You’ve read about their features, you’ve weighed the pros and cons, you’ve probably even reviewed some side-by-side product comparisons. When you’re considering intranets, there’s a lot to, well…consider. And here’s one more—one that may not be so obvious.
It’s generally understood that an intranet can be a very helpful addition to a workplace. But it can go beyond that. Not only can an intranet help your workplace, an intranet can transform it—and in more ways than one. Not sure what I mean? Then read on!
1. It can make your workplace portable
So, let’s start out with the big, obvious one. One of the most transformative changes an intranet can have on your workplace is that it can redefine what’s considered the “traditional workplace” (aka the brick-and-mortar location where people gather on an almost daily basis to do what they’ve been hired to do).
And we’re not just talking about how people can work from home, because working on a project offline while replying to an occasional email does not make your couch part of your workplace.
But with an intranet, suddenly your couch can be a part of your workplace, just like your office’s lobby, workstations, or rows of ergonomic standing swivel desks. That’s because having an intranet is like bringing your whole workplace with you wherever there’s a WiFi connection.
So, you can have a team chat while sipping a latte at the coffee shop, update company documentation while shushing loudmouths at the library, or post a notice about an upcoming work fundraiser while waiting at the airport for your delayed connection to Des Moines. An intranet allows you to be “in” your workplace from almost anywhere.
2. It can make your workplace more like Cheers
Yes, I’m referring to the classic ‘80s TV comedy (and no, I don’t mean that an intranet will automatically add draft beer, barstools, and a sarcastic server named Carla to your breakrooms). What I mean, ties to what’s arguably the most memorable thing about Cheers—its theme song. Specifically, the lyric that describes the titular bar as a place where “everybody knows your name”.
THAT’S what an intranet can do for your workplace—make it a place where everybody knows your name (and where you know everybody else’s name as well). People directories make it super simple to put faces to names and can even help you out when you’ve forgotten the name of that guy from Sales you end up sharing the elevator with every morning. No longer will you have to say “Hey there, um…you” and instead, you'll be able to address him directly by his name (it’s Joshua).
And addressing someone by their name (or being addressed by your own name), even if it’s just during a hallway nod to one another, is one of the quickest ways to build connections and boost confidence in yourself and others at your workplace.
3. It can boost your workplace’s profile
With large organizations that have multiple locations, it can sometimes feel like your satellite office isn’t even on the radar. Even more so if your location is much smaller and/or has fewer employees than the rest. It’s like your location is making little baby footprints in the sand that just get stomped all over by the larger locations and their big sasquatch feet.
But an intranet can give your workplace many ways to be seen and heard within your organization, no matter its size. You can become a voice for your workplace by publishing news items, updates or a workplace profile. Even if you’re not specifically building up your location, you can use an intranet to help build up your own profile through actions like participating in general discussions and commenting on posts.
All of this will help shine that spotlight on where you are, and soon your location will have some virtual big boy shoes of its own to stomp around in.
4. It can make your workplace more self-sufficient
If Marci from Marketing is driving Devin from Design crazy requesting copies of previous logo treatments, and Anwar from Accounting can’t stop pestering Hal from HR for documentation on every possible policy and procedure, then it’s time to make everyone a little more self-sufficient.
A key component of a modern intranet is some kind of content repository. A one-stop shop for all your company documentation that’s well-organized, easy to use, and self-serving. Employees will be empowered when they’re able to find what they need on their own (and it’ll definitely make Hal from HR’s days a lot less frazzled).
5. It can make your workplace well-informed
You’ve sent emails that were never opened. You’ve posted notices that aren’t noticed because people think the bulletin board in the breakroom is just a piece of retro art. You’ve even tried taping missives to the bathroom mirrors only to find them at the end of the day, water-streaked and illegible. You don’t have an effective way to communicate pertinent information with everyone in your workplace and it’s becoming a big problem.
An intranet can turn all that around and make your entire workplace up-to-date about everything that’s need-to-know. Targeted content, featured news articles, org-wide chats—the right intranet can offer you all these (and more) ways to successfully communicate with everyone and anyone in your organization. Everyone’s on the same page—and your bulletin board can now fulfill its destiny and actually become a piece of retro art.
6. It can give your company culture a stronger workplace presence
Does your org believe in the power of teamwork?
Intranets make collaborating with others easy and efficient.
Does your org promote open communication?
Intranets make it simple to reach out and connect with anyone who has a company profile.
Does your org see the value of celebrating creativity, recognizing accomplishments, and appreciating diversity?
Well, so do the makers of most intranets. Many intranets come with feeds for real-time updates and announcements as well as built-in or optional recognition and reward systems.
In other words, an intranet can help foster your workplace’s company culture by being a tool to help demonstrate and promote the very things your organization stands by, strives for, or holds in high value. Who knew?
7. It can provide the foundation for a robust digital workplace
We’ve mentioned this point before, but it’s worth circling back to because of its importance: A modern intranet can set the foundation for a solid digital workplace.
All those stand-alone apps everyone in your workplace uses? Get them all integrated into a modern intranet and suddenly you have the means for collaboration, communication, documentation AND access to your needed third-party tools, vendors, and services, all at your fingertips.
And as you build your digital workplace, you start realizing the ripple effects, like no more needing to wait for a free meeting room or coordinate conflicting schedules. No more messy email strings with lost attachments. No more randomly scattered apps battling it out for desktop domination. With an intranet as the anchor for your digital workplace you can relax with confidence as everything starts to run much smoother and becomes easier to manage.
So there you have it. A variety of transformations that an intranet can bring to your workplace. And while they may not be Optimus Prime-level transformations, they’re still pretty substantial in their own right (and a lot less noisy).