“Change is the only constant in life.” – Heraclitus of Ephesus
The phrase above has started countless presentations, articles, speeches, blogs () and probably even books throughout the ages.
And certainly, we have seen many changes – both in our professional and personal lives – because of COVID-19 lately. Unless you’ve been on a strict media diet or sequestered on a desert island, you know what I mean so I won’t bore you with too many details here.
But we should all agree new work from home arrangements have separated many employees and changed workstreams at many companies. As employees in some areas and businesses return to the workplace, new safety protocols have changed the way employees arrive, meet, work, and socialize when in the workplace. And while some employees have returned to the workplace, many – in the same companies even – have remained working from home.
For the work-from-home employees, this isolation from day to day in-office routines, from workstreams that included face-to-face conversations and meetings, and from the physical aspects of the culture of the workplace can be a drag on productivity and morale. And for the employees now back in the office, the removal from the workplace of many of their colleagues can also have a negative impact on their work.
Take the example of one of our customers at a large pharmaceutical company who works in information technology support. She has been required to work from home since early March, while many of the colleagues she works with and many of her internal customers have stayed in the office. She used to rely on many daily informal conversations to partially inform her daily priority list and now must reach out to colleagues virtually or rely on newly implemented communication systems and protocols to inform her.
For her and her colleagues, like many, a communication gap has emerged. Gone are the informal discussions that occurred walking in from the parking lot or passing in the hallways or breakrooms.
But technology offers a way to regain some of the lost communication and productivity and shrink the gap by shifting workstream conversations to platforms like Teams and Slack. And the face to face meetings have been replaced and augmented by Zoom and Teams (and other platforms). And email (while still as cluttered as ever for some) is still a necessary medium for critical asynchronous communication.
So what is digital signage’s role in this new hybrid workplace?
The answer may depend on the interconnectedness of a company’s internal communications platform. For stand-alone digital signage systems, certainly displaying messages about new safe office working protocols provides a valuable benefit to many businesses.
But for more extensible systems – ones integrated with other enterprise applications and capable of pushing messaging beyond the digital sign – the benefits don’t end with displaying messages in the office. Digital signage can be used to bridge the gap between the home office and remote employees.
We are seeing users of our employee communications platform create and share a series of employees’ home office workspaces on in-office signage. With our integration with Microsoft Teams, these vignettes can even be shared from the employee’s desktop in a Teams channel and broadcast in the office on integrated digital signage displays. This adds a personal touch to the in-office communications and reminds those employees back in the office that there are still colleagues in areas not yet ready to return to the workplace.
We also have customers going the other direction and taking digital signage content meant for in-office displays and embedding digital signage players in iframes on employee intranets, in mobile apps and even linking to them in emails for web-browser viewing. In this way, the work-from-home employee’s desktop browser is used to keep in touch with what is being broadcast to the larger groups. The shared messaging helps reinforce company culture and focuses on keeping all employees engaged with work, no matter where they sit.
Change the way you think about digital signage and consider it a part of the larger communication eco-system and you’ll bridge the gaps created by our ever-changing working environment.
Contact Korbyt today to find out more about strategies to bridge internal communication gaps between remote and in-office employees during COVID-19.