Less than one month ago, on March 20th, Intra2 launched an initiative to share examples of Covid-19 crisis communication on intranets. Until now almost 40 companies from Belgium, Denmark, England, Germany, Italy, and Sweden have shared over 100 examples in the Intra2 community.
You can get access to all examples shared on Intra2.com if you share own examples. Read more about how to get access.
- Intranets as THE media for crisis communication
- The intranet homepage as THE entry point
- Dedicated Covid-19 pages
- New ways of working
Intranets as THE media for crisis communication
It’s rather obvious that intranet managers find intranets the undisputed best media for crisis communication – being an easily accessible combination of news media, library, collaboration space, and working tool.
It seems however as if this understanding has become widespread and general. The very few comments I get showing differently seems to be caused by poor collaboration or even rivalry between the intranet team and the persons responsible for internal crisis communication.
One of the main ‘media challengers’ is emails. This is no surprise, especially in a situation when many are working from home with less access to the intranet than normal. But without the intranet as the central news portal, emails quickly become chaotic and everlasting.
The intranet homepage as THE entry point
The intranet homepage should also embrace access via different devices – e.g. mobile devices. Even if smartphones or tablets are not used extensively in normal times, it becomes far more important to have access 24/7 in times of a crisis. I hope to be able to do a special LinkedIn article later with some statistics, showing this.
A considerable part of the business potentials of an intranet is related to the intranet homepage. In times of crisis, the intranet homepage as a news portal becomes crucial, providing room and focus for Covid-19 updates.
However, it’s still important to find the right balance with other news. For some companies, Covid-19 has turned everything upside down. For others, much of the daily business continues almost as normal. The news on the intranet homepage must reflect this. Employees also need to find general information, working tools, and contact information to colleagues on the homepage – with or without Covid-19 crisis.
One of the important qualities of a well-designed intranet homepage is the ability to combine content for everybody with content targeted special user groups (via customization and personalization). Once again, the balance is different from company to company, which the homepage should reflect. The need for combining content for all and some employees is also relevant for Covid-19 information, as the consequences and precautions might differ due to type of work or responsibility.
Dedicated Covid-19 pages
ALL companies (please challenge me…) have made specific Covid-19 pages or sections on the intranet – with a clear and significant link or banner on the homepage. The format, scope, and type of content vary a lot, depending on how the Covid-19 affects the company and the employees. As Swedish and Danish Regions have the responsibility of hospitals, they have very elaborated and frequently updated Covid-19 pages or sections. You can see an example of this in my LinkedIn article about the Swedish region of Skåne.
Below is a list of the most typical content in the dedicated Covid-19 pages:
- Latest Covid-19 news
- Covid-19 news archive
- News from management / CEO (often on video, also from own 'home office')
- General information and guidelines concerning safety procedures and regulations
- Help for internal and external communication
- Link to external (official) Covid-19 information
- Internal resource persons
- FAQ / Q&A
- Instruction and help for working virtual / at home
A great number of companies have made special Covid-19 ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ or ‘Questions & Answers’ as this format is very apt for basic information about a clearly defined subject. Some companies structure the FAQ in different subjects, such as ‘How to avoid Colvid-19 virus/infection on the job’, ‘Changes in job routines’, ‘Legal rights and obligations, ’Working from home’, ’Traveling’, ’Holidays and time off’ etc.
FAQ / QA’s are not entirely new elements on intranets, but it’s the first time I have seen such widespread use. I’m quite sure the Covid-19 FAQ will be followed by more FAQ’s on intranets – in more or less sophisticated technical versions – as they represent a sound and needed focus on what’s on the users ‘top-of-mind’.
New ways of working
Besides information concerning precautions and actions dealing directly with Covid-19, the main other subject emerging on intranets is about ‘new ways of working’. There is no doubt that Covid-19 has meant an enormous challenge for working together, without physical contact. This has resulted in many variations of guidelines, good advice, and exchange of experiences concerning virtual collaboration.
This goes from very simple ‘How to’ concerning IT-tools to more general advice concerning ‘A good day at the home office’, with advice concerning breaks, exercising and how to maintain the motivation on your own.
However, it’s just as clear that this abrupt change in working habits imposed by Covid-19 has revealed a growing readiness for using digital media in new ways. And even if the motivation and competences for virtual collaboration vary between different companies and user groups, I’m sure the Covid-19 crisis will create a boost in remote collaboration and will entail changes in the way companies work together in the future.
About the author:
Mads Richard is the founder of Intra2.
Since 2000, he has helped more than 100 companies leverage the potential of their intranet and digital workplaces in a business-critical perspective by focusing on organizational and business strategic challenges and opportunities.
Mads has a Master of Arts in Communication Studies.