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Intranets and the Distributed Workforce

Date Posted: Thursday, 22 January 2015 11:53
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In recent years, remote working has been on the rise thanks largely to enabling technology such as mobile, faster internet speeds and more powerful and engaging intranets. Globally, on average, 70% of those surveyed by workspace provider Regus said that they had seen a rise in teleworking in their workplace.

Further research from technology researchers at Gartner, Inc., says that 84% of all global organisations now have remote workers and this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing at all. However, with new ways of working comes new challenges to overcome and with teleworking, this is in managing the distributed workforce in such a way that productivity and collaboration remains high.

This is not only possible but also highly desirable as research shows that collaboration within an organisation improves productivity. With this in mind, it’s important that remote workers are not only able to connect to the workplace, but also have tools available to them that enable collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Intranet Success

Enter the Intranet

Effective collaboration is enabled by an intranet that has the tools in place to allow for it. These include social tools such as IM, wikis, message boards and profiles as well as shared workspaces which allow for good communication. With this in mind, Elcom held webinars on 5 & 19 February to further discuss the challenges that many companies face when it comes to teleworking.

The webinar focused on:

  • Key challenges faced when communicating with a distributed workforce
  • Key challenges faced by the remote workers themselves
  • Best practices when it comes to improving productivity
  • How technology and the intranet play an important role in effective communication

Intranet success webinar 

The modern intranet is much more powerful than the intranets of old, which were often a simple shared repository. These days, we have numerous technologies on hand which can be used to ensure that productivity is high and communication is effective, such as video calling and conferencing and the above-mentioned social tools. However, it’s important to remember that these tools and the intranet in general must align with business goals.

According to Nielson Norman Group, developing a successful intranet collaboration solution can result in annual savings of more than $300,000, which when you consider that the average cost of implementing collaborative features is around $54,000, is a significant return on investment.

Productivity and the Remote Worker

Some organisations remain resistant to remote working as they believe employees to be less productive when they are out of the office environment. However, this is far from the case as a study carried out by Stanford University Economics professor Nicholas Bloom whose 2013 study showed that employees who work from home actually outperform their office-based colleagues.

He found that on average, workers based at home made 13.5% more calls in a week than when they did when they were based in the office. This equates to around a full day’s work extra every week and what’s more, those employees who were based at home also reported a higher rate of job satisfaction.

So remote working does have its advantages, the most obvious of which are cost-based, but it’s important to also put a value on improved productivity and a happier workforce. The role of the intranet in teleworking is to enable excellent communication through tools such as social profiles, wikis etc. and in allowing collaboration.

View the webinar to learn more on how you can leverage the power of your intranet to improve business processes and enable a successful remote working program within your organisation.

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