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I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy! Tash

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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?

Sharing salaries…

It’s one of those questions we don’t usually ask, or answer – how much do you get paid? I’m not going to discuss whether that’s good or bad, or even why it may be the case, but something on the news last night made me think of it.

Apparently, a 16 year old boy was offered a job in the USA for $400,000 a year, which he turned down as he wants to stay here with family and friends. What I find interesting is how everyone found out about it.

I find it hard to believe that the company contacted the media and said “we offered him $400,000” I mean, that sort of announcement can’t be good for them – it shows them being rejected (even if through no fault of theirs) and may cause problems between staff who aren’t being paid $400,000!

I know I’ve had jobs where I didn’t want others knowing my salary – largely because I didn’t want them to get into ‘why does she get that much?’ or ‘but I should get more than him!’

A 16 year old earning so much also makes me wonder about his expectations. I am not making comment on his ability in any way or whether or not he deserves such a salary, but $400,000 is such a lot of money to start a working career with! Where does he go from there?

I see some value in young people starting with small jobs so they learn the value of earning money and getting a realistic view of the working life. It’s not so much the $10 an hour as learning their time is worth something and that it takes time and hard work to increase their pay rate. And learning how to use and  manage that money is also important.

Choosing your environment

One of the factors influencing your happiness and success is the environment you find yourself in – and you do have control over it.

I recently read a blog post by Donna-Marie which reminded me of the impact people have on your life. I honestly believe that if you surround yourself with positive people, you will have a more positive attitude and are likely to find solutions and opportunities. Which of course means that if you spend lots of time with negative, no-hope people, it is much harder to reach your potential and feel happy.

This can impact many of your choices, such as:

  • make sure you employ staff who are positive and creative rather than complainers
  • only attend seminars and networking events where you feel a positive environment – if group members are not supportive or encouraging, you probably won’t benefit much from spending time with them
  • if choosing between two suppliers, pick the one who has a can-do attitude or enthusiasm over the one who makes the project sound like hard work or an interruption to their schedule
  • only use a coach or mentor who believes in success and finding solutions

Who you associate with can even impact on your writing style – positive people use words like “can”, “will”, “value” and “ideas” which inspire you and make your writing positive, too.

Have you ever experienced an obvious change by changing who is around you?

I once knew some people who couldn’t  help themselves from lying and adjusting perceptions to maintain their view of reality. Their behaviour made me uncomfortable and I didn’t like being unable to trust them, so I made a conscious decision to not associate with them. There was actually a great sense of relief when they were no longer part of my life, and I have taken care since to choose who I spend time with whenever possible.