Gvantsa Kikalishvili 24 December 2021 internalcommunication, hybridcommunications, newnormal

What I learnt in 2021

What I learnt in 2021

The world is again struggling with the latest COVID-19-related constraints, but the holiday season is the best time to look back and reflect on what we have done.

2021 has been hectic and demanding. However, this is a year of huge transformation for me personally. I accepted that I live in a hybrid reality, where mixing online and offline channels is the new normal. The hybrid environment and WhatsApp meetings do not stress me anymore.

In this blog, I want to share insights from 2021 and I hope my example will be of value.

1. Internal Communication is a top priority for companies

It is a fact that from 2020 internal audience has become a top priority. The demand on creating and implementing effective tools of informing and engaging team members will increase. Companies should be aware that that their employee is their responsibility - this includes their health and wellbeing as well.

Takeaway: creating an internal communication strategy will help companies with employee engagement and save a solid part of the annual budget.

2. Engagement toward companies has decreased

We live in a hybrid working environment – working from home remains normal. Disappearing social moments and not drinking coffee together, revealed that colleagues, in general, people are what keeps us together, not the tasks. There is a lot of research saying that the creativity level in companies has decreased due to distance work.

Many companies announced that a distance working environment will remain in some capacity, however, I am sure that without sharing working space we won’t regain our creativity.

Takeaway: still try to bring people together, maybe twice a week, but regularly.

3. My Stress level has increased

Due to highly changeable environment, we are all super stressed. I am stressed as a communications consultant, as a mother, daughter, as a manager and as a citizen. So, this affects every area of my life. I assume that I am not the only one.

What can we do? We should stay informed about constant changes and most importantly, find the space for sharing and caring. Calm and safe spaces will be valued more in the future.

Takeaway: visiting museums and art spaces with vivid colors helped me with stress management

4. People think that communication is easy and everyone can do it, but actually – they are struggling.

If we compare our current speech and writings to examples from 2 years ago, we can see that our speech become short - text messages are only 2 or 3 words, without emoji and emotions. It is sad, but our style of communication has become brief, and we say only what we have to say. No personal chats or informal talks. We have to admit that we have become impassionate and I am often irritable. These are the visual results of working from home, being in one closed space and decreased quality and quantity of informal communication.

The problem is that we generally think that communication is something we can do without trying. However, communication should be taught and practiced.

We have to accept that hybrid environment this is new normal that requires from us to use hybrid communication tools. Working through social media is unavoidable. We have to keep our mobile phones charged and safe all the time. From the beginning I was not happy with WhatsApp life, but now I am ok with that – this gives us the opportunity to broaden our borders and work in New York easily and happily.

Takeaway: create more space for real interactions and hybrid communication should not be a stress any more.

5. The pandemic of couch potatoes

Yesterday, I counted and I attended only 4 or 5 events in 2021. We did not see many events, initiatives, group activities over the last 2 years. This is very sad and at the same time, negatively affects our social life. We become "couch potatoes"" glued to our screens.

HRs and PRs and all other managers often use the pandemic as an excuse to not fulfill their responsibilities.

Takeaway: In the pandemic we still can socialize. If they are not creating events, we can do that for our communities and groups.

6. Do not Stop Moving, the pandemic won’t end soon

While experiencing the pandemic, my main motivation to wake up in the morning was my Art Inception and my deep experience in communications. I wanted to create value, share my knowledge and contribute to positive change. I am sure, we can always find an excuse not to do something as well as always find motivation to do something.

Takeaway: Our success in the pandemic reality comes down to our attitude and problem solving skills.

Lastly, I learnt that mental health is as important as physical health, so I will continue to do my yoga classes and try to communicate with my body and soul regularly.

Wish you all a happy and communicative new year.
What did you learn in 2021?