Connecting and communicating with employees has never been more important than in the current Covid-19 crisis. And the same principle applies to other types of crises. It could be extreme weather events, natural disasters, or even terrorist situations impacting on your business operations. Remote working has now become the new norm as much of the world is put in lockdown. It’s been an anxious and challenging time for everyone.
However, in difficult times, your intranet has a critical role to play. It will allow work to continue, and it will support internal communications as well as team collaboration.
Whether it’s to provide leadership, sustain operations, offer reassurances, or enhance the well-being of employees, your intranet is an essential tool. In this post, we explore how to use the intranet during a crisis.
With entire workforces working from home, often for the first time and for extended periods, showing leadership is critical.
Employees may be feeling disconnected and adrift. They will also be worried about their jobs, health, and futures. Now is the time for CEOs and senior managers to step up and provide decisive leadership.
Use the intranet to deliver personal, authentic video communications. Vlogs are the perfect vehicle for getting your critical messaging out there. It could be updates and news relating to the crisis and operational requirements. Or it could be to assist staff trying to navigate remote working. Perhaps most important of all, you can use your vlog to boost team morale and provide encouragement and reassurance.OK
Keep Staff Updated In Real-Time
When a crisis strikes, businesses have to demonstrate agility and adaptability in challenging, often changing and unprecedented circumstances.
In the context of a crisis, providing a single source of truth to employees is critical. With fake news and rumors rampant on social media, staff need to access real-time updates from a trusted, authoritative source.
You can quash confusion and misinformation among staff with the intranet’s news feed. Delivering updates in real-time, the intranet gives your staff anytime and anywhere access to trusted news. Furthermore, employees can comment on news items, ask questions, and get authoritative answers to any queries.
You can also use the intranet to deliver critical alerts. It could be to notify workers of an upcoming computer outage or to report on an important operational change due to the crisis. An intranet-delivered alert means that all staff receive the same timely message. And the intranet’s system of notifications enables you to track who has received and read the message.
Set Up A Crisis Communication Center
Quick and simple access to essential updates and resources is critical for staff in a crisis. You can easily set up an information hub in the intranet using quick links or a what’s hot button. And within the crisis communications center, why not create specific spaces or folder for staff to access centralized resources. These could be based on location, team, or role – whatever works for your business. Use the center to house, for instance, the updated remote working policy, the latest safety and health procedures, or revised operational guidelines.
The intranet’s instant messaging tool offers another route to keep staff informed about the crisis. Use it to create specific, topical #channels that employees can follow just as they do outside work on social media. The @mentions feature means you can immediately notify staff of updates to #channels they are following or that are relevant to them.
Promote Quick Resolution Of Issues With Instant Messaging
As well as supporting the dissemination of crisis information, instant messaging is a fantastic tool for quickly resolving problems. Whether it’s to fix a software issue, query a sales figure, or check on an expenses claim, an instant message to a colleague sees it resolved in seconds. It’s also possible to upload files and data for instant sharing.
Moreover, research tells us instant messaging boosts workplace productivity. In one survey, 66 percent of respondents confirmed that instant messaging led to quick and easy resolution of simple questions. And if you are concerned that it might be distracting for employees, the same survey suggests otherwise. Thirty percent of respondents said that the presence of messaging apps is not distracting at all. And for another 51 percent, it was only minimally distracting. Respondents reported that a decrease in call and email volume, together with the quick resolution of issues, were the top productivity benefits. And in the context of a crisis, these kinds of advantages could make all the difference.
Create Ways To Collaborate
Keeping operations going is probably the biggest challenge of the current crisis. This is especially so for those teams who need to collaborate to get the job done. They are used to working side by side and now have to adapt to interacting remotely.
The intranet helps to minimize the disruption to normal operations by ensuring staff can continue to work together no matter where they are located. Public and private project workspaces allow employees to brainstorm, share insights and data, and collaborate in real-time on documents. MyHub has embedded connections to G Suite or Office 365 apps as well as Dropbox for a truly integrated solution. And access to these cross-team collaboration workspaces is easily restricted using the intranet’s admin tools.
Of course, keeping staff productive in a crisis is a top priority. And there are lots of ways that an intranet can support staff productivity.
The intranet’s secure document exchange makes it easy for your team to locate, share, or collaborate on files and documents. Supported by an advanced search function, your employees stay productive by self-sourcing information. It might be to check on the latest sales figures, source some internal research, or resolve a query on a product specification. Everything they need is at their fingertips in the intranet’s information hub.
Likewise, the online staff directory makes it easy to locate internal subject experts. Highly visual with highlighted areas of expertise and current projects, the staff directory is always a popular tool. And for remote workers, it can be a lifeline.
Problems with hardware or software are a regular issue for remote workers who don’t have IT professionals to hand. A check of the staff directory for a subject expert followed by an instant message is usually all that’s needed.
Furthermore, productivity is supported and enhanced by the intranet’s automated forms. Whether it’s to report on sales data, approve purchase orders, or authorize expenses, an online process is faster and more streamlined. Instead of multiple emailed forms, the intranet automatically routes the data to the correct staff member for action. Errors are minimized, along with the possibility of information going astray. And the manager has complete oversight of the process.
Provide A Sense Of Community
Providing a morale-boosting sense of camaraderie and community is vital in a crisis. Take the current coronavirus pandemic as an example. Staff members may be isolated from families and loved ones. And for those used to the social connections work provides, they will be missing a sense of community and connection if remote working continues long-term.
In this context, the intranet provides a valuable lifeline. Informal chat can take place between colleagues using instant messaging and #channels such as #timeout or #coffeewithcolleagues. Staff can enjoy some downtime with their peers over casual conversation. It could be to sound off about the challenges of remote working or to swap ideas on the best TV to watch in the lockdown. The critical point here is that workers can reach out and sustain those social relationships that are so important at work.
Now more than ever, staff need positive reinforcement and good news stories. If you have an employee recognition scheme in place already, then make sure you carry on during the crisis. And if you have not, then recognize employees’ contributions with #shout-outs, badges, or stories on the intranet news feed. Making staff feel valued and appreciated will help boost all-round morale.
And the good news is your business stands to benefit once normal service resumes. The stronger, more resilient workforce that emerges at the end of the crisis will make your recovery easier.
Support Employee Wellbeing
Stress and anxiety levels naturally peak in a crisis. Added to this is the isolation and loneliness that many remote workers are facing every day. The potential impact on the health and wellbeing of your employees can, therefore, be significant. Maintaining the team’s spirit and sense of camaraderie will help on the employee wellbeing front. However, the intranet can support the health and wellbeing of your workers in other ways too.
If you have not done so already, then now is the time to set up a dedicated health and wellbeing space on the intranet. Use it to highlight online roadmaps, tools, and step-by-step processes that support employee wellbeing. Showcase mindfulness techniques and meditation or breathing exercises. Embed YouTube home workout videos to encourage staff to stay active while remote working. Set up a healthy recipe exchange with easy recipes to try out in the lockdown. And provide a forum for staff to swap tips and insights on, say, how to juggle the kids when you are on a conference call.
Supporting the health and wellbeing of staff during a crisis is something every responsible employer should be doing. Plus, it makes good business sense.
Provide An Employee Pulse Check
Use the intranet to check in on the workforce and find out how things are going. The intranet’s surveys and quizzes function is the perfect tool for collecting employee feedback. Assess the mood and opinions of employees by inviting views on questions such as the following:
- What challenges are you facing with the new way of working brought about by the crisis?
- What support do you need to get the job done?
- Have you got all the necessary tools in place to work from home successfully?
Polls and surveys provide a snapshot of what employees are feeling. And the ideas and feedback you receive can inform your leadership and the support you offer.
Futureproof Your Business
Finally, it may seem hard to imagine in the midst of the current pandemic, but this crisis will eventually come to an end. We may not yet know the timeframe, but some sort of normality will resume in the future. Your business needs to not only survive the crisis; ideally, it should thrive.
An intranet platform means you can easily rebuild for the future. It will be there supporting collaboration, internal communications, and knowledge management regardless of the external environment. And it will be there should another crisis interrupt your operations in the future.
So, for a digital platform that supports your business through good times and the bad, an intranet is the solution.
MyHub’s intranet platform is used by a wide range of businesses around the world. Designed with the non-technical person in mind, our intranet templates make it easy to include multiple, pre-designed pages on your intranet. Plus, the fully integrated set of features and tools supports more streamlined and productive business operations that staff can access from anywhere.
Why not take advantage of the 14-day no-obligation trial and try it out in your business?