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Intranet and digital teams pride themselves on the close relationships they forge with the constituent parts of an organisation, such as HR and IT, and key business areas. Traditionally, however, links between intranet teams and real estate functions are weak.
While there might be some interaction with IT departments during office refurbishments or the development of new meeting rooms, there is a traditional disconnect between those who look after the physical buildings and the guardians of the digital estate.
This needs to change, as technology continues to influence how workers carry out activities and how workplaces are being designed. See Ten ways offices are reinventing themselves (and what it means for digital teams).
Digital teams need to work in harmony with real estate colleagues to ensure employees can access the information and services they need within the physical layout of the workplace. Different types of working activity must also be supported.
The changes to the physical workplace are driven by the same factors that are shaping the #digitalworkplace.
Intranet team meet real estate team
Although intranet and real estate teams may not have worked closely together, there are some similarities between the two functions.
While both play an essential role, they tend to be regarded by senior management as an operational rather than a strategic group. For this reason, the skills and professionalism of individuals within both functions tend not to be fully recognised.
There is also alignment between the strategic drivers that are currently shaping workplace design and the factors driving intranet or digital workplace design.
Real estate functions and digital teams potentially have many valuable insights to share. These include:
- Strategy and roadmaps: Do your plans align and can one take inspiration from the other?
- Research: Do you have original research about user behaviour that you can share or even pool? For example, both digital and real estate functions focus on how users collaborate.
- Personas: Is it possible you both use personas, or could use personas? Sharing these between functions would benefit both teams, and result in better outcomes.
- Approaches: Do you have approaches and methodologies to user observation, research and implementation that you can learn from?
- Perspectives: Professionals from both disciplines look at the issues from a slightly different angle. A different perspective can spark ideas.
- Opportunities: Are there opportunities that might arise to work together? For example perhaps a planned user survey could cover both the physical and digital workplace.
Can the real estate team partner up with the #intranet or #digitalworkpace team, to share resources and insights?
If any of the above resonates with you, then perhaps its time to walk down the corridor and introduce yourself to your colleagues in the real estate department. Working more closely with each other may help to improve the user experience of both your physical and digital workplace.