The Gatehouse Blog

How are you adapting your communications to address COVID-19 concerns?

Yesterday morning, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the government’s plan to tackle the spread of COVID-19 – the coronavirus.

As things stand, COVID-19 – the coronavirus – is affecting 77 countries and territories around the world. And right now, a lot of communicators are finding themselves helping shape and deliver their organisation’s response to the outbreak.

There will be a lot of confusion around what’s expected of employees during a coronavirus outbreak.

Here’s a quick checklist of things to bear in mind over the next few weeks:

Keep messaging as clear as possible.
If you have difficulty getting clear messaging “signed off”, run it through an online tool like Readable (

Ensure your audience knows who to talk to.
Be very careful not to turn yourself into your organisation’s coronavirus hotline, unless you’re resourced appropriately. Be clear on where people can go for information. Link to internal sources and official external sources.

Support line managers with comms. Line managers will have people asking them for advice – they will need somewhere or something to turn to. Equip them with FAQs to answer common queries.  For example, what should you do if someone becomes unwell at work? What should you do if somebody with corona virus comes to work?

Ensure the remote working policy and sick-leave policy is fully and clearly communicated. Again, don’t get into the game of second guessing what this is if your organisation’s isn’t clear. The advice can be to check with your local HR manager.