How to Communicate During a Crisis at Work

When you are at your job, there can be a number of emergencies that can arise such as a fire, an intruder or something as simple as a network or power outage. Knowing how to communicate during a crisis at work and teaching your employees about communication early, though, can help keep your team safe, functioning and in contact with one another.


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    Work with management to come up with contingency plans for any emergency.
    • Think about plans for natural disasters, fires, disgruntled employees, disgruntled customers, power outages, network failures and any other worst-case scenario you can imagine.
    • Decide what role everyone will play if or when an event such as those happens. Think about enlisting team leaders that are not part of management to take on some responsibility in the event of an emergency.
    • Discuss how you will communicate with your employees during the crisis. Will you use smart phones? Will everyone communicate via word-of-mouth? Do you have an intercom system, email or IM? Any or all of these communication methods can be options in most situations.
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    Educate your co-workers and employees on company contingency plans before the need arises to use them. Discuss chain of command and the emergency meeting place.
    • Hold safety seminars as needed to make sure that employees know what to do in the event of an emergency before it happens.
    • Make sure that employees are not only informed verbally where emergency exits are but also that they are clearly marked.
    • Include emergency procedure training in any new hire education program.
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    Remain calm, and don't panic if an emergency occurs. Try to use authoritative tone if you need to speak to employees during a crisis.
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    Delegate as needed to the most responsible individuals if multiple things are happening at one time. It is unrealistic to think that you can be in more than one place at one time, so don't be afraid to give directions to other people to help you manage the immediate crisis.
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    Give clear directions in any situation, but if it is not a life-or-death emergency, take a few moments to compose yourself and/or meet with other authority figures before addressing the staff.
    • This can be applicable for computer or network issues that are halting operations temporarily or long-term.
    • You would also want to use this tactic if there is a financial crisis looming at your office such as possible layoffs, the business itself going under or any other cutbacks. Being open and honest with your staff may not stop the issue, but at least it does not foster as much resentment as trying to hide the obvious.


  • Don't forget about what not to say in the event of a crisis. Make sure that employees know not to speak to the press in any crisis. Contact should only be made through proper channels through the appropriate people at the appropriate time in order to filter information that goes out for public dissemination.

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Categories: Workplace Conflicts Coping and Issues