If there’s one thing we can be certain about as we continue to navigate post-pandemic life, it’s that much of the workplace transformation COVID brought about is here to stay. Before March of 2020, while many companies had already embraced remote work for a variety of reasons, the majority of employees could be found safely ensconced in their companies’ offices and retail locations five days a week. Fast-forward to spring of that same year, and shelter-in-place orders had sent workers to home offices for the foreseeable future—even in the companies that had been the staunchest sticklers for having employees in cubicles from nine to five, Monday through Friday. In fact, in the winter of 2020, Pew Research found that 71 percent of employed adults were working from home—a 250% increase from before the pandemic.
And, as we venture out into that “new normal” we’ve all been waiting to happen for so long, it’s become clear that one of the many COVID adaptations that’s going to stick with us is the freedom to work remotely, either full-time or in a hybrid model of some kind. McKinsey’s research has found that half of employees would prefer to stay home at least three days a week, and EY reports that, in the UK, 47 percent would consider changing jobs if their current employer didn’t offer hybrid options.
While hybrid and fully remote work undoubtedly have their advantages (we embrace remote work here at OneTouchPoint!), these “work from anywhere” models also come with their own set of challenges. Primarily, the relative isolation of remote work can lead to gaps, inefficiencies, and the occasional complete breakdowns of communication that make it more difficult for teams and their leaders to get their work done efficiently and stay on the same page about policy changes or evolving priorities.
Fortunately, the solution to many of those communication challenges can be found in a digital asset manager or, as we like to call it, a centralized communication hub. This hub is accessible anytime, from anywhere employees are located, and it keeps communication and update organized and at users’ fingertips.
Here are four ways that hub makes communication—and life—easier for employees, whether they’re at home, in the office, or on the road.
Centralize the Latest Updates
We know customers expect up to frequent, personalized communication from the brands they love, and they’re counting on that communication to provide up-to-date information on offerings, policies, CSR initiatives, and more. But internal teams can only provide that clarity for customers if they get clarity for themselves, first. Once they do, they can customize and localize the pre-approved messaging, print or order brochures, flyers, and signage, and create website and social media updates to pass what they know on to their communities.
Think of your communication hub as the digital incarnation of an old-school bulletin board that provides employees with the details they need to know, when they need them—whether that trickles down to customer-facing messaging (upcoming promotions, safety measures, shipping updates) or stays internal (new HR policies, professional development opportunities, or the dress code for annual company bash). Keeping all this information front and center for employees empowers brands to maintain effective internal communication and a seamless customer experience.
Break Open Silos
How many times have teams spun their wheels working on a project only to discover that another department had already done the heavy lifting? Maybe the sales team created a new set of ideal customer avatars only to discover that the marketing team already had binders full of them? Or maybe marketing spent hours localizing coupon language based on different state rules, when the legal team already had that language on lock.
When teams work in silos, it’s easy to duplicate work—wasting time and resources that could’ve been spent on far more valuable endeavors. And when employees are working remotely, those silos can become more and more difficult to break open. But that’s where that centralized communication hub comes in. When departments have a single, accessible place to share the work they’re doing, that added visibility enables teams across the organization to take advantage of the legwork that’s already been done.
When remote teams are juggling email, Slack, text message, Teams, and countless other channels, it can be all too easy to inadvertently send the wrong thing to the wrong person, breaching internal security clearances, making private customer information public, or simply clogging up a colleagues inbox unnecessarily.
The right central communication hub, however, helps tighten security with customized permissions for every team or level, sharing and editing histories, and even expiration dates. Just be sure to look for a partner that can keep data secure through SOC2 and GDPR compliance, HITRUST certification and, for healthcare companies, HIPAA/PHI compliance, too.
Be honest: how many times a week do you find yourself wasting time sifting through a folder full of PDFs looking for that latest flyer? Or following up with a manager for approval on a customer-facing asset that needs to go out yesterday? Or revising a block of internal policy-related content that a colleague “pieced together from memory” when they couldn’t put their fingers on the approved language?
Imagine what else you could accomplish if you could just get that time back. That communication hub can make it happen by keeping the latest—and only the latest—assets and information meticulously organized and easily accessible, 24/7. Even more, the right platform can automate approval workflows, replacing endless back-and-forth feedback and followup loops with in-hub management to streamline processes and get you that time back.
These are just a few of the ways a centralized communication hub can make collaboration and productivity easier for companies that have embraced remote and hybrid work—and for companies that rely on far-flung team members such as local retail managers, franchise owners, and regional sales reps, as well. OneTouchPoint’s U.Connect platform is a powerful internal tool to keep employees and leaders up to date with the latest information, updates, and assets they need to streamline their work, increase their productivity, and provide a consistently excellent customer experience. To learn more about how OneTouchPoint can empower hybrid work by streamlining internal communications (and external ones, too, for that matter), we invite you to contact us to request a demo. Our experts will be more than happy to walk you through our platform and services.