10 Ways to Keep Remote Teams Connected with Your Intranet

Resources > Keep Remote Teams Connected

By Rachel Kaplowitz, CEO of Honey

In the past few years, remote work has become the preferred way of doing business for many companies, and the coronavirus pandemic will undoubtedly make it even more prevalent. Businesses and workers alike reap the benefits of working from home: the ability to hire the best talent regardless of location, decreased overhead for office space, and morning commutes that we can measure on our Fitbits.

There’s a lot to love about remote work, but something has been lost in translation. Namely: that sense of connection, shared purpose, and identity that makes the difference between a group of talented individuals and a team.

remote-work-intranet

According to Gallup, the number one complaint of remote workers is “loneliness.” In Gallup’s report on the subject, they point out that while loneliness is personal, “isolation is structural.” By that, they mean people feel lonely when they don’t have access to needed information, emotional support, or recognition. As the report says, “That isn’t an emotional issue; it’s a technical one."

The solution to this problem is for companies to provide remote workers with a digital headquarters that can replace the physical one. In short: It’s time to put your intranet to work.

Want a step-by-step guide to help you plan your intranet? Download this resource with all the templates, evaluations, and checklists you need. Get the Intranet Planning Playbook >>

Here are 10 ways a sophisticated, cloud-based intranet can connect your remote team through times of crisis, moments of celebration, and every workday in between.

1. Track engagement.

When you have an important announcement to make, you need to ensure that every member of your remote team is getting the message, so they don’t end up out of the loop. But if you’re just firing off emails into the void, you’ll never know if your team reads them or if they’re getting lost in an overcrowded inbox. Posting announcements to your Honey intranet shows you who has read your posts, ensuring both connectivity and accountability.

2. Connect people through groups.

Organizing your intranet by groups is an excellent way for remote workers to connect with one another and find the information they need. It also saves team members’ feeds from getting clogged by a bunch of posts that don’t apply to them.

With Honey, you can customize groups by department, team, location—or any other category you can think of—and you can create groups specifically designed to help your remote workers find one another. For instance, if you have a cadre of remote workers in a single city, make a group so they can get together for face-to-face meetings.

Groups

And no matter how far-flung your remote team members are, they can still connect over their shared interests via groups. Music buffs can share Spotify playlists; outdoor enthusiasts can post videos of their latest exploits—your remote workers will feel like their company and coworkers see them as complete human beings.

3. Humanize your team with user profiles.

One of the big dangers of having a remote team is that people see one another as two-dimensional since all they know is based on an email byline. But Honey’s user profiles help avoid that by giving workers a place to share more about themselves: their photo, skills, bio, contact information, etc. Access to this information helps your team humanize one another and tells your remote workers that you value them as three-dimensional people.

4. Make your posts expressive, not just informative.

Emojis, gifs, and video clips aren’t just fun accessories: They can make the difference between an intranet that feels like a dusty old library or a lively town square.

Post

Instead of communicating with dry text, show your personality! Rich integrations with YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, and Giphy make it easy for people to express themselves and connect with humor. Even emojis do important work by helping people convey their tone, reducing the chance of miscommunication.

By incorporating these elements into your posts, you help to establish a common language and culture, which is vital to making remote workers feel like they’re a part of a greater whole.

5. Invite collaboration.

A 2017 Harvard Business Review study on remote workers found that many felt “shunned and left out” without a forum to share their ideas. That’s a serious problem, but your intranet can be part of the solution. With Honey, you can enable comments and reactions on any post.

Comments

Inviting comments shows your remote workers you value their opinions; those opinions can be invaluable. You can post a memo about a problem and harness the power of your whole team in finding a solution. It makes for an exciting and democratized atmosphere where posts spark discussion, collaboration, and new ideas.

6. Stay engaged, even asynchronously.

Your remote workers may not be able to attend every meeting. If you really want to embrace remote work, you need to allow some flexibility for people who are busy with other obligations or several time zones away. But with Honey, you can post video recordings of meetings, so no one has to miss anything important.

Tag members with any particularly relevant information (you can even include a time stamp on the video so that they can skip right to it). And, as we mentioned before, the ability to comment or respond with emojis means that remote workers can participate in meetings, even if it’s after the fact.

7. Boost communication without needless meetings.

Bruce Daisley, author of Eat Sleep Work Repeat, cautions against scheduling too many meetings for remote teams. Constant communication doesn’t mean greater closeness if your workers feel like you don’t trust them enough to let them work independently. Daisley calls this tendency to overschedule presenteeism: “the idea that, because we can’t measure what people are doing in their jobs, the very fact that they’re sitting at their desks is a proxy for productivity.”

But with Honey, you can make important announcements and keep people informed without needing to schedule an all-hands Zoom meeting for every policy update. See how we’re doing this ourselves as the Honey team transitions to working from home during the pandemic.

8. Celebrate milestones and achievements.

Remote workers need workplace affirmations just as much as anybody else. More, actually, since they don’t have casual office interactions to reassure them that they’re valued, respected, and well-liked. Honey makes it easy for remote workers to celebrate each other through birthday celebrations, work anniversaries, and shout-outs that call attention to stellar achievements.

Celebrate Employees

Some Honey customers have created groups specifically for praise. It’s a positive way to let your team support one another, as well as creating a record everyone can refer to when it’s performance review time.

9. Don’t neglect privacy and security.

Remote workers should never feel that their employers are compromising on privacy in the name of greater transparency. After all, for people to feel comfortable speaking freely on your intranet, they have to trust that their comments stay within the company.

Likewise, you shouldn’t worry that people working from home on their personal devices risk compromising the valuable, proprietary information on your intranet. That’s why all data transferred over Honey is encrypted according to the most current industry standard. We also allow (and encourage) admins to enable two-factor authentication, which helps ensure that everyone who can access your intranet is supposed to be there.

10. Use your wiki to connect your team with knowledge.

Maintaining an up-to-date, easily searchable wiki as a single source of truth is crucial to your remote workforce. It’s how you empower team members to do their work when they can’t lean over and ask the person at the next desk. If your internal documentation is outdated or difficult to locate, remote workers will suffer in the form of lost time and frustration.

Your wiki needs to be a living document, which you keep up-to-date through comments and feedback. Draw from your entire team’s expertise so that remote workers can learn from one another. It’s how you turn individual knowledge into institutional knowledge and keep your whole team on the same page.

The right intranet makes remote workers feel close.

Of all the lessons this coronavirus has taught us, the most enduring may be the value of human connection. It’s easy to take moments of connection—the birthday cakes, the inside jokes, the shared victories and setbacks—for granted in a traditional workplace. But those little moments comprise so much about what makes work rewarding, and without them, it’s easy to feel adrift.

If companies want their remote workers to be fulfilled and inspired, they need tools to create connection. At Honey, we believe our intuitive, people-first intranet can be that tool, helping to ensure that the age of remote work isn’t defined by loneliness.

Want a step-by-step guide to help you plan your intranet? Download this resource with all the templates, evaluations, and checklists you need. Get the Intranet Planning Playbook >>