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Coffee, comms and Coventry

Steve Doswell, Senior Internal Communications Manager at First Utility

I arrive at 8.30 and log on. Avoiding email at first, I double-check the day plan (so often derailed by the unproductive habit of 'living in the inbox'), check who's who in our catering consultation group and send out notes and actions from the latest meeting.

Lured into email, I respond to an enquiry about our recent all-employee events – 500 people per day over two days at the Ricoh Arena. Pause to remember the sense of awe at the sheer scale of the event, the stress during the build-up, and feelings of euphoria when it was over - a range of emotions on the IC roller-coaster! 

Drop down to our coffee 'pod' in the atrium for the first caffeine download of the day (mine's a white americano). Note the number of people in the queue gripping their kingfisher blue or lemon yellow reusable cups. We gave these out during the Ricoh events and it's good to see them being so widely, reducing reliance on disposable cups. 

Quick search for a headset to take a video call from our head of PR in London. We have a small office in Covent Garden and today's usually my day in London but not this week. We swap info about things happening in our respective areas. There's a separate Brand team and the same exchange applies there, with a fortnightly catch-up call scheduled for this afternoon.

Lunch. We're 'nudging' people to take a break from their screens by eating in our newly refurbished restaurant, and also promoting sustainability by charging a small supplement for take-away containers. But today I pay the extra, squirrel the salad away for later, and head out for some fresh air on the 'trim trail' that we launched earlier this year (running a ceremonial lap with an original 1948 Olympic torch). Coventry may not sound leafy, but here on the city's southern fringe it's almost rural.

Back in the office, and a quick catch-up with my ace visual communication lead. It's good to hear the latest on a current video project on mental health. Several colleagues have been willing to speak about their personal experiences and we'll use the film to raise awareness across the wider business about coping with mental ill-health. 

A team meeting next and we canter through current bread-and-butter issues, from a new fire and evacuation procedure, and an audit of plasma screen usage, to getting graphics onto the walls at our four offices (Coventry, London, Hamburg and Krakow). In passing, there are observations about finding a better way of working with an internal client team. It's hardly strategic but it's all output that the business expects from the IC team.

Note some things for tomorrow: a continuous improvement workshop, a proposal for a new employee engagement programme focused on schools and STEM, plus 'project X', that's likely to fill some hours later in the year. Now though, it's time to point the car in the direction of home. The running club awaits; time to run a few miles and unwind. Tomorrow will be busy.

Dare to be diverse or risk losing trust
Trust me, I’m an internal communicator…


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Sunday, 20 September 2020
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