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COVID-19: What to do in a manufacturing environment


Over the past few days, many companies have implemented measures to facilitate work from home to minimize the spread of COVID-19. However, this type of initiative cannot be applied in factories that produce components or finished products. Indeed, it is impossible for workers to bring home part of the production line and work remotely. A manufacturer has no choice but to deploy preventive measures that comply with the directives of public health authorities, while ensuring continuous communication with its employees and stakeholders.

Uncertainty and fear are major sources of disruption in any organization. It is more important than ever to communicate frequently and in a relevant way in order to maintain a dialogue with your employees and reassure them as they face the pandemic. This communication must be transparent and factual, and it must report honestly on developments.

Here are six important communications principles manufacturing companies should be following right now.

Make sure you follow the guidelines of public health authorities

No one can ignore government directives in the current context. We are in unfamiliar territory, and the consequences of not respecting government guidelines may be far worse than the short-term inconvenience suffered by following these guidelines.

Tell your employees what you are doing to keep them healthy and safe

To be effective, preventive measures must be clear and known to everyone. Let your employees know what measures you are putting in place to keep them healthy and safe. There are many communication channels: emails, internal newsletters, pictograms, teleconferences, opinions, individual meetings, etc. To act in accordance with the directives, your employees must know and understand the relevance of those directives.

Reassure your stakeholders

Your business partners want to know what measures you are taking to fight the spread of the virus: health measures, a prohibition on travel to participate in gatherings (conferences, fairs, etc.), use of teleconferencing for meetings with your suppliers and customers, screening measures, mitigation measures, special measures for the delivery of your products, etc. Be proactive in terms of communication and assert your leadership.  

Communicate again and again

You will never be accused of over-communicating. Multiply your interventions. The situation surrounding the pandemic changes from hour to hour. Chances are you will have new information to share at every opportunity. Society is on high alert and people want to know what is going on.

Prepare your intervention scenarios

Nobody hopes for the worst. However, you have to be prepared to face adversity. What will you do if one or more of your employees are infected? How will you deal with their family, co-workers, clients? Scenarios need to be developed before problems arise, not in an emotionally charged environment.

Prepare for post-COVID-19

One day, this pandemic will come to an end. But the world will have changed, as will the economic landscape. How will you return to your normal activities? You need to plan now for the next steps following the COVID-19 crisis to be able to take advantage of the opportunities that arise.

Need support? Our COVID-19 communications team comprised of crisis communications experts across Canada is ready to help organizations effectively communicate with their stakeholders.