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February 15, 2022

Navigating Public Sector Communication Challenges with a Remote Workforce

Navigating Public Sector Communication Challenges with a Remote Workforce

Oliver Bengtsson

Senior Marketing Manager, Avaya Solutions Marketing

As we move more and more towards understanding what a workforce means during the ongoing pandemic, important work functions can fall by the wayside, including our communications solutions. Unfortunately working through a global crisis means that productivity may not always be top of mind.  That could be because as we get more and more used to working remotely, sitting in our pajamas while our pets stare at us curiously, we can become more and more siloed – truly the opposite of what digital transformation seemingly needs to deliver. After all, people aren’t islands, and while studies have shown that working remotely increases productivity, our inherent need for communication means that we still search for meaning in our work; not only on an employee level but on a human one as well.

Which Workplace Are You?

If you work within a public sector agency, you’re likely familiar with a top-down, siloed, or flat-work style culture. Think of “top-down” almost like a trickle-down effect (don’t worry – we’re not talking about economics!); management makes decisions independent of teams and hands out tasks, goals, etc. to a workforce who likely doesn’t have much say in what tasks they’re handed.  A siloed culture means what it sounds like – teams work on their own, working in their own “bubbles,” away and independent from other departments. With a flat-work style culture, there are few-to-no levels of management (or, “middle management”) between more senior management and employees – the workplace hierarchy’s lines are a bit blurred and informal ad-hoc hierarchies can emerge.

So – have you determined which workplace culture you fall into? You can see that there can be issues with each of the three styles, right? A top-down workplace can feel like leaders are taskmasters and lower-level employees should just do their bidding; a siloed workplace can feel, well, lonely and like it’s not a part of a larger workplace culture; and a flat-work style can feel confusing and frustrating when a hierarchal leadership path isn’t clear. Of course, we could argue that any one of these paths has a myriad of issues – or pluses. Nothing, of course, is truly siloed, good or bad. But as each workplace style comes with its own set of issues, it’s important to figure out where your organization or team falls, and how you can navigate to find solutions moving forward - especially when it comes to communications.

Solving It

Before COVID-19, only 37% of respondents in an Avaya Cloud Office study said that they felt internal communications initiatives were very important. Now, 63% feel that they matter most. We can easily point to the global pandemic and determine that the reasoning behind this is that more employees are working remotely than ever before, so communication has to be of utmost importance. Work-life balance has changed drastically, and the key to retaining a positive work-life balance going forward is to have a comms plan in place for your employees, and the technology to leverage it.

Case in Point

Take government workers, for example; we’ve touched on this in the past. State and local government workers may be in positions now that they never thought they’d be in before – doing their jobs from home. These workers may still employ more “old-fashioned” means of communication, like email, in-person meetings, and phone calls, and eschew video meetings and instant messaging because they don’t have approved tools for it and are prohibited from using personal apps; but studies show that video collaboration – especially when it’s used internally – is on the rise and perhaps even preferred, especially during these unusual times.

Next Steps

We know workers often prefer video collaboration. We know the pandemic, as we have seen recently can change rapidly, and it can make it feel like we’re back at square one. Remote work is here to stay – so what’s the solution? Having a cloud-based system that offers all the tools employees need to communicate internally, whether it’s through calling, messaging, meeting, including video is the key.

But a sink or swim approach isn’t going to work – employees need intuitive friendly tools, easy-to-access training, adequate internet service, and safe and secure options.

How Avaya Can Help

With Avaya Cloud Office, employees can use proven methodologies that improve their productivity, efficiency, and contribution to the team they’re working on. Avaya Cloud Office is an all-in-one, cloud-based platform that is easy-to-use with simple-to-learn features that enhance employee productivity and internal communications.

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