’s Memberspeak forum and Twitter chats, and of course queried Google. Here’s what my research revealed:
There are more high-tech tools than ever supporting communication, especially vital for connecting with "raised-on-technology" generations:
- Videoconferencing and collaboration tools like GoToMeeting, Skype private groups, SharePoint, Basecamp, Google Hangouts, WhenIWork (Inc. talks about some of these)
- Internal social network tools like Yammer, Chatter, Jive
- Mobile messaging apps like Red e App, Ivytalk, SnapComms
- Texts to personal smartphones (with permission!)
- Google Glass for instant information, instruction and notification
- Podcasts, videos, webcasts, internal YouTube channels
- Digital signs
- Social media: blog posts, tweets, an intranet that feels like Facebook
- "Gamification" (ugh - a term I hate): quizzes, board games, interactive elements that make learning fun.
- Face-to-face gatherings like town hall meetings, pre-shift meetings, conference calls, safety meetings (timed to include all shifts)
- Print newsletters, bulletins, pay inserts, letters to the home, posters, postcards, flyers
- Shared computers in break rooms
- Email messages, an email newsletter with a link to a PDF version (printed out and posted for field workers)
- Toll-free hotlines for pre-recorded messages, news, emergency and weather-related closings.
- Support direct managers and supervisors – who are key sources of information – with communications tools, messages, scripts, Q&A, training
- Encourage feedback and provide different ways for employees to provide it, including surveys, polls, email
- Vary the format; use multiple options, including both high-tech and low-tech options.
Images: Shoe stitching by Panpote and FreeDigitalPhotos.net. Sue by Chris Salvo, salvophoto.com.