With the Covid-19 officially pronounced as a global pandemic, most employees around the nation are working from home. This unforeseen shift has compelled a generation of different changes and transitions in communication approaches among teams. It has also left many struggling to overcome challenges such as lack of team collaboration and family distractions.
Health experts in Kenya recommend self-quarantine in a bid to reduce the effect of Corona, hence organizations, including COMRED, have put in place effective internal and external communication methods. Having a variety of communication channels in place is imperative to keep in touch with stakeholders as well as employees, to enable access to the latest information, and stay up-to-date with revised/reinforced existing organizational policies. These range between ensuring everyone is aware when to self-isolate or how payroll functions are affected. The key priority here is to ensure that amid stay-at-home orders, people are still able to work as effectively as possible, while staying safe.
As a result, the pandemic has unprecedently become a technological equalizer, that has enabled most to learn technology that aids in proper communication while everyone works remotely. This awakening of sorts, has made remote working easier. COMRED has incorporated the use of software for video conferencing e.g. Zoom and Skype. They help communicate identified tasks best accomplished remotely. Telephone and emails are also communication tools used daily. Slack, which acts as a virtual office has been maintaining work efficiency and productivity within various projects such as the Smart Cities (MijiBora) project. COMRED also manipulates cloud-sharing and file-sharing digital tools e.g. Dropbox and OneDrive. All these platforms help maintain communication among team members.
The change in workplace structure has provided an opportunity for the closure of the digital divide which was significantly present. The recent launch of Project Loon in Kenya has helped bridge this divide by supplying internet to remote communities. It has helped COMRED employees in underserved areas in the country keep informed with the rest of the team.
Despite the pandemic forcing the daily work commutes to a standstill, there has been some key revolutionary changes in communication management within organizations.
The author, Tracy Kamau, is an undergraduate communications student and intern at COMRED.