There are plenty of benefits that organizations can reap from remote work. The biggest issue here isn’t whether a change to remote work is desirable; the COVID-19 crisis has proved that it’s basically a necessity. Instead, the problem is whether organizations have the expertise and tools required to make that paradigm shift.
A driving source behind maintaining company cohesion and providing a unified source of information is why modern Intranets are becoming increasingly important. As businesses become more fragmented and spread out, and with more people working in more locations with more types of information and tools, a single central location to connect, remain informed, share, and cooperate is becoming increasingly important.
Encouraging Digital Collaboration in Your Remote Team
You’d be surprised at the number of companies that don’t have a centralized source for information storage. Retrieving the needed documents and information shouldn’t be a hassle, and it shouldn’t be difficult if you need it to perform your work duties.
Also, many companies don’t have official digital communication channels; leaving employees to rely on a diverse set of unofficial channels, resulting in frustration for everyone. If you want to facilitate efficient and easy communication and collaboration — your company has to establish the proper framework for that. And using a company intranet can be the perfect way to implement the needed changes to your remote work environment!
What is an Intranet?
Unlike the public and global Internet, an intranet allows organizations to create a secure and private network that is only available to their employees. This network can act as a company-wide portal and a hub where employees can find external and internal company resources, as well as a tool for collaboration, communication, and file sharing.
The Advantages of Having an Intranet
According to findings of the McKinsey Global Institute, the average modern employee spends a fifth of their time searching for internal company information or colleagues that can assist them with a certain task.
We probably don’t have to spell this out — but this is a lot of time. And as remote offices become more and more viable in the near future, having a company intranet will be just the boost for digital teamwork that your team requires. This eliminates all of the miscommunication and data management issues that your employees waste so much time on.
Using a company intranet basically means that all communication related to your company will be facilitated in a single hub. Any communication targeted at specific employees or company-wide messaging will find its way easily; it doesn’t matter whether your employees are in their offices or not, as they’ll still be in the loop regarding crucial company information.
Within the wider company intranet, you can create smaller communities for specific projects, departments, and teams. This is not only essential for collaboration, but it’s also a great framework for content management and cybersecurity.
You’ll find plenty of platforms for the building of this framework, though using Drupal open-source for your Intranet is our premier choice. Such a platform allows you to use all kinds of modules for better management of virtual teams; for instance, you can create a social system where employees can give out badges or points to recognize their best peers.
Apart from such motivational policies, you can use the company intranet to establish your company culture in the clearest possible way. Your intranet can be a focal point of reference for people to look up information, knowledge areas, and project data with ease.
Project management is also much easier with a dedicated company intranet, which allows employees who are working on a specific project to provide status updates, share content, videos, documents, and images easily.
Higher Employee Engagement
Once the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe, one of the biggest issues with the corporate world was employee engagement. Pretty much everyone who had a desk job in an office had to switch to working from home — and the transition was rarely easy and pretty. Most people do not have dedicated home offices and instead resorted to sharing space with their family and friends.
Saying that morale was at an all-time low is no overstatement. And even in regular conditions, maintaining employee engagement in a remote connected team is certainly a challenge. Especially if we’re talking about a global and geographically dispersed team — bonding opportunities are not abundant.
That’s why the enhanced internal communications facilitated by a company intranet can be useful in this regard as well. Plenty of intranet portals are utilized for company polls, events, contests, online quizzes, etc.
All of these activities and the moderate “gamification” of the work environment can keep people engaged with their work and their company — even if they’re working from their bedroom or kitchen table. The intranet can be used to build a specific digital space for such activities — a kind of a company social center
One Source of Unified Information
It is common for organizations to find their information scattered across disparate systems. A corporate intranet ensures that information is no longer siloed which will empower your employees to learn more and work more autonomously.
The average human attention span is about eight seconds. If you're a corporate communications expert trying to reach out to busy employees who are already inundated with emails, messages, notifications, and other communications, eight seconds isn't much time to work with.\
With eye-catching company news and updates prominently displayed on the main page, the Interactive Intranet soars above the noise and genuinely attracts employees' attention. The news is tough to miss because the interactive intranet is already where employees go to conduct their work. The material on each user's news page is tailored, ensuring that it is relevant.
Intranets should be built for both desktop and mobile devices, allowing internal communications teams to reach out to anybody, anywhere – including remote and "deskless" employees who may not have access to a computer (or even company email addresses).
Interactive intranets, unlike traditional one-way corporate communications like mass emails, bulletins, and static intranet articles, provide complete two-way involvement. Employees can ask questions, discuss, provide comments, and exchange information, resulting in the kind of active involvement that fosters understanding and a sense of ownership.
Remote Connected Teams
It should be noted that teams are not strictly virtual or physical. This distinction is not binary; rather, “virtuality” is a team characteristic whose nature is determined by a number of factors. The prominence of these factors determines how virtual any team is.
There are many definitions of virtual teams, but we cite the following factors as crucial traits that make a team virtual: temporal dispersion, geographic dispersion, organizational dispersion, and cultural dispersion.
The usage of virtual teams provides advantages for both employers and employees. Employees may work with greater flexibility, conducting business from remote locations. From the employers’ perspective, the use of virtual teams means access to a global workforce.
This is particularly important regarding expert positions, where contemporary communication technology allows experts from different corners of the globe to work together. There are all kinds of projects that will reinvent the way corporate communication is managed in the digital age; building the world’s largest Intranet is one of those leaps forward.
The Disadvantages of Having an Intranet
As with most things in life, there are advantages and disadvantages. The corporate intranet is no different.
Cost to Implement
Implementing an intranet can be expensive and time-consuming. Older intranet software is frequently difficult to operate. As a result, in order to use it properly, all staff must be aware of all of the functions accessible.
A staggering 90% of intranets fail from the get-go, which leads us to reimagine what the corporate intranet should be. Many implementations have not evolved to tackle modern business challenges.
Because of the non-user-friendly intranet interfaces, this necessitates lengthy and complex staff onboarding processes, enhancements and alterations.
Many firms, in fact, have full-time employees who are responsible for intranet updates, server upgrades, network maintenance, and system changes and alterations.
Poor User Adoption
Low utilization rates are the outcome of a poor user experience. We all know how vital it is to provide a positive user experience in order to keep your users interested and active. In fact, only 13% of employees use their intranet on a daily basis, while 31% say they never use it.
Your workplace tech intuitiveness can make or break your employees' engagement with your intranet. Furthermore, despite the fact that employees expect to be able to access vital company information from their cellphones at any time and from any location, many intranets do not provide a satisfactory mobile experience, which can make or break user engagement.
You would be surprised to hear that many modern intranets typically do not allow for two-way, interpersonal connections, whereas intranet alternatives allow for more personalized digital conversations.
And to be frank, most intranets are just dull and chaotic. People can’t find anything, information is outdated. So they rather not use it anymore. This leads us to another disadvantage.
Negative User Experience
The user experience suffers as a result of intranets' lack of intuitiveness. More often than not, employees find it difficult to use intranets in a way that maximizes their productivity and access to essential information.
Additionally, simplifying web design and user experience allows for ease of use on both desktop and mobile devices. Enhancing the overall user experience of your intranet leads to improved performance and usability, which can lead to more internal usage and increased overall engagement with the platform.
Employees are accustomed to using social media like apps, and they want the same from the technologies they use at work. Because modern businesses are increasingly digital, enhancing the digital employee experience has become a must!
At the end of the day, modern problems require modern solutions — and that’s why a remote corporate environment needs its own secure and dedicated space; maintaining security while also reinforcing the company values and employee engagement!