Workplace technology has undoubtedly transformed the way we work. When the first desktop computers were introduced in the 1970s, they were the size of modern-day TVs. Fast forward 50 years, and we are carrying around in our pockets sophisticated smartphone computers. Technology has impacted on every aspect of our working lives, and the coronavirus pandemic has brought this into sharp focus. With lockdowns in force across much of the globe, millions of us are now working from home. Businesses have been able to maintain operations despite the crisis. And this would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago.
However, for those companies looking to adopt an integrated approach to the digital workplace, it can be a confusing space. The sheer number of apps and software options for all manner of business processes makes for a bewildering choice.
In fact, for most businesses, workplace technology starts with an identified pain point and ends with the adoption of a software solution. But for users, all too often, this results in multiple apps, passwords, and screens along with incompatible software. Messy, unproductive, and a big time-waster, there has to be a better way, right? Well, if you are looking for workplace technology that’s adaptable, flexible, and supports productivity, then an intranet could be the answer. So, let’s take a look at some common issues facing businesses and examine how an intranet offers a solution.
Improve Team Communications
Internal communications are at the heart of every successful business. Workplace technology has transformed the way we receive messages and communicate with each other. But for employees, it can be a chaotic experience. Too many emails and communications channels, combined with more flexible and remote working, requires a different approach from businesses. It’s far too easy for important messages to get lost and for staff to feel disconnected.
Among others, Gallup has confirmed the poor performance of many businesses on the team communications front. Gallup’s research found that just 13 percent of employees strongly agree their organization’s leadership communicates effectively with the rest of the company.
So, how can an intranet help? There is a range of tools available within the intranet to support communications. Here we highlight just a few.
The first is the newsfeed feature. The universal reach of the intranet means that all staff receive the same timely news and updates. It could be corporate events, team updates, or industry-wide news; the intranet presents an engaging and eye-catching digest. And the user can personalize the newsfeed to reflect their own team, role, or interest-based preferences.
Data from the US Census tells us that the average 500+ employee company has more than 12.5 office locations. And even before the current pandemic, the numbers regularly working remotely were increasing – an incredible 173 percent since 2005. In this context, providing visible and decisive leadership is easy with an intranet blog or video message. Leaders can provide authentic, personal messages directly to staff. And by allowing comments and feedback, they can develop two-way conversations regardless of location.
The use of instant messaging in our personal lives has exploded. Whether it’s Messenger or WhatsApp, for example, most of us use it daily to connect with friends and family. However, instant messaging also has a vital part to play in team communications. The informal, accessible nature of instant messaging means staff are more likely to read and respond quickly to messages.
So, whether it’s to speedily resolve issues, support water cooler conversations, or to share updates, instant messaging is hard to beat.
Develop Organizational Knowledge Management And Knowledge Transfer
The digital workplace means that businesses are swamped with more information and data than ever before. Collecting, managing, and sharing all that corporate knowledge is a major headache. Furthermore, the baby boomer generation is now retiring in large numbers. While millennials are changing jobs more frequently than other generations. Workplace technology that captures and transfers all that knowledge before it walks out the door has to be a priority.
Indeed, the benefits of good knowledge management also extend to maintaining a competitive advantage and adding value to customers. In the Global Deloitte survey, over 80 percent of Deloitte Knowledge users reported that sharing knowledge leads to competitive advantage and adds real value to customers.
Once again, an intranet has much to offer in this space. Bring together all your corporate knowledge, from databases, manuals, and presentations through to standard operating procedures and more, into a centralized resource. Supported by an advanced search function, staff members have at their fingertips a comprehensive digital library of knowledge.
And when it comes to capturing company knowledge, then the intranet has an integrated set of tools to do just that. Surveys, quizzes, project spaces, and blogs enable you to draw out knowledge and insights across the business.
Similarly, the intranet’s suite of tools will facilitate corporate knowledge sharing. Take your pick from wikis, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and newsfeeds. Create a sidebar design feature or a hot topic button for easy access to the top links. And well-designed online newsletters will keep everyone informed with engaging content.
Involve Staff More In Decision-Making
Did you know that disengaged employees cost US companies a whopping $550 billion a year? One sure-fire way to make employees feel appreciated and engaged is to involve them more in decision-making. Not only will it send an important message about how much you value their input, it will also lead to better decision-making. The different perspectives offered by staff on the front line who interact daily with customers will, in fact, strengthen decision-making.
The intranet’s online surveys and snap polls make it easy to canvass views and opinions. Invite staff to input views on the new employee benefits package. Ask the team to contribute insights on the customer experience, or put the location of the Christmas party to a popular vote. An easy-to-set-up poll or survey means you can quickly gather feedback when it’s needed.
Another possibility is an intranet-hosted online staff suggestion scheme. Senior managers don’t have a monopoly on all the bright ideas in a company. The truth is everyone has a contribution to make. And many time or money-saving initiatives, as well as innovations and new ideas, have come from employees. Use your intranet to encourage staff to contribute their suggestions with a bright ideas blog. Workplace technology will, therefore, be involving staff in decision-making as well as promoting a culture of creativity and innovation.
Streamline Workflows And Approvals Processes
Traditional paper and email-based business processes could not only be slowing your business down; they may also cost you money. These old-school ways of getting things done may mean you are slow to react and take longer to get things done. By contrast, your competitors with fully automated processes are faster, more agile, and responsive. Workplace technology that streamlines processes could make all the difference.
Furthermore, paper and email systems are notoriously prone to errors and mistakes. We have all had that frustrating experience of a form going missing or information being misfiled. Automated workflows and approvals processes cut down on the potential for errors and also speed up the process.
Use the intranet’s intuitive forms builder to create your online processes. And if you use G Suite or Office 365, then you can embed the form creation app directly on your intranet page. In this way, you can also provide contextual information or guidance notes relevant to the form.
So, whether it’s to report monthly sales figures, request a vacation, or submit an invoice for payment, the user just completes the online form. It’s as simple as that. And the intranet then automatically routes the form to the correct staff member for action.
What’s more, it’s much easier for managers to retain oversight of where things are at in the system. This means any blockages can be identified and dealt with as quickly as possible. With traditional approvals processes, it’s not uncommon for hold-ups to occur when a key employee is out of the office. They could be attending a sales conference, or checking in on valued customers. However, the cloud nature of the intranet means that staff can approve processes at any time and from any location. So, a three-day road trip to visit customers upstate does not mean that workflows grind to a halt. The employee can log on to the intranet and complete the process even when out of the office.
Increase Opportunities For Staff To Collaborate
The increase in remote working as a result of the coronavirus pandemic has put the spotlight on team collaboration. Workplace technology that supports collaboration is a critical issue at the moment. However, for businesses with multiple offices, it will continue to be important long after the pandemic is over.
The truth is very few tasks, and processes can be completed without one or more staff working together. Workplace technology has provided opportunities for staff to do just that regardless of their location. And the benefits to the business include more innovation, better problem-solving, and improved efficiencies.
Cross-team collaboration is really a no-brainer, and the intranet makes it easy to implement in your business. You can set up intranet-based project or team collaborative workspaces. Staff can come together to share insights, data, and files. Using embedded G Suite or Office 365 apps, they can collaborate in real-time on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. The intranet’s straightforward admin tools restrict access to the collaborative spaces to only those that need it.
Another tool to support team collaboration is instant messaging. You can set up social media style #channels for staff to follow. Within the channels, employees can share messages and upload files, data, or videos. And the #channels can be organized by roles, teams, locations, or industry trends.
What’s more, the intranet also allows staff to identify and connect with potential collaborators through an online staff directory. Visual and engaging, the employee directory includes areas of expertise and current work projects alongside a biography. Employees can easily locate internal subject experts. Let’s say, for example, you are setting up a cross-team project looking at improving the customer experience. You can quickly identify potential candidates from across the business using the employee directory.
Workplace Technology: The Intranet Solution
The Covid-19 crisis has undoubtedly created many challenges in the workplace. In a very short space of time, we have all had to adapt to new ways of working and operating. Many companies have spent the weeks in lockdown hastily searching and implementing solutions to stay afloat.
The typical pain points we have identified in this post apply to businesses struggling with the current crisis. Many will continue to be felt long after the pandemic is over.
An intranet, however, can support your business during the good times, as well as the bad. What’s required in today’s workplaces is a versatile, flexible solution. And here’s what else the intranet has to offer:
- Easy to set up and simple to use
- Comprehensive suite of tools and features under one roof
- Customizable with your company brand and specific requirements
- Integrates with other systems such as Salesforce, G Suite, and Dropbox
- Secure and reliable – high uptime and availability as well as SSL encryption
- Cost-effectiveness – unlimited data storage and users for one affordable monthly fee
- Single sign-on using Okta – gateway access to a fully integrated, flexible solution.
Are you ready to take the next step? Our all-in-one intranet software has been designed with the non-technical person in mind. Sign up today for a free demo of MyHub’s beautifully designed and easy to use intranet software. Or why not try out our software in your business with a no-obligation 14-day trial.