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Lessons From 2020 to Level Up Your Digital Workplace

Brian C. McIlravey

December 22, 2020 · 4 min read

As we approach the end of 2020 and move into 2021, it’s important to reflect on how your digital workplace evolved this year to meet all your organizations’ changing needs, so you know what goals to set for the new year. How did your digital workplace serve you do in 2020? Are you ready for 2021? What changes do you have to make?

In many ways, 2021 will be a continuation the “new normal” that began in 2020 — a “work from home, meet everyone on a screen, and live digitally” kind of world.

Before the pandemic, intranets were mostly used for top-down communication, and knowledge and document management. For many organizations, it was more of a “nice-to-have” than a necessity.  Then, all of a sudden (think March 2020), most offices moved to remote working, instantly making the intranet a mission-critical tool for connecting and communicating with our people.

Adapting to a new normal

Even beyond the COVID-19 crisis, we know that for many organizations, remote work is here to stay. In fact, 84 percent of organizations expect broader, more permanent remote work adoption.

So, the question becomes, how do we drive people to our digital workplaces in this new environment? And more specifically, in a world of people living on screens, how do we drive culture?

It can’t just be about delivering the news anymore, it has to also be about creating a true digital destination, a place where people want to keep coming back. But how do we get there? How do we keep them coming back to this single source of truth?

The key to an effective digital workplace is connecting people, process, and information to each other. But the people connections are especially important, as that’s what will drive a digital workplace.

4 Key Lessons Learned Blog Article

There was no magic formula for employee engagement in 2020. Check out the 4 key lessons we learned along the way.

3 ways to prepare your intranet for 2021

1. Make it a destination

This one’s simple. Your intranet has to be engaging; a place people want to go. The fact is, in 2021, your digital workplace will continue to be mission critical. Not only is it essential for delivering important information, but it’s also THE tool that will help you port your office culture into a digital space.

What makes your business’ culture unique? How can you replicate it online? Maybe it would make sense to have an audio series from your leaders. Or a place for sharing relevant podcasts. You could even have a work from home discussion board where employees can talk about anything they want — anything that may make them feel a little less isolated.

This is also a great time to leverage video, if you’re not already. Consider a video series that features different employees talking about their roles, their big projects, or even their special talents! Find out what your employees want to see, and make sure it’s there.

2. Connect people to people

While sharing news and information from the top-down is still critical through these times, connecting people to people is steadily rising up the priority list.

In our new normal, everyone is on a screen. We no longer get to stand in the coffee room and give kudos to our colleague side-by-side, or even just chat about our weekends. So, we have to do it virtually. In your digital workplace, make sure there are plenty places for employees to connect with and congratulate each other.

Consider creating different “groups” in your digital workplace. They can be social groups that allow for people with similar interests to connect with each other and share their experiences. Some examples of groups could be photography, hiking or camping, parent groups, fitness, movies and music, video editing and animation, cooking, and of course, pets. Pet groups are always top performing.

3. Know where you stand

Lastly, as you head into 2021, take stock of what stage your digital workplace is in. Are you a simple communication and “hope-someone-reads-the-news” tool? Or are you further along the spectrum and experiencing consistent engagement and interaction among employees?

Or, at the top end of the spectrum, do you have culture driving your digital workplace to the point that people come in every day, know where to go, where to read the news, and how to engage?

It’s important to understand where you are, where you need to be, and what steps you’ll take to reach your digital workplace goals.

It starts with your culture

No matter the maturity level of your digital workplace, culture always needs to be one of the driving forces in getting people back to your destination.

Sharing the news may be the primary purpose of your digital workplace, but it’s ultimately culture that will get people to go there every day to read employee stories, look at funny cat photos, learn some new tips and tricks for their hobbies, or to find pertinent information about their paycheck, health benefits, or COVID-19.

At Igloo, we offer solutions for these very use cases. Our Social Center solution provides a virtual water cooler for social interaction and relationship-building, so employees can feel a sense of closeness and belonging no matter where they’re located.

Ready to take your digital workplace to the next level in 2021? Watch my recent webinar to see how some of our customers have adapted to the challenges of 2020 and what they’re doing to prepare for 2021.

Watch the webinar: Rate Your Intranet: How Well Did it Stand Up to the Challenges of 2020? Is it Ready for 2021?