Using Workplace to stay connected to your workforce during the coronavirus outbreak

by Julien Codorniou

Technology can help minimize disruption to operations by keeping employees connected, regardless of where they're working.

With the outbreak of Covid-19, everyone is focused on making sure people around the globe stay safe and healthy. For Facebook and many other companies, this has led to redefining how we communicate in times of crisis – enabling people to collaborate while working remotely, temporarily discouraging people in affected areas from meeting in person, and coordinating timely information and responses to employees around the world, wherever they have to work from.

In the workplace, technology can help minimize disruption to operations by keeping employees – especially those who work remotely or at home – connected, regardless of where they are. In times of uncertainty like these, communication is key to help businesses safeguard their employees and navigate the unpredictable.

Best practices to keep employees connected during an emergency

In times of emergency, organization-wide collaboration tools give companies the ability to send updates to employees instantly. However, it’s equally important to have two-way communication to receive updates from the field, especially with a globally and physically distributed workforce. Our customer success team has compiled a list of key Workplace features and best practices we’re learning from our customers, to leverage during a crisis:

  • Create an open and default group to provide a single source for daily updates and safety recommendations and then ensure these high-signal updates reach everyone effectively by marking them as important. This is the strategy being followed by VietCredit, a financial services provider in Vietnam where 16 cases of Covid-19 have so far been reported. “We’ve set up a default group on Workplace and added everybody in the company,” says Head of Internal Communications Tien Nguyen Hoang Nhat. “We have a pinned post at the top of the group with clear instructions on how to prevent the virus, like sanitising personal devices four times a day and avoiding social gatherings or festivals. We’ve even created pictures to make the information more useful and engaging.”
VietCredit using Workplace Groups to share important information

VietCredit using Workplace Groups to share important information

  • Use video to make information and tips more engaging. "Workplace has been a great tool for us to communicate during the outbreak,” says Lindsay Devereux, Senior Manager, Communications, Asia at American insurance giant Sun Life. “We're using mark as important to amplify and track employee engagement with important announcements for people in affected areas. We've also been able to use video to share hygiene tips. We’ve seen an increase in posts as employees use Workplace to virtually connect and share with each other when it’s not possible to be together in person."
Sun Life is using Workplace to share video content to land important messages

A still from a Sun Life video posted on Workplace to share hygiene tips

  • Encourage leadership to go Live to provide assurances and support. Recently, two of our Australian-based customers, Taronga Zoo and Ambulance Victoria, used Workplace to share live updates with their entire workforce during the widespread bushfire crisis
  • Enable remote working (i.e. at home) with Workplace Chat and rich video calling using Portal
  • Encourage more employees to take training courses online or in VR using Oculus, to avoid traveling and gathering in large groups, and without compromising the quality of learning and development
  • Extend remote working capabilities beyond your workforce to all the partners and customers you work with, using Multi-Company Groups (MCGs). At Facebook, we’re encouraging employees to coordinate and collaborate with the thousands of partners we work closely with, using MCGs and video calling
  • We also offer several integrations that allow organizations to create interesting bots that meet their specific needs. For example, Singapore-based Scoot Airlines has been using Workplace Chat in combination with Prepp to send daily surveys via bot to select personnel in high-risk positions traveling to specific countries. In their messages, they’ve been checking up on staff welfare, with nearly 100% response rate every day. "By using Prepp we were able to detect more ‘at-risk’ employees, especially those that have been to Italy, Korea and Japan in the last 14 days," Scoot Airlines told us. "Prepp and Workplace Chat allows us not just to identify them, but also give them a Stay Home Notice to avoid chances of spreading the virus.”
  • Use Safety Check to allow your employees to mark themselves safe. For example, Delta Airlines used Workplace’s Safety Check feature during hurricane season in the US last year, allowing impacted staff members to mark themselves ‘safe’ and let their employer know they were out of harm’s way

How Facebook is using Workplace to keep our employees safe

As a global organization ourselves, we are actively using Workplace to keep our employees safe, healthy, and informed. Here are some of our company-wide recommendations to our staff:

  • Share updates and guidance regularly in channels that employees will be familiar with and checking
Sharing regular comms to the entire organization

Sharing regular comms to the entire organization

  • Encourage employees in affected areas to work from home and cancel business plans as needed if they’ve recently visited an affected area. We have canceled our in-person global conferences, including F8 and, wherever possible, are now using Workplace Live video to broadcast online summits
  • Suggest that our employees in affected areas who have Workplace on Portal (our family of smart video calling devices) to dial into Workplace meetings remotely
  • Where people don’t have access to Portal, encouraging the use of video conferencing in Workplace Chat
  • Maintain a single source of truth in a company-wide default Group so employees can follow along as updates come in, and leaders can share in more targeted Groups
  • Recommend that employees who are feeling unwell visit a doctor or take sick leave as needed until they are feeling better
  • Work with facilities and cleaning staff to increase cleaning in offices and workstations
  • Share FAQs and respond to comments and questions from staff
  • Minimize anxiety or stress by sharing empathetic posts acknowledging the situation and this difficult time

Workplace for Good: Coordinate and communicate with staff during emergencies

We know that across the world, non-profit organizations and NGOs are helping with crisis management, coordinating volunteers, and much more. To help non-profits around the world better prepare for unforeseen emergencies, we provide free access to Workplace through our Workplace for Good program, allowing organizations to connect teams and coordinate communication among remote workers or on-the-ground volunteers.

“Thanks to Workplace, we are able to deliver real-time, essential updates to our staff on the Covid-19 outbreak,” says Carey Kyer, Lead – Internal Communications at World Health Organization (WHO). “Workplace ‘ticks the box’ on our need to communicate, engage and connect real-time with our colleagues around the world, especially during this public health emergency of international concern."

“Our Covid-19 Workplace group is the second most-followed group at WHO. It’s become an easy-to-access channel for our staff around the world to watch the daily press briefings, staff seminars and to find resources, while providing an open forum for staff to ask questions and receive instant feedback.”

Our sympathies go out to all those affected by this outbreak around the world. We hope our technology will be able to help in preventing more people from being exposed to the virus and have an impact on this worldwide crisis.

Find out more

Discover how Workplace can help you stay connected to your workforce during the Coronavirus outbreak. Download our guide right here.

And visit our website to learn more about how you can begin using Workplace today.

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