Reflections on the work of a communications team during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Early on in the current crisis I wrote some thoughts on the ways we were working to deal with the demands on our team.
Those early days were very much about coping with emergent and rapid demands to communicate. By necessity these often had to be dealt with in a disconnected way, focusing on them more as individual issues rather than as part of a coherent narrative.
We also had to work in very different ways, barriers between teams were blurred, functional responsibilities changed and governance structures were streamlined. This brought both opportunities for people to broaden their areas of responsibility but discomfort for others.
Overall the focus was keeping our heads above water, delivering the work in a timely way and not dropping the ball. As the pandemic has moved on so has the way we’re trying to deliver our work.
The workload is still significant and the demands rapid. But since the early days of the pandemic we’ve been able to establish new ways of working to help move us in a more proactive and strategic direction.
Central to these have been regular check in points for the immediate team, with wider communications teams and with senior decision makers in the organisation. They’ve helped us keep each other informed, make sure we link in with each other when we need to and influence the strategic direction of the organisation. Where these have worked it’s because we’ve been clear on the purpose and how they link to wider governance structures.
Building these organisational structures has been the first step in giving us the opportunity to be and feel more in control of the work we are handling. It gives us the forums to bring together the various issues we’re communicating around and tie them under a coherent narrative.
By bringing work together in this way we are also able to be more proactive, planning what we do next by focusing on the strategic outcomes we want to achieve. Building these simple structures to organise, triage and make decisions on our work means we’re no longer just keeping our heads above water but feel like we’re moving in a purposeful manner.
Looking to the future
The current situation has also brought opportunities to think about how we might want to work differently in the future. How a communications team is structured, what it’s purpose is and how it tries to achieve it. Some of the ways of working we’ve developed now may be the way we work in the future.
Hope everyone is doing OK and look after yourself out there!