HR & Management

Is it acceptable to communicate with staff at home?

3 min read

29 October 2015

Communicating effectively with staff has become increasingly challenging as the array of media options, the volume of messages we receive each day and the growth of remote working have all combined to multiply the issues that employers have to face.

One of the most effective solutions may be to communicate with staff via their homes – but is this acceptable in an era when work/life balance is often questioned?

The increase in how many staff work from home and even hot-desking have had a significant impact on office communications. 

Then there is the multitude of ways to communicate: by email, text, phone, social media, web chat. But also how you can access messages, through computers, mobile phones and tablets. There are too many options and, to add to them, different age groups have different preferences on how they like to be contacted.

Third, and most difficult, is the sheer volume of messages that we receive at home and at home 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

With the average UK worker receiving somewhere close to 40 emails a day and one in 12 of us receiving 100 plus emails daily, it’s easy to see why correspondence can go unseen or ignored.

So how can employers cut through this fog of messages and media and engage the minds of their staff?   

While the full span of multi-media online communications could be used in a complementary way within a campaign, it may be best, for guaranteed visibility and impact, to send information in the post – ideally to their home.

A study by Royal Mail has shown that 55 per cent of those interviewed said that mail gives them a better impression of the company compared to 25 per cent for email.  Fifty-seven per cent of people in the study also said that receiving mail makes them feel more valued while only 17 per cent said the same for email.

Given that Royal Mail delivers around ten pieces of mail to each address every week an addressed letter on the door mat is more easily noticed; that’s not so true in most busy email in-boxes.

But, in an age when work-life balance and the intrusion of work upon the home are often discussed, is it acceptable to send work communications to the home?

In our view, yes, it is but it will be better received if it’s good news or personally beneficial and not about working operations. This could include employee benefits, incentive rewards, share options and social news about colleagues – eg employee newsletters. 

A simple guide to this might be whether it is news that a spouse or partner might welcome? If yes, then it could be posted.

In this, multi-media message-packed world, while a variety of media can be effective, there is a good argument for relaying valuable employee benefits, reward and recognition information to staff through the universally accepted medium of posting letters to home addresses.

Natalie Vescia is B2B marketing and client relationship manager at Wickes.