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What to Know About Knowledge Sharing in a Remote Environment

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Knowledge Sharing in a Remote Environment

Companies are facing challenges, and they have been since March, because of the coronavirus pandemic. These challenges are leading them to change the way they do things, sometimes drastically. 

Initially, state and local governments were requiring non-essential employees to work from home when possible. 

Now, even though most states will let employees return to work, some companies are keeping them home for the foreseeable future. 

While there are benefits, including potential cost-cutting in terms of overhead, companies, and employees are also still adjusting. 

A lot of what businesses have had to do over the past few months is to figure out the right technology to facilitate better work-from-home operations. For example, Intranets may have become a popular option because they enable collaboration, even among dispersed teams. 

A specific challenge for a lot of organizations is how to allow for knowledge sharing in a remote environment, and an Intranet in the general sense can help with this. The following are some other things to know about knowledge sharing when team members aren’t in a centralized location. 

What is a Knowledge Base?

First, what is a knowledge base? You may have a knowledge base for your customers, but you should also have one internally for employees. 

A knowledge base is a library of information relevant to your company, your employees, and your operations. 

It might include brand guidelines, policies, and handbooks. 

It’s self-service, and when employees need that information, they know where to go to find it easily. 

It’s important no matter the work environment, but especially when some or all employees are working remotely. 

They don’t have the opportunity to ask questions in person, and they may lose work time and be less productive if they have to send messages or emails to find out the answer to a question that could instead have been answered by referring to a knowledge base. 

Create a Knowledge Management Strategy

You’ll need to have a knowledge management strategy to have effective collaboration and a knowledge base. 

Try to put someone in charge of creating this KM strategy to keep the process organized and ensure someone is accountable for the project. 

That person then needs to identify the key people in the organization that have the knowledge needed. Then the people who need the knowledge will be identified so proper paths of connection can be identified. 

From there, your strategy can start to focus on creating those specific processes through which knowledge will move and be shared. 

You’ll build your strategy around making sure the right content is available, and this may be where you start to explore the idea of an intranet. If you already have an intranet, then you may want to focus more on using it to serve as a knowledge base or a repository of information. 

The technology is critical to this entire strategy. 

There have to be technological options for people to communicate with one another effectively and efficiently and in a way, they feel comfortable with. 

How Will Employees Access Knowledge?

Sometimes we instantaneously think about an instant messaging system as the best way for employees to quickly access information when they need it. Slack is an example, but is this really best?

We’re starting to see that might not be the case. 

Using an instant messaging platform to access knowledge may end up impeding productivity. 

A cloud-based knowledge base tends to be a much better option for productivity or, of course, an intranet.

If you use an intranet as your knowledge base, you can include FAQs, but you’re also going to have robust search options. 

Intranets like SharePoint are also inherently easy to use, so employees feel comfortable, and you can choose an intranet that integrates collaborative tools simultaneously. Intranets will include ways you can share not just information in terms of things like policies and FAQs, but also news and company information that may have just come up. 

Finally, you need to work to create a culture, even if your employees are working virtually, that values knowledge and information sharing. You also want a culture that supports empowered employees who know where to go when they need to find something. 

By having the right technology and tools paired with a strategy and a focus on culture, you can make remote work be a smoother process and ensure more productivity for your employees even if you decide that they never come back into the office.

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