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Intranet for fun

What do you think a company intranet is for? Should it just be official and practical, or should it be personal and fun, maybe even wacky?

I think the main purpose of an intranet is to help staff do their jobs efficiently so it needs to contain information to help them. Having provided that information, I think an intranet can also include less formal items.

I see a number of advantages to a more friendly intranet:

  • it can aid staff communication and relationships
  • the occasional smile is good for staff productivity!
  • higher morale reduces staff turnover and makes it more likely staff will complete tasks rather than watch the clock

So what can be added?

  • daily weather updates – practical but nice if staff can see what other offices are experiencing
  • tips – could be semi-serious like word of the day or funny or a motivational quote
  • photo gallery of staff events and news (work Christmas parties, staff weddings, business launches, award ceremonies)
  • tipping competition and results (why limit it to football? Try cricket, basketball, athletics or triathlons)
  • information about charities staff/the business are involved in – and links for sponsorship
  • menus of local lunch spots
  • RSS feed of public transport updates in the area
  • funny corner – add those joke, cartoons, etc that everyone will just email each other anyway
  • health tips, recipes, office exercises, etc
  • interesting seminars, webinars, training courses, etc coming up

They’re just my ideas – what else can you add?

Intranet content

A few years ago, companies created a section of their website as an intranet for staff communications. Now, they can run an intranet as part of a website still or have it on a blog, a wiki, online document sharing software, or even communicate via Tweeter platforms.

But if you need to set up an intranet for your business or workplace, the same basics apply. An intranet aims to make life easier for all staff by having relevant and current information stored in one place.

Having run a and set up a few intranet services, here’s my top list of things to include on the site:

  • contact lists – the more staff in the business, the more this is necessary
  • document registers
  • soft copy letterhead, cover sheets, forms, etc that staff use frequently
  • human resources forms (leave, change of bank account, etc)
  • graphics files (e.g. logo, advertising banners) although some companies limit access to certain staff
  • style rules and guidelines (often in the form of a style guide)
  • standard text
  • policies and procedures, especially relating to staffing

Some other things that suit in many businesses are:

  • photos of events
  • links to online reviews of the business/product
  • archive of old documents in case people ring with queries based on old versions
  • staff newsletter
  • archive of old business newsletters and promotions
  • organisation charts
  • lists of ‘who to contact for…’ (such as Mary to order business cards, John for building maintenance and Jill to book company car)

What else would you like to see in an intranet? Is that something you’ve made use of before or just know from experience?