Man sitting at desk working from home on his computer

In just a matter of weeks, employees are finding themselves in a new, yet somehow familiar working environment: their kitchen table. The sudden, mandated shift to working from home presents a host of challenges, particularly when it comes to platforms that enable communications and engagement. And popular video and collaboration apps meant for smaller teams don’t always cut it.

Don’t get me wrong, tools like Zoom, Teams and Slack are incredibly powerful. But they just don’t scale. As social distancing continues, organizations need to understand how to utilize the right technologies to address what’s being neglected: connecting employees to the broader organization.

The Communications Infrastructure Gap

So what’s the solution? A time tested — though often neglected — platform that has the capability to become surprisingly modern: the intranet. A modern intranet platform fills in the gaps that other enterprise technologies miss. Apps designed for communications among smaller groups just don’t work when you need to reach across departments and geographies. Nor do they address the human need to feel engaged and aligned with the larger organization.

And in times like these, frequent updates are critical. Today’s intranets are easy to use, allowing communicators and leaders to post information quickly that can be seen across the entire company — without the need for IT’s involvement.

Modern intranets also serve as a virtual water cooler, enabling work from home employees to feel more connected to a company by allowing them to take part in its culture and dialogue. They do this by providing two-way, transparent communications features like social networking and news. Employees can post their own updates to social feeds, like and comment on company and employee created content, and even share it with their colleagues. And meanwhile it’s all hyper personalized and made incredibly relevant based on an employee’s role, location and interests.

Related Article: Why Modern Intranets Are Replacing Dead, Traditional Intranets

How to Use Technology to Keep Employees Connected

With so many enterprise collaboration tools available, where does this kind of intranet fit in?

Check out the chart below for technologies that organizations are using to equip their distributed workforce. It’s intended to serve as a guideline about the purpose and role for every app — intranets included. This kind of clarity is important to establish for employees as you look to complete your work-from-home tech stack:

A table of technologies needed to equip a remote workforce

It’s important to mention that intranets do not replace any of the technologies listed in this chart. Each tool is designed for a specific purpose, and is effective when used appropriately. But be wary of using one outside of its intended purpose. For instance, Slack channels shouldn’t be used to post important news for all to see, or you risk it quickly getting pushed down in importance due to newer posts.

Related Article: 90% of Intranets Fail: 5 Reasons the Intranet Industry Needs a Change

Standardize When Possible

And regardless of what technology you’re using, organizations and their IT departments should create company standards — and stick to them. So don’t allow WebEx if 95% of employees are using Zoom. And shut down Google Chat Hangouts if most people are using Slack.

Do You Have a Gap in Your Communications Technology?

If so, it’s not too late. As organizations are coming around to addressing their technology gaps, modern intranet providers like Simpplr are offering promotions and special deployment packages to get your company up and running quickly. And that speed is crucial. It can make the difference between creating a connected and culturally-engaged remote workforce or one that feels detached and uninspired.