Ideas for Creating Cross-Department Communication While Working from Home

    Ideas for Creating Cross-Department Communication While Working from Home サムネイル画像

    [Notice] Effective October 1, 2023, LINE Fukuoka has changed its company name to LY Communications. Articles published on or before September 30, 2023 were written with our former company name.

    Due to the spread of COVID-19 and innovations to working arrangements, remote work is being promoted across Japan. LINE Fukuoka implemented a work-from-home system in 2020, and currently, just 20-30% of employees come to the office for work.

    As employees are mainly working from home, opportunities to create connections between departments (such as casual chats in the office and company-wide offline events) have decreased compared to before the pandemic.

    Generally, the creation of bonds within a company can be expected to generate results such as broader perspectives, greater peace of mind, and collaboration between departments. In this post, we’ll take a behind-the-scenes look at what the company has done to create "online venues that serve as employee meet-ups!"

    ① Themed "Online Shuffle Lunches" to create chat spaces among departments


    Offline shuffle lunches were planned with the goal of creating opportunities to make friends within the company, which can be difficult to do when working remotely. (In LINE Fukuoka, these lunches were named the "Virtual Cafe" with the goal of creating the same atmosphere as our in-house cafe.)

    Each lunch has its own theme (such as relocation, camping, or childcare), and employees chat about that theme while eating lunch together.

    Tips for Online Shuffle Lunches
    ・Find themes by conducting company-wide surveys, and hold lunches with themes that meet participants’ needs
    <Primary themes>
    Relocation, employees that joined in 2020, COO Q&A, meeting employees of the same generation, parents and expecting parents, camping, etc.

    ・Depending on the number of people, utilize breakout sessions on Zoom and adjust the scale of lunches so that it's easy to communicate
    ・Have event planners join in and encourage communication by acting as facilitators

    Qualitative and quantitative effects
    ・168 employees participated over 11 lunches

    ・86% of participants responded that these events served as an opportunity to learn something or meet someone new

    ・Through these lunches, two new channels for casual conversation were created on our in-house chat systems, and the new "Childcare Club" was established

    ・We received feedback from employees that they didn't previously know who the other parents in the company were, but by joining, they were able to find someone to talk about childcare and work with


    Born from these lunches, the "Childcare Club" was created to bring mothers and fathers together
    At the lunch themed around childcare, Ms. Sadakane (a member of the Fintech Operation Department and a veteran mother) fielded consultations from employees who wanted to learn about internal support and childcare from her experience.

    During these consultations, many people said that they wanted to talk with more people about childcare or exchange information about nearby parks and supermarkets, and we felt the need for a community that allows employees to talk about childcare.

    That's why we decided to create the new Childcare Club. By utilizing a LINE group chat and in-house tools, club members were able to create a structure for continued communication. As a result, the Childcare Club has become a space where employees who relocated from other areas of Japan and don't know anyone can get in touch with other employees living nearby that are also raising children.

    ▲ In the club's LINE group chat, members also give each other books, toys, etc. that they don't need anymore!

    ② Online Leader's Meetings - Strengthening collaboration between leaders, encouraging organizational productivity and growth


    Held once a month, leader's meetings are a venue for leaders to give presentations about their department's policy and initiatives. Learning about what other departments are currently doing gives participants hints for improving work in their own department and creates opportunities to work together. These meetings can be expected to promote growth for the company as a whole.

    Tips for Online Company-wide Leader's Meetings
    ・Structure of Company-wide Leader's Meetings
    Leaders give presentations about department policy and initiatives; Q&A session; information shared by executives; our COO summarizes the meeting and shares policies

    ・Use the same virtual background to create a deeper sense of unity


    ・Have leaders give presentations about their department's policy and initiatives, and communicate via a Q&A session as well as post-meeting survey
    ・Release archived videos to all employees

    Qualitative and quantitative effects
    ・Over 80% understanding rate of announced policy
    Note: This is the annual average.

    ・Presenters received comments from other departments about their hopes to work together, such as "I want to communicate more closely" or "I want to use this in my team as well. Can we talk about it?"


    ③ Publicly released employee interviews - Learn about the personality of "that person" in another department, or get a behind-the-scenes look at a project!


    We also wanted to provide employees with opportunities to learn about new initiatives and other employees' personalities, and began regularly inviting employees as guests to online interviews. The employees that join us as guests are departmental leaders, project managers, or members of in-house clubs.

    Tips for holding public employee interviews
    Ask the guest about not just their work duties but also their work history, how they spend their private time, and their hobbies so that their personality is conveyed
    <Main questions>
    ① Work history - Their career before joining the company, what they've been doing since joining, how they perceive their work
    ② Private life - Hobbies, what challenges they want to take on

    ・In order for readers to get an understanding of the uniqueness and charm of a guest's personality that only those familiar with them would know about, also ask questions to the guest's coworkers in advance

    ▲ This is a section of an interview with someone close to one of our guests. We record the interview in advance and release it as part of the interview's content. We can learn things about guests that only those close to them know, like how to describe them in one sentence ("They're a walking Amazon review!") or what kind of an animal they would be ("Definitely a giraffe.").

    Set aside time for Q&A and leave a section for messages to the guest(s) in post-event surveys so that participating employees can communicate with guests

    Qualitative and quantitative effects
    ・Over 560 participants up to August 2021

    ・98% of survey participants said that the interview sparked interest in the guest and their activities

    ・We received comments like, "I was able to hear about more than their work, so I feel more familiar with the guest. (I think that psychological distance is also an important factor in moving forward with work smoothly.)"


    ④ "Limited-Time Newsletters" - Delivering information to replace casual conversation

    【英訳】★LFK Press Weekly

    From April to June 2020, we released a newsletter once a week. These newsletters were distributed as a replacement for casual conversations in the office when we officially began working from home.

    ■ Tips for newsletters as a replacement for casual conversation
    ・Mainly content in Q&A format that shows what employees are up to

    ・Distribute a good balance of useful information, important notifications, and lighter or more interesting content

    ・Take care to use casual expressions so that employees feel like they're having a chat

    Recruit newsletter supporters (i.e. employees who cooperate in providing information or exchanging opinions with us) from across the company, making these newsletters an employee-driven project

    ▼Newsletter structure▼
    ① How have you been?
    This is a Q&A section to learn about what employees have been up to recently. We mainly ask about things like where they're working, what's made them laugh recently, what they're worried about, how they take a breather during work, what they do in their private time at home, or something they recommend.

    ② This week's professional
    Company policy related to COVID-19 is shared in this section.

    ③ Cute pet pictures
    We ask employees to send us pictures of their pets and post them here.

    ④ Health
    Our in-house massage therapists introduce stretches that are perfect when working from home.

    Qualitative and quantitative effects
    ・95% of readers reported that the newsletters were "A nice change of pace," and 70% reported that they served as "A place to chat/A venue for alternative communication."

    ・We also received feedback that these newsletters were "really fun to read because you can learn about how people spend their time and what their working arrangements are like" and "it was nice to learn how other people approach working from home."


    Through later surveys or by speaking with participants/readers, we get feedback about these in-house communication initiatives and use it to polish our next installment or plan other events to meet their needs.

    Our efforts don't stop when an initiative is completed. We aim for them to become opportunities to create proactive communication between employees that enables them to cross organizational boundaries in building their network, even if they're working remotely.

    Lastly, we sat down with the person in charge of this project, Ms. Sakai of the Marketing Communication Department, to ask her thoughts regarding in-house communication.
    She told us, "Time is something that can't be replaced in your life, so I think it's vital for people to like the company that they're giving eight hours of their day to. A company's appeal is its people; by getting to know their wonderful colleagues through in-house communication, I want our employees to come to love our company. When that happens, I think they can shine even brighter in their work, which is my motivation every day."

    Moving forward, we will continue striving to be a company where employees can always “Stay in Sync” even when working remotely, and will take on the challenge of creating new avenues of communication.


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