Recent world events have turned the majority of the workforce to remote workers. Yes, we can all stay in touch via email and instant messaging tools, but what about running internal processes?
Working in the customer experience team as a technical support specialist, I see queries around virtualization coming in every day. Virtualization is the process of digitizing elements of your office to enable your staff to work remotely.
Here’s some advice to streamline the process of going online:
If there is anything to take away from the past few months, it’s that we need to keep moving forward. Just because most (if not all) employees are working from home, it doesn’t mean that announcements won’t be made, or that the company won’t be updating policies. In fact, if there was ever a time for interaction and review of company policies, the time is now.
Your intranet is the place where these discussions can and should be happening.
On the one hand, there are formal updates that include important company information. Take this to the next level with features such as “read and confirm” functions to make sure everyone received the message. On the other, your intranet offers a social space, a hub for sharing resources and announcements, communication highlights and employee recognition. You may all be working in different places, but there’s no reason that you can’t connect and engage on a central platform.
Working in the customer experience team, I work with a number of clients who have optimized and set up their intranet as a hub of information. Done right, I’ve seen intranets take on a life of its own and truly become part of the culture of the organization. But even in its barest bones, by purely using the tool to update employees on current events, it can still perform a powerful function.
At IC Thrive we see your intranet as your “single source of truth”. Anything employees need or want to know, sits there. In times of crisis such as now, having a central hub of information is key to keep the team calm and productive.
In its essence, however, an intranet is passive. You’re still asking (often nagging) employees to head on over to get informed. By combining your intranet with an active tool, you extend your reach beyond simply putting information out there, to real and meaningful engagement.
Reach, an internal communication software, communicates major announcements directly to your employees’ preferred channels, whether on desktop or mobile. No training and no downloads required. It simply broadcasts messages to multiple channels (Slack, Microsoft Teams, email and SMS), while tracking views and engagement.
Reach and Source intranet software are both IC Thrive products and integrates with one another. Why not try something new that can have a transformative effect on your communication strategy?
Do you worry about business continuity if the servers were to go down with no one in the office? Then it’s time to rethink your on-premise servers and opt for cloud.
Internally, we host our own intranet on private cloud and since we started offering it to our clients a year ago, it has drastically changed our service offering as well.
Not only does it lighten the load on your IT department, but by using private cloud servers, we can have a basic intranet set up and running for you in a few short days.
Depending on how your employees authenticate to their workstation this may be a bit of a challenge. A couple of years ago, IC Thrive decided to switch to hosting our active directory to the cloud after our office had to go without power for the day due to maintenance work outside.
This was a great lesson for us to learn what roadblocks needed to be overcome in order to access internal systems.
Our current Source intranet software is supported by Azure Active Directory Authentication.
Let’s talk about cybersecurity. In the office environment, workstations are set up with the latest software to ensure safe browsing. In some instances, certain websites or searches are blocked from the get-go.
This is not the same when employees are working from home on their own machines and internet connections. In steps the VPN.
You will need the help of your IT department to establish a VPN connection upfront, but the reward is enabling your staff access to internal resources and systems rather than exposing your network to potential threats. VPNs can also enable the employee to remote into their work computer, allowing them access to their local files or work off their workstation as if they were in the office.
Not only does this make life easier, but also much safer.
Voice over IP (VoIP) has been around for a number of years which can be leveraged to allow remote workers to connect on phone systems. VoIP replaces the old phone lines by connecting users via the internet. Many VoIP providers have online portals so employees can typically redirect their phone calls to their cell phones. In some cases, they’ll have apps available for download to their desktop computer where they can receive calls on their personal computer. At IC Thrive, we utilize RingCentral for our phone system.
Have a look at this guide on engaging remote employees. Don’t forget to use your intranet – here’s some information on using your intranet for internal communication. If you’re running short in communicators, here’s how you can train managers to communicate effectively.