I remember back in early 2020 what it used to be like when people worked remotely. It could be utter chaos! Inboxes full of emails (lots never replied to), diaries filled with meetings, lots of overlapping work done, and no one could ever find the information they needed. I've heard a lot of tales from our customers before they got the Hub, and their teams were just overwhelmed and unprepared for working remotely.
As someone that now works 100% remotely post-covid, I've learned the value of connected collaboration. Keeping people in touch and working together effectively - wherever we are. And it all comes down to using the right tools and strategies.
But it’s not just about fancy tech – it’s also about using tech well. In this post, we’ll go over 10 best practices that remote companies need to know to build a social intranet that everyone will love!
1. Start Your Day Right: Consider Scheduling a Recurring Meeting to Stay Organized and Productive!
Starting my day with a quick recurring meeting helps me stay connected with my remote team. By keeping the meeting time consistent, I always feel like I'm ready. It helps our team keep a sense of structure and routine, especially while working from home. Just remember, meetings are only worth having if they're short and focused on sharing information, not just gossiping about work.
Here are 7 Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Daily Team Meeting:
Make sure everyone attending is prepared with their own agenda items.
Have someone record the meetings and share them with everyone afterward.
Keep the conversation focused on the topics discussed in the meeting.
Assign a facilitator or leader to keep the meeting on track and on time.
Set a goal for each meeting and review it at the end.
Have a backup plan for when meetings run long or go off-topic.
Encourage participation from everyone in the meeting.
2. Stay Connected: Make Yourself Available on Multiple Channels and Keep Your Status Up-to-Date.
Let's make sure everyone is on the same page, shall we? Making yourself available on multiple channels is a great way to stay in touch with colleagues. So, no matter how busy you are, you can always keep in touch - whether that's on Slack, MS Teams, or your intranet's group chatrooms. And don't forget to keep your status up-to-date! Intranets like Hub, and comms tools like Slack and MS Teams, all allow you to post your current status, so everyone knows where you're at and if you're busy. It's the polite thing to do, isn't it? That way, everyone knows whether you're available to chat or if you're up to your eyeballs in work.
Be available on multiple channels
Make sure your status is up-to-date
Check in with your team regularly
3. Keep it Private: Make Sure Your Team Has a Separate Channel to Communicate.
In my first job, I realized the importance of having a private communication channels for individual or team chats. Using company-wide comms channels for specific project, team or individual collaboration gets confusing, and can create frustration for those not involved receiving irrelevant communications as you clog up their inbox unnecessarily.
Isn't it cool to have private chat channels?
Private channels of communication are super handy for remote working. Social intranets like Hub, allow you to create unlimited Group Forums with a private chatroom where only members of the Group can view, share information and communicate together. This is perfect for remote or hybrid working teams wanting to collaborate on a specific topic. Whether it's a project work group, a department team area, or the board of trustees, the Hub offers a private channel of instant communication in your own secret area, boasting dedicated pages for you to privately share and access information or assets only available to group members. A private channel for each team within the organization is essential for many teams. This protects sensitive information from being seen in the wrong places and allows colleagues to have more candid conversations without fear of public scrutiny.
4. Streamline Your Remote Workflows and Increase Productivity With A Best Practices Library.
Having experienced the benefits of remote work first-hand, I can tell you that having a library of company best practices everyone can access is essential. Departmental resources, FAQs areas, training materials, company policies and links to external systems, all easily accessible in one central digital workplace, really helps to ensure all employees have all the resources they need to be successful.
Here are 4 Essentials to Keep Your Best Practices Resource Library Fresh
Ensure that all resources are kept up-to-date.
Give remote employees access to information about company policy and procedure, and make them a mandatory read for all.
Regularly review documents and policies to ensure they are up-to-date.
5. Set up an 'Ask the Experts' area for feedback and discussion, with peers who know their stuff.
Taking advantage of our 'ask the experts' channel has been an invaluable tool for me in my professional journey and growth. Not only did I gain invaluable feedback from wiser peers, but I also created meaningful connections with my mentors and mentees that have allowed me to grow in ways I never even considered!
There are many benefits to having an "ask the experts" channel.
Having an 'experts' area helps promote two-way communication between employees and management, drives peer collaboration, and provides an outlet to give feedback and guidance to employees working remotely. You can ask quick questions in real time, and receive immediate guidance from subject matter experts in your company. This all helps to foster a greater sense of community, connectivity and company culture.
In a remote work setting, finding the right person or resource can take time, but with an 'ask the experts' channel, the team can enjoy quick and easy access to the information they need. This not only saves time, but it also improves efficiency and productivity for everybody.
Intranet platforms like Hub have multiple tools that enable you to quickly setup and managed an 'experts' channel, either via a form workflow or group forum, it's super easy to implement. So, if your team doesn't have an 'ask the experts' channel yet, I highly recommend setting one up. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.
Ask the experts channels can help to:
Encourage feedback and discussion with colleagues.
Promote connectivity and inspiration.
Help avoid 'reinventing the wheel'.
Save you and your team time and effort.
6. Set up a peer recognition program to encourage team communication, engagement, and culture.
Team recognition can inspire trust. According to a study conducted by Gallup, 66% of people on frequently praised teams strongly agree with the statement: "I trust the colleagues with whom I work on a regular basis", compared to only 26% on teams where praise isn't regularly given.
As someone who has experienced the benefits of employee recognition programs firsthand, I can say with confidence that they are an excellent way to encourage effective communication, by promoting better team engagement and builds a strong positive connection with your team. These programs not only help to build morale and boost mental wellbeing, helping to motivate team members, but they also foster a sense of community and strengthen working relationships - which is vital when you're working remotely.
Examples of recognition programs include:
Awards like “Employee of the Month” or “Sales person of the Year”.
Recognition from managers and teammates that are publicly displayed on a kudos board on your intranet homepage for everyone can see.
News articles with stories about employee success stories, recognising their hard work and/or activities - whether that's in the office or out.
Here's how to do a regular recognition program:
Make sure it's well-publicized so people know about it ahead of time.
Choose a frequency that works best for your culture and company size - i.e. once every month or quarter seems reasonable for most companies.
Identify one person from each department who will oversee the program; this helps keep things fair across departments (and gives someone with less direct authority over employees some power).
7. Gauge opinions on important topics with polls, then discuss further in a separate thread.
Polls can be great for gauging opinions within an organization. Workamajig suggests that annual surveys can be useful for gathering general feedback on an organization's initiatives, while using more regular pulse surveys can provide more focused feedback on specific topics. Using pulse surveys, employee engagement polls, and anonymous feedback forms to gather employee feedback has proven effective in many organizations.
Engagement tools like Hub's polls feature, enables you to create fully customizable employee surveys and opinion polls, fully anonymous, so you can really gauge the vibe of your remote working colleagues. And because Hub's Polls instantly show you the results in a chart once you've voted, you can also see how the rest of the company voted, helping you as an individual to gauge how everyone else is feeling / thinking. This type of software can also help employees to be self-aware and increase their productivity.
8. Keep people informed! Tag content and colleagues to get them involved in the conversation.
A social intranet is like a exclusive virtual party or reunion. The key to any successful party is inviting the right people, and making sure your party is cool enough that they stay. And this is where smart features like Tags comes in!
Hub Tags are a super powerful tool than ensure you show the right content to the right people, personalising the employee experience to keep them engaged and help them find the right content quickly. Your remote teams can subscribe to certain tags, and then get automatic notifications when something new is added that matches that tag. No more missed gossip while not in the office. All the important, relevant news gets delivered straight to your door!
Posting or commenting with tags is like inviting someone to the party. To include someone in a conversation or task without having to send them an email, you can "tag" the person. Simply add a user to a group chat conversation or Task using the Hub's 'Contact Selector' tool, and they'll receive an instant alert they've been invited to the conversation. They can choose to RSVP right away or show up fashionably late - either way, they'll know they're welcome to join in the conversation when you "tag" them.
When you tag someone, that person will receive a notification and can jump into the thread at their leisure. This makes it easier for you to include people who are not always online when it comes time to discuss something important, like a project deadline.
You can also use tags as an organizational tool—if you want all of your coworkers interested in travel to see each post about vacations, just tag them! You'll be able to find them more easily later because they're all tagged together under one topic area (e.g., "travel").
9. Personal Profiles: Get to know your coworkers on a whole new level!
People shouldn't be left to feel like a strangers at a remote workplace. You can fix that with your social intranet to help people get to know each other better, and form stronger social networks within the company. Personal Profiles make it easier for people to connect, communicate and support one another's work.
Here are some steps that you can take to implement this strategy in your own organization.
Create personal profiles for each employee.
Include details about employees in their profiles (work role, interests, awards, team management, likes, etc.)
Use profile photos to reinforce employee identity online.
Allow employees access rights to add new content themselves.
Make updates faster by using a single sign-on account instead of separate accounts with limited access.
10. It’s not just about the technology – it’s also about using it properly.
Intranet applications can be powerful tools for improving employee retention and engagement. For example, Deloitte found an 87% increase in retention rates occurred when organizations implemented social intranets—and a 20% increase in satisfaction scores.
But buying a tool is only part of the solution. The most useful social intranets are those that become more useful the more they get used. In other words, you want to find ways over time to make sure your intranet is continually delivering value to your employees. But don't worry if you're not sure how you'll achieve this; after all, no one knows everything from day one - That's where we come in! We work with you every step of the way, from onboarding, post launch and beyond to ensure your intranet delivers continued value and success. You will learn over time by using these strategies regularly, making mistakes along the way but getting better each time.
Remote Work Best Practices:
5 Fabulous Tips for Acing Your Work-From-Home Game.
Working from home can be a real treat - no commuting, no office distractions, and the ability to wear your comfiest PJs all day long (if that's your thing). But knowing exactly how to work remotely can also be a bit of a challenge, especially if you're not used to it.
Here are a few best practices and tips for working remotely to help you make the most of your setup:
Set up a dedicated workspace: It's tempting to work from the couch or your bed, but trust us - you'll be much more productive if you have a designated work area. Make sure it's well-lit, comfortable, and free from distractions.
Create a schedule and stick to it: At home, it's easy to get sidetracked, so set clear boundaries. Determine your working hours and try to stick to them as closely as possible.
Take breaks: Just because you're at home doesn't mean you can't step away from your desk for a bit. Get up and stretch, go for a walk, or make yourself a cup of tea. It'll do wonders for your productivity.
Stay connected: Working from home can be isolating, so make sure to stay connected with your coworkers and team. Use video chat or messaging to stay in touch and collaborate.
Don't neglect self-care: Working from home can be demanding, so make sure to take care of yourself. Eat well, get some exercise, and make time for hobbies and activities you enjoy.
5 Savvy Tips for Maintaining Proper Etiquette While Telecommuting.
As someone who has been working remotely for the past three years, I've definitely had to learn a thing or two about maintaining proper etiquette. It can be a fantastic opportunity, but it's important to remember that you're still a part of a team and need to adhere to certain guidelines.
Here are a few tips that have helped me along the way:
Communicate clearly: It's easy for miscommunications to occur when you're not in the same physical location as your team, so make sure to communicate clearly and regularly and make sure you're on the same page.
Respect boundaries: Just because you're working remotely doesn't mean you can interrupt your coworkers at any time of the day. Respect their schedules and only reach out during designated working hours unless it's an emergency.
Dress appropriately: While it may be tempting to work in your pajamas all day, it's important to remember that you may be on a video call or have a last-minute meeting. Make sure to dress appropriately, even if you're just at home.
Be mindful of your surroundings: If you're on a video call, make sure to have a clean and professional background. Turn off any loud music or distracting noises, and silence your phone.
Stay organized: It's easy for things to get cluttered when you're working from home, so make sure to stay organized and keep your workspace clean. It'll help you stay focused and productive.
By following these remote work etiquette guidelines, you'll be able to maintain a professional and respectful working environment, even from the comfort of your own home. Happy telecommuting!
Does working from home increase productivity?
Many of us have been wondering for the past year or two if working from home genuinely increases productivity. The solution, it appears, is not that simple. Some studies have revealed that working from home might actually reduce productivity when it comes to repetitive or uninteresting jobs. Wrike.com.
Meanwhile, other research has found that working from home can increase work-life balance and overall productivity (businessnewsdaily.com). It's worth mentioning that the availability of improved technology, as well as the capacity for employees to advocate for more flexible work arrangements, has resulted in a rise in the proportion of individuals working from home at least half of the time (emailanalytics.com).
It's worth noting that the availability of better technology and the ability for employees to push for more flexible work arrangements have led to an increase in the number of people working from home at least half the time.
Reflecting on my personal experiences working from home, I can see how both of these ideas may be correct. There have undoubtedly been moments when I've found it more difficult to keep focused and motivated while working from home. At the same time, working from home has allowed me to get a lot more done simply because I have fewer distractions, no commute, and a more flexible schedule with the right tools to help me get my work done.
Ultimately, whether working from home increases productivity depends on many factors, including the task being performed, the employee, and the company's management. Forbes.com, for example, suggests that promoting natural connectors within the organization and encouraging strong teamwork and collaboration can help to mitigate any negative impacts of working from home on productivity - that's where tools like Hub come in handy!
As someone who has experienced both the highs and the lows of working from home, I have found it possible to be productive while working remotely and having the Hub has definitely made home work life easier. Working from home presents challenges, so be realistic. The best ways I’ve found to stay productive while working from home is to set clear boundaries, keep motivated, and take regular breaks.
Remote work is all the rage these days, and for good reason! By using our top-notch tips for optimizing your social intranet and remote work environment, you can keep your employees connected, informed, and engaged no matter where they are in the world. So go on, then—kick off your shoes, stay remote and ready to roll! Happy optimizing!