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How to Build a SharePoint Intranet for Remote Workers

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A recent survey of American workers found that 87% of people want to work from home at least one day per week. Sixty-eight percent of American workers say the perfect work model is a hybrid work model, with time spent working both remotely and on-site.

Remote and hybrid work environments create enormous opportunities for your company to attract talent and expertise, without costly expansions to your physical footprint. However, creating a hybrid environment with efficient collaboration and communication across teams and departments can be challenging.

To best manage a remote workforce, you need clarity about the key issues and concerns your employees are facing. 

Challenges for Remote Workers and Managers

2020 created an extraordinary shift in workplace culture, as billions of people locked down and continued moving businesses forward from their homes and other remote locations. Now, our new normal includes workers who will not be coming back to a physical office or for whom a hybrid model creates an ideal work-life balance. For leadership, this new reality can be frustrating as new barriers in communication and management make efficiency and productivity feel out of reach.

Adapting to this new environment starts with understanding these key difficulties:

  • Internal communication: In a recent Gallup report, 71% of remote employees stated they do not feel actively engaged with their business, and 85% say the communication they receive on the job isn’t enough. This problem isn’t just about emails and newsletters—it’s about employee engagement. 
  • Performance tracking and measurement: For managers, the online work environment makes it more difficult to ensure all tasks are being completed and that remote employees are using their time appropriately and efficiently. Unable to just pop by someone’s office, many managers rely on pestering emails and frequent virtual checkups, which can convey a lack of trust in employees.
  • Collaboration: Different time zones and personal life schedules can make it tough for remote and hybrid employees to work together on projects. Creating an online environment where all members feel able to contribute and have equal access to necessary documents is critical to your team’s success.

With a better grasp of the key issues you and your remote workers face, you’ll need to think about technological solutions to these challenges. A robust and well-designed intranet can help you successfully navigate the remote work landscape.

What is an Intranet?

Simply put, an intranet is an internal website or portal that helps employees stay connected and up-to-date with their company. An intranet serves as an employee-facing company website, communications channel, knowledge management tool, and collaboration platform. 

While different companies make various choices about their intranet configuration, most use them to share organizational updates, such as new hiring announcements, restructuring decisions, employee shout-outs and celebrations, and company news. Intranets can also be repositories of company files and internal documents, which allow for easy access and transparent decision-making processes. Finally, a robust intranet can connect employees across teams, departments and time zones, empowering them to collaborate in real-time and asynchronously. 

An intranet enhances collaboration, as it allows employees to work on the same platform and communicate more efficiently through the same channels. Most importantly, effective communication and connectivity keep employees engaged and increase their levels of productivity. Regardless of where they are or when they were last in the office, employees feel like they are part of the team, effectively improving the employee experience.

SharePoint Intranet for Remote Workers

Microsoft SharePoint is a powerful content management that can be used to develop a powerful company intranet. Imagine a virtual library and data hub where you can: 

  • Store and organize millions of company files and documents 
  • Coauthor and collaborate on documents with colleagues 
  • Share internal news, events, and employee posts 
  • Connect with employees through surveys and polls 

SharePoint is critical to keeping all employees in the loop from a communications perspective. You can create a communications hub through which to share company-wide announcements, human resource documents, or even a funny story. Templates and modules can be modified to reinforce your company’s values, and controls can be customized to best serve your needs. Additionally, the Shoutouts Power App allows team members allows team members to send notes of encouragement and appreciation to each other, building camaraderie and connectivity in an increasingly digital world. 

Related Content: What is the ROI of a SharePoint Intranet?

In terms of performance tracking and employee management, SharePoint allows for employees and managers to track workflow, availability, and project completion. Resource and employee availability are assessed at a glance on dashboards. Time and expense data can easily be imported from spreadsheets and sent to accounting systems. Projects can be marked in stages, and employees feel empowered to finish their pieces and send them on to the next step. While this straightforward interaction boosts efficiency for the company, it also creates a sense of collaboration among team members.

When it comes to collaboration, a SharePoint intranet can be a game-changer. SharePoint breaks down a company’s departmental silos and brings remote teams together while providing cloud-based data security and powerful organizational tools to keep track of it all. By creating a hybrid workplace that is productive for the company and sustainable for your employees, SharePoint easily integrates with Teams and other Microsoft apps. It uses metadata to tag and categorize documents and files, allowing you to share documents, assign tasks, and collaborate on revisions, allowing your remote workers the autonomy to search for files they need and complete their tasks with ease.

Final Thoughts

The professional landscape has changed dramatically in the last two years. How your company adapts to these changes is critical to your future success. Remote and hybrid employees should be seen as an opportunity, not a hindrance, to your profitability and innovation. 

A well-designed and optimized SharePoint intranet can help bring your employees together, reaffirm company culture, improve communication, and boost productivity, all while serving as your company’s digital hub.


Expert Insights from the Aerie Team

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