Internal Communications closes the working-from-home gap and makes people happy

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arrow-right All posts Published on 16.07.2020

During the Corona pandemic, “social distancing” is the name of the game, and many companies have completely overhauled their organizational structures and processes within the span of just a few days to enable working from home. How social distancing affects the working population as individuals has been discussed in the media for weeks. The result: This lack of social contact – the kind you get in the office – is often very stressful, especially for single people. But how does physical distance affect the relationship between companies and their employees? How can I reach my employees working from home and create a positive working atmosphere?

During the Corona pandemic, “social distancing” is the name of the game, and many companies have completely overhauled their organizational structures and processes within the span of just a few days to enable working from home. How social distancing affects the working population as individuals has been discussed in the media for weeks. The result: This lack of social contact – the kind you get in the office – is often very stressful, especially for single people. But how does physical distance affect the relationship between companies and their employees? How can I reach my employees working from home and create a positive working atmosphere?

Fast, uncomplicated, and reliable communication within the company is more important than ever in times of crisis. Physical distance creates a greater need for communication – both among employees and between management and staff. This can be managed very well on a common platform, such as a Social Intranet. In an Intranet, working groups exchange information in workspaces, and employees communicate in real time via the chat function. Company management uses top-down communication to distribute all important information and news to employees in a targeted manner – meaning no one is left out. This improves the working climate in the long term because otherwise, uninformed employees feel left out and become dissatisfied.

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A modern, digital workplace ensures good cooperation

The goal of every company must therefore be to make their Intranet an attractive platform where employees enjoy spending time and communicating with each other. Otherwise, even centrally communicated information will not arrive, and in cases of doubt, employees will communicate via WhatsApp or other “shadow IT” services. No one really wants that. It would be better to have a common platform on which internal messages and files can be securely distributed and shared.

 

How do I turn an Intranet into a “Digital Home” for my employees?

When everyone feels comfortable on the Intranet, colleagues quickly connect with one another, and the general feeling of belonging to the company increases. For this to work, incentives to use the Intranet must be created – and not just during the Corona pandemic – that go beyond the mere exchange of information and files. Examples of successful employee engagement are the news feed, a bulletin board, or gamification approaches such as sweepstakes or advent calendars.

In the news feed, also known as the Timeline, employees create and comment on posts as well as share documents, pictures, and videos with colleagues. You can react directly to new posts, for example, with a comment or Like. The functionality is similar to those of social networks and encourage communication and collaboration. The basic idea behind this is that all employees can actively address topics and provide their own input. The Timeline is not only a medium for the exchange of professional topics, but also a platform for personal networking. When in separate workspaces, photos from the home office, crafting tutorials for the kids, or memes for mutual motivation can be shared – everything is allowed here.

 
“Photos from the home office, crafting instructions, memes – anything goes here.”
 

The virtual bulletin board provides a further incentive to use the Intranet regularly. Employees can post requests and offers on this electronic Intranet marketplace. Especially during the Corona lockdown, many people are clearing out the basement or attic and looking for a buyer for their vintage treasures. On the bulletin board, they can post structured ads, while at the same time talking about sports equipment and hobbies. This migration of private (shopping) activities to an internal company platform increases both the utilization of the Intranet and the feeling of identifying with the company.

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A particular challenge in the current Corona situation is the onboarding of new employees. They should feel immediately welcome and get to know their colleagues personally, despite the physical distance. For this purpose, why not integrate a chatbot into the Intranet which helps to automate the onboarding of the “newcomers” during the familiarization phase while still providing personal support? Whether it’s checklists for filling out their user profile or the assignment of small challenges, such as making an appointment for a virtual coffee break with colleagues: The “Onboarding Bot” facilitates integration and ensures that new employees quickly feel at home in the Intranet and the company.

 

Conclusion: Physical distance: yes, social distance: no!

Keeping your distance during the Corona pandemic has become an important policy. But even if there is a lot of talk about “social distancing”, people should only be keeping their distance from each other physically, not socially. To prevent employees who work from home from becoming “lonely”, they must be integrated. This is best achieved by animating lively internal communications and using the Intranet in all working and living situations. In this way, the feeling of belonging to the company grows, despite physical distance; and in the long term, productivity and satisfaction increase.

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photo-• Karen-Bönke-•
Author

• Karen Bönke •

Karen is Marketing Manager of the IT service provider empulse and provides fans of Social Intranets and Digital Workplaces with the latest developments and useful tips. She mainly deals with current topics concerning the Digital Workplace and digital processes.

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