Communicating about Covid-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

We must have all heard about Covid-19 virus (Novel Coronavirus) and by now and many will be keeping an eye on the latest outbreaks and updates from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Many large companies will have already communicated to their employees about how to prepare for any incidents relating to Coronavirus among their employees.

The role of internal communications

There are so many reports online, some with complex explanations and many with speculative content, which stir up rumours and concerns, so it is very important that we communicate clear facts and advice to employees.

Before communicating

Liaise with the business continuity team and discuss their major incident response plan. And agree what should be communicated to each level, for example:

  • All employees need to know:
    • how to prevent or slow the spread of any infectious virus as a general practice
    • to follow the simple hygiene rules of catch it, bin it, kill it
    • how to identify if they have symptoms of the virus and what actions they should take (stay home, call NHS direct on 111 and inform line manager of symptoms, follow the advice given by NHS 111
  • All people managers need to:
    • know how to keep their team informed
    • make sure their team feel supported and feel comfortable if they need to take time off. All too often employees can feel pressure or anxiety about taking time off, so it is essential they know it is ok to stay at home
    • consider if accommodations can be made to allow remote working
  • All office/senior managers need to:
    • Clean facilities to enable the site/office users to follow hygiene advice
    • Ensure all site users are aware of all hygiene facilities and what you expected of them while on site
    • Display all advice sent out from the company communications team
  • The communications team need to:
    • Determine the most effective channel(s) of two-way communication
    • inform employees which channels will be used to communicate information (intranet, email, text, Yammer etc.)
    • keep all employees informed with the latest advice and company response (agreed with business continuity team)
    • communicate in a timely fashion by;
      • preparing communications to use in the event of any reported cases of coronavirus among employee(s), and all actions that must be taken by those who may have come into contact with the affected employee(s)
      • knowing which channel is best used for each demographic (online, offline etc.)
    • keep the business continuity team and HR informed of any concerns, reports of infection etc

Call NHS 111

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