Crucial crisis plan elements, how leaders can stay positive, the secret to sustaining remote work, and more

Here’s a roundup of the week’s crisis communication news for communicators.


Here are the top 10 tips and takeaways from the week ending May 8 taken from our Crisis Communications Daily newsletter. Be sure to subscribe here to get this daily roundup directly in your inbox.


Make sure these essentials are in your crisis plan. Identify the format for your messages (video?), anticipate potential risks and scenarios, and establish clear guidelines for social media. Here’s a full list of basics you must include.

Your leaders can be optimists without being Pollyannaish. Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly has pushed back on negative predictions about the future of the airline industry without overstating the facts or touting otherworldly foresight. In response to Warren Buffet’s grim outlook on the future for airlines, Kelly offered some hope.

CNN reported:

“I don’t think anybody knows, and certainly that’s not an unreasonable view to take,” Kelly told CNN in an interview Wednesday with Poppy Harlow. “It’s a pessimistic one. I am far more optimistic.”

What’s the secret to remote work? Most of us are toiling at home these days. Here are four ways to manage your workload, maintain social ties, and create a healthy, sustainable schedule. For starters, take time to set priorities and structure your work.

Dunkin’ franchise owners create contest to spur creative messages to customers. When store owners in Massachusetts learned workers were writing positive messages on cups for drive-thru consumers, they decided to turn it into a contest. Here’s how the effort was received.

Microsoft tools like Teams help connect remote workers. Here’s how one global IT firm adapted to remote work and some of the solutions it has relied upon to keep workers engaged and projects on track.

How is COVID-19 affecting the future of the PR pro? Take our 3-minute survey and get a copy of our final report.

Businesses that plan to continue remote work must address loneliness. In studies of workers who telecommute, the longing for collaboration and social interaction often drives many back to the office. Companies planning permanent WFH solutions must address this need for connection.

The Atlantic wrote:

In Bloom’s research on Chinese call-center workers, only half of the workers who were asked if they wanted to participate in the study by working from home volunteered to do so, and half of those who volunteered to work from home eventually returned to the office. They said they feared they’d be lonely if they never left the house—something Americans are now acutely realizing.

BMO Harris sees the future of work as “blended” on office and WFH operations. The bank says it will act on lockdown lessons by changing how work is done in many of its offices. See how its leaders are talking about the change here.

In a new poll, workers say WFH has improved productivity. For the 25% that say productivity has suffered, communication was cited as a main roadblock. Almost half (43%) say they are “communicating with their colleagues less than they did before.” See more insights here.

 Starbucks ends “catastrophe pay” but keeps benefits for some higher-risk employees. The coffee chain is working toward reopening 90% of stores by June 1, but the measures aren’t enough for some employees.

Business Insider reported:

While catastrophe pay ended for partners unwilling to work, it continues to be available to certain, qualifying Starbucks workers who are unable to return to stores, including those who test positive for COVID-19, “those partners whom the CDC has identified as at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, or partners who live with a health care worker who works with COVID-19 patients,” according to a letter written by Rossann Williams, the company’s North American president, outlining Starbucks’ plan to ensure partners “safety and well-being.”

For more insights, join Ragan’s Crisis Leadership Board.

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