7 Tips for Your Return-to-Work Communications

Alex Cleary

Internal Communications

Every business will experience some degree of interruption in its lifespan. To stay productive you need to be able to bounce back and get back to business as usual. 

Effective return-to-work communications help ensure your employees have the information they need to transition smoothly into a new version of office life.

Lessening the confusion around coming back to work also helps employees get back into their previous productive routines.

Your return to work communications plan will be unique to your business and employees, but we’ve put together some tips to help you get started.

We recommend using internal email software to create, send, and track important employee communications, like return-to-work guidelines. With ContactMonkey, you can ensure all your employees receive and understand the information you send them—see how in a free demo.

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The Importance of Return-to-Work Communications

During COVID-19, many businesses have had to adapt to remote work. And returning to the office after COVID-19 will be a big challenge. In this case, effective internal communication is not only a matter of maintaining productivity, but of keeping people safe.

With effective return-to-work communications, you can ensure that employees feel safe and capable of doing their best work. You’ll also make certain that your teams are aligned by providing regular updates, and ensuring that everyone is on the right track.

Why You Need a Return-to-Work Communications Plan

A return-to-work communications plan is a set of guidelines that employees can refer to whenever they need information. A plan for back to work communications is useful because it can:

  • Create a single authoritative source for information, reducing the likelihood of confusion or disagreement;
  • Act as a benchmark upon which you can revise and improve your return-to-work protocol

That second point is important. No one is going to get everything right the first time. There will be contingencies that you overlooked or procedures you could have employed.

That’s why identifying your best communications and learning from them can help reduce work interruptions in the future.

With ContactMonkey, you can directly compare the performance of your email campaigns side by side, from Outlook or Gmail.

Use email metrics like open rate, click-through rate, opens by device and location, and more to pinpoint exactly what you did right with your return-to-work communications content:

compare campaigns report

When you use a formalized return-to-work communications plan, you can determine if and how employees are making progress.

You can then use this information to inform how your business will deal with the next big work interruptions.

Planning templates help you respond quickly and effectively to incidents while the ability to thoroughly review the process afterward ensures that you improve in the future.

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Return-to-Work Communications Checklist

Your employees are unique, and how they handle the return-to-work will depend on how they understand any changes that have been made.

We’re not going to get into specific health and safety recommendations, but our communication methods can ensure your employees are up-to-date on the latest company policies.

Remember, many employees are going to be anxious about returning to work. The job of your communications is to understand and ease that anxiety. Here’s what you can do:

1. Use key messages

Coordinating hundreds and thousands of employees’ return to the workplace is a complex process. To avoid information overload on your employees, use key messages to get important points across.

Key messages are direct, easy-to-understand statements that recipients must understand and adhere to.

Using key messages helps build the authority of your internal communications among your employees. They will know that the information they are receiving is important and relevant to them.

Not all employees need the same information for returning to work; someone in Amazon’s warehouse will have different safety protocols than someone at their head office.

You should prepare different key messages based on who’s receiving the email. Then use distribution lists to ensure the right people get the right information.

ContactMonkey helps build the authority of your internal emails by personalizing them according to the recipient. Using merge tags, you can insert custom text into the body copy and subject lines of your emails based on who on your distribution list is receiving the email:

With ContactMonkey, you get the best of both worlds: easily send key messages to different distribution lists using mass emails, while still providing a personal touch using merge tags.

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2. Feature accessible resources

Now more than ever employees are looking to their employers for safety information than any other type of resource. As an internal communicator, you have to ensure your company’s relevant resources are easily accessible to employees.

It’s prudent to build a resources page that your employees can refer to when they need return-to-work information. Include links to this resource page on every relevant employee email you send out.

The more your employees get comfortable with checking the resource page, the more informed they’ll be about the latest safety guidelines.

Grab your readers’ attention with custom icons using ContactMonkey’s email template builder. Link to your return-to-work resource page using Icons, which are clickable images that you can link to important websites that are created on website builders like Boxmode:

Making information easily accessible for your employees is key to easing their anxieties about upcoming transitions. Emails built in ContactMonkey include responsive HTML, and display perfectly across all devices so your employees can read them wherever they are.

3. Listen to your employees

You can design countless return-to-work protocols to ensure your employees return happy and productive. But what good are they if you don’t even know how your employees are feeling?

As part of your back-to-work communications, ask employees pulse survey questions about their thoughts and feelings on returning to work. Some themes can include:

  • How are their commutes going to be impacted?
  • Do they require childcare now that they’re returning to work?
  • Are some employees going to continue working from home?
  • Do employees have health or safety concerns for returning to work?

Collecting employee feedback gives you qualitative evaluation that you can’t get anywhere else. With ContactMonkey, you can use emails to collect employee feedback, turning your emails into two-way communication channels.

Conduct pulse surveys using emoji reactions and gather in-depth feedback with anonymous employee commenting:

Improve return-to-work communications with pulse surveys

Employee feedback not only provides you with valuable insights, but helps employees feel heard and engaged. ContactMonkey makes collecting employee feedback with your emails super easy, see if for yourself in a free demo.

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4. Keep communication clear and consistent

Building on the idea of featuring key messages, the layout and format of your emails should help emphasize important information.

Put priority information first, and avoid using distracting visuals or media. There is a time and a place for elaborate emails. But when dealing with something like COVID-19 communications, it’s best to keep things short and simple:

return to work template

This Coronavirus message to employees was built in ContactMonkey’s email template builder in about 3 minutes. The content is organized using Rows so it’s easy to build around the information you want to feature.

In addition to clear information, sending emails on a consistent basis will help employees make reading it a part of their routine—or at the very least have a better idea where to look for that information.

With ContactMonkey, you can easily schedule your emails to be sent later to maximize their reach:

Return-to-work communications schedule send Gmail

You can inform your email sending times based on how your employees engage with your emails. With your campaign dashboard, you can measure how your email performed over time:

inform your return-to-work communications with internal communications analytics

Email metrics are an advanced aspect of your return-to-work communications plan. But a data-based approach to internal emails can make things easier. It enables you to both ensure that employees receive important information, and help measure their engagement during a transition. That way, you can improve it in the future.

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5. Ensure your recipients receive your information

You can use email metrics to help bolster your return to work program effectiveness.

Think back to how different key messages go to different groups of employees via distribution lists. If you track a certain employee group’s click-through rate on a link to a resource page, you can get an idea of how engaged that group is with your return-to-work guidelines.

This is just a small example of how to combine email metrics with your regular internal communications to help you pinpoint where you’re succeeding and where you need to improve.

All from with ContactMonkey’s campaign dashboard, you can measure in-depth metrics on your emails:

email analytics by location

You track overall email performance as well as individual recipient engagement with your emails. See how many times a particular employee opened your email or clicked on a link, and get a comprehensive picture of how your emails are received.

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6. Use templates to save time

Not everyone has time to build emails from scratch whenever a company-wide message when needed. But a dearth of time should not preclude a great-looking email.

ContactMonkey’s email template builder includes a library of pre-made email templates designed for all kinds of requirements :

Make return-to-work communications efficient with email templates

All of the email templates you create in ContactMonkey can be saved to your template library. So there’s no need to spend time redesigning your emails.

Mettler Toledo saved 25 days a year by switching to ContactMonkey for their internal communications—imagine the time you’ll save!

You can get our responsive HTML templates customized according to your brand and exact specifications with our Outlook Email Design Service.

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7. Use Visuals

During a period of transition, things can get overwhelming—especially when the change is unexpected.

Everything moves fast and your employees may feel like they simply don’t have time to read lengthy updates from your internal comms team.

Some staff will inevitably skim your messages in search for the key facts. To make sure they don’t miss out on any vital back-to-work communications, make things simpler through visuals.

Infographics and videos are particularly effective in outlining complex guidelines or providing instructions. In fact, they’re often more powerful than text alone.

That’s because humans respond more quickly to images and graphics, with some studies suggesting that they help us retain information better as well.

Using video for return-to-work communications

You can create a visually dynamic infographic with a step-by-step outline of what employees need to do on their first day back to work.

With ContactMonkey’s email template builder, you can easily embed images and infographics right into your employee email. You also won’t have to worry about them getting distorted as ContactMonkey uses responsive HTML templates that keep your emails intact.

Alternatively, you can create a video of your senior leadership team highlighting the key steps in your company’s return to the office. This is a great communication strategy for effective leadership.

ContactMonkey lets you easily feature videos in your emails. Simply copy your video URL, then paste it into your email template builder. You’ll instantly see a screen-grab of your video with an automatically generated play button overlay.

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Keep Your Teams Aligned With Return-to-Work Communications

Keeping your employees informed is key during a time of transition. When your workforce knows what to expect, they can better prepare and ask for clarification on issues if need be.

A return-to-work communications plan is an effective way to create a single source to which your employees can refer. Learn how to use an internal communications software like ContactMonkey to build the authority of your organization’s internal voice and give you valuable data about how your emails perform.

Help your employees get back to their best with a smooth transition aided by ContactMonkey’s internal communications software. Book a free demo to how we can optimize your email process and help you save time and boost productivity.