Covid Communication

Monday, September 21, 2020


With face masks firmly on for the foreseeable, gatherings limited to no more than six and local lockdowns rising – despite technology, communication is becoming a challenge.


Whilst we all appreciate the efforts the NHS, key workers and many businesses are making to keep the ‘new normal’ functioning – you no doubt will have been left frustrated at once simple tasks, which are now complicated by coronavirus.


This might be contacting the bank, arranging a health appointment, organising insurance, sorting a service for your car or household equipment, online grocery shopping or purchasing business supplies.


Though the new processes might be frustrating, I would argue that 9/10 times what leads to dissatisfaction and stress is communication – or lack of it. If, at the beginning of your call or web chat enquiry you were told you might be on hold for 40 minutes, or you might not get an appointment for several weeks, or your query might not be resolved that day, the whole interaction starts on the right note – with honesty!


Poor communication leads to distrust, harbours bad feeling and leaves many wanting to find someone to blame. In a generation so absorbed by social media, this paves the way for false news, inciting anger towards an individual or organisation.


If you haven’t seen it, I thoroughly recommend The Social Dilemma – a highly emotive documentary exploring the dangerous human impact of social networking, with tech experts sounding the alarm on their own social media creations


Following today’s briefing by Vallance and Whitty, how many of you understand the government guidelines around coronavirus? Who can you meet and where? How long do you isolate for if you have symptoms? Who can request a test and where do you get it from? Which countries are affected by a travel quarantine? Who do you contact if individuals are in breach of the laws? What happens when furlough ends? What are your responsibilities as an employer? What are your rights as an employee? Do you have to send your children to school?


From the 16th March 2020 to 23rd June 2020, the government delivered 92 daily briefings, providing an opportunity for people to tune in at the same time everyday and get the latest updates. Now we are signposted to a plethora of ‘trustworthy’ sites from to BBC, NHS and Public Health. In addition changes to covid guidelines are being reported by multiple news sources – not all of which are reputable.


So it is no surprise that people become confused. Over communication is almost as bad as no communication.  Be clear, be concise, be consistent and be honest.


Paul Dobbie