intranetAs the lockdown restrictions have now eased, businesses are considering return-to-workplace strategies for their employees. However, life isn’t going back to normal just yet. With the imminent risk of contracting the novel coronavirus, social distancing has to be maintained and technology has to be leveraged to reduce physical contact and improve communication. Businesses, therefore, are considering a hybrid approach where only some employees are required to return to the workplace while others continue to work remotely.

In this blog, we will look at some of the challenges before employers in the new normal and the steps they can take to improve communication and collaboration.

Challenges in the New Normal

Ensuring Communication and Collaboration

The pandemic has completely changed internal communications. Work-from-home has underlined the need for better internal communication and companies must ensure that their employees have the right tools available to connect and collaborate and that they receive all the internal updates on all channels. Internal communicators are rising up to the challenge and have confidence in the measures they have taken. According to a recent survey, 83% of internal communication professionals feel that the crisis has positively impacted trust in communication.

With no more in-person access to their teams, collaboration has become more challenging. Employees need better ways to access information and collaborate without having to jump on multiple phone calls in a single day. As some employees start returning to their workplaces while others continue to work remotely, business leaders also fear that a disconnected workforce might create misalignments in expectations and behaviors, with employees unable to express themselves or solve problems together, impacting the quality and consistency of work and compromising the integrity of the business. 

During crises, internal corporate communication is critical to keep employees informed about the change in policies, latest company news, HR updates, project changes etc. Organizations need to retire age-old practices like using emails and instead adopt modern communication tools to ensure the right people get the right updates at the right time.

Maintaining Corporate Culture and Purpose

In today’s globalized world, as businesses expand across multiple countries and continents, it is the corporate culture and the common sense of purpose that connects it all together. It helps employees feel that they are a part of something bigger than themselves through certain traditions and rituals, making them feel unique and confident. Giving a sense of purpose is imperative in these uncertain times. Purpose ranked within the top three factors that employees look for an organization even before the pandemic.

Hybrid workplaces might lead to a disparity between the in-office and the remote workforces, leading to loss of empathy, trust, and cohesion, and eventually, talent drain, both of which will compromise the ability of the business to power through difficult situations. 

The Solution: 

Adopt a Modern Intranet Supported by Robust Chatbots

Improving collaboration and ensuring purpose for employees can be addressed with the right technology and tools in place. Employees must have access to the information they need when they need it. Intranets can facilitate improved communication and collaboration while addressing a myriad of issues that a hybrid workplace is bound to introduce. We’ll highlight a few use cases below:

  • An intranet allows you to establish touchpoints for internal communication

Share important updates and notifications via the intranet, while simultaneously sending timely alerts to drive employees to check these updates. This is also a great way for you to ensure your employees are regularly supplied with knowledge and actionable insights surrounding the crisis and therefore, enabling them to be better positioned to navigate emergencies.

  • Create a dedicated resource center 

A dedicated area for pandemic related support and assistance provides a channel for your employees to make requests, access critical information, and learn about various relief initiatives or fundraising efforts your organization may be involved in. 

  • Seamless project collaboration between teams 

With hybrid workplaces, collaboration and project management can seem daunting. As tasks continue to mount, approaching them in an organized, methodical way is important. A well-structured intranet, with a role-based content permission system, can offer your employees both flexibility and ongoing support as they navigate the secure exchange of project related information. 

Since a majority of the workforce works remotely, a modern intranet should also provide robust collaboration tools that encourage in departmental and cross functional relationships and break siloes. This can be enabled with idea sharing systems, social collaboration tools like Yammer, collaborative project workspaces, multilingual capabilities and so on.

  • Offer a centralized platform for discussions

Your intranet allows your employees the space to voice their concerns with each other, brainstorm possible solutions, coordinate with each other on various projects, including those that aren’t directly related to their work. This is a great opportunity to help your employees connect on a more meaningful level, as they all band together to overcome the devastating effects of a pandemic while continuing to be productive at their respective organizational roles. Effective communication and coordination amongst team members foster the right work environment, thereby enabling you to secure your corporate culture.

As organizations across the board adopt the strategy of integrating intranets into their businesses, it’s worth noting that lack of proper maintenance and continuous upgradation of the intranet can lead to a drastic decline in adoption rates.

  • Leverage chatbots to fully realize the benefits of the Intranet

Chatbots allow you to leverage both ‘push’ and ‘pull’ strategies to encourage employees to use the intranet more often and ultimately boost adoption rates.

Any organization’s intranet is stacked with tons of data, and employees find it exceedingly challenging to locate information. A chatbot acts as the voice of an intranet; when employees ask a question, it can serve up required answers in a matter of seconds. An intranet bot can address your employee’s concerns on demand, and that too on the enterprise’s most-used communication platform (Skype, Slack, Skype For Business, etc.).

Get Started

Strong communication and collaboration can not only enable clear and relevant exchanges across individuals, groups, and functions but can also bring them together to cherish each other’s victories and shrug one’s losses. Therefore, while the return-to-workplace plan will vary across businesses, industries, and geographies, the proliferation of digital communication and collaboration tools is set to be the most common denominator as businesses recover from the Pandemic Recession, bridging the gap between the employees working remotely and in the workplaces.

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