The coronavirus crisis makes the role of communications even more crucial, See Media’s #CovidComms survey has revealed.
The vast majority (85%) of the UK Housing communications professionals who took part in the research, which ran online between 21 and 28 April, said their work was increasingly valued by others within their organisations.
The 44 participants, mostly heads and directors of PR and communications, work for at least 35 housing associations across the UK. Exactly half (50%) said they had been working “more closely with executive leadership team” since lockdown. “The usual barriers have, in many ways, been broken down,” explained participant.
More than half (54%) reported they had been able to adapt existing campaigns and strategic goals in response to the current crisis, with 83% having reviewed their organisation’s key messages to internal and external stakeholders.
When asked to identify the biggest challenges they had faced as a result of the pandemic, 60% of communications professionals cited a “big increase in workload”, and the same proportion pointed to “team members balancing work and family life”.
However, almost all (97%) of those surveyed said they had found they and their colleagues could work from home more successfully than they had initially anticipated. In fact, 50% said they are hoping to work remotely on a more regular basis in future.
Almost a third (32%) said they were already experiencing a “better work/life balance” during lockdown, and more than three quarters (79%) planned to continue making “better use of technology” when current restrictions are lifted.
Participants felt the current crisis had reinforced their organisation’s existing key messages. “Lockdown has shown how important a good home at a price people can afford is,” wrote one. “[There are] new strategic opportunities to revisit approaches to funding genuinely affordable homes in the future.”
“[This is] an opportunity to re-energise people within the business about our social purpose – the why we do what we do,” added another.
Reflecting on the #CovidComms survey findings, Stuart Macdonald, managing director of See Media, said:
“A few weeks into lockdown, we at See Media had seen how hard our clients were working to support their organisation’s teams and customers, as the world around them changed. By this point, we – and everybody else we spoke to – had passed through the initial shock of Covid-19 pandemic and were starting to feel the need to connect with others.
“We launched the #CovidComms survey to find out how communications professionals across UK Housing were adapting to the challenges they were facing, and the changes they anticipated in the longer-term.
“It seems that tough times has made comms teams more aware of their capabilities, and the contributions they make to their organisations’ success. The current crisis has highlighted to others just how crucial effective communications really is.”
The full results of the #CovidComms survey are available to download here.