How to Support Hybrid Work with Enterprise Knowledge Management

By Hilee Avrahami   |   September 9, 2021
hybrid work environment
Ask employees, and the verdict is clear. A majority support the idea of a hybrid work environment. After more than a year of working from home, surveys and studies show that employees have come to appreciate the work-life balance remote work brings as well as how it reduces stress and improves personal relationships. They also like making their own schedules and don’t miss the long pre-pandemic commute times.

As organizations regroup and reimagine their workplaces, many are leaning toward a hybrid work model that combines remote and office work. Such a plan allows employees to keep the flexibility they’ve come to value while maintaining the office elements they need or miss.

Companies embracing a hybrid working environment must now find ways to give their remote teams the tools and support they need to stay productive, engaged, and happy. A major consideration in implementing this blended approach is remote work information management. That’s where enterprise knowledge management software steps in.

Remote Work Enterprise Content Management

Whether they’re in the same office suite or sitting in their homes miles apart, work teams need to collaborate. Simple cloud storage services lack the control and security they need to keep documents organized. Collaboration systems that are helpful for communications aren’t designed to share and manage documents efficiently, either.

Investing in a cloud-based enterprise knowledge management system:

  1. Enables seamless project work. Inconsistent working practices and miscommunications are common complaints of remote workers. Knowledge transfer tools for your remote workforce provide the organization, accessibility, and clarity distributed teams need to locate and acquire critical information.
  2. Easier collaboration. Remote workers often miss out on opportunities to engage in the unplanned collaborative exchanges that are customary in a physical office. While many employees who work from home say one of its greatest benefits is more time with their pets, they won’t get much feedback or advice from them when a work issue arises.
  3. Improved productivity. An easy flow of knowledge between employees boosts productivity and supports continuous learning and adaptation.

Effortless access, rapid communication, reduced costs, and better decisions are the hallmarks of a sound enterprise knowledge management system. It makes managing your organization’s knowledge assets easier and provides the foundation for continuous improvement and growth.

Why Knowledge Sharing Breaks Down in Remote Teams

The goals of knowledge management are the same whether employees work in-house, from home, or in a hybrid environment. But many enterprises see the flow of knowledge suffer when they move to a remote or hybrid model. Here’s why it happens.

  • Limited social interactions. Remote workers naturally engage in fewer traditional office activities that promote the spread of knowledge. Losing in-person interactions like breakroom chats, shared lunches, and quick discussions with a nearby colleague creates a social friction that causes employees to shy away from sharing their personal knowledge.
  • The silo effect. Organizational networks shrink as remote and hybrid work grows. Many remote employees begin to communicate only with their immediate teammates and rarely touch base with someone outside their team unless it’s an emergency.
  • Incomplete knowledge capture. Office meetings and presentations are traditionally where knowledge is shared. The documents, spreadsheets, and slides from these gatherings are generally stored for employee access, but if they didn’t attend the meeting, some employees need to track down context from colleagues who did.
  • Knowledge becomes unorganized and scattered. When enterprises shift to a remote or hybrid work model without organizing and connecting disparate knowledge repositories, the flow of knowledge and expertise suffers. That leaves employees outside the office feeling frustrated, disengaged, and unproductive.

Enterprise Knowledge Management for a Hybrid Workforce

Creativity and flexibility are essential to a thriving hybrid work environment. It takes inspirational and innovative leaders to create a positive and rewarding knowledge-sharing experience for their remote workers.

Here’s how leadership can ensure a smooth information-sharing transition:

  1. Capture knowledge first and decide how it will be used.
  2. Establish cloud information management to keep information organized and easy to find, regardless of where employees are working.
  3. Implement process automation to perform repetitive tasks electronically and to eliminate the need to pass documents hand-to-hand among remote workers.

Other steps to getting your organization’s knowledge management in good order include creating a dependable knowledge management process, reimagining how information is shared in a hybrid world, and continually seeking out feedback from your employees. Not only are they the ones who use the system every day, but it will also make them want to get on board with sharing new knowledge, no matter where they’re working or checking in from.

With the right effort and investments, including enterprise knowledge management, hybrid work provides the flexibility and productivity benefits of remote work with the social opportunities of working in the office. KMS Lighthouse’s cloud-based knowledge management system can help your enterprise digitally evolve and improve, ensuring your transition to a hybrid work environment is a seamless and stress-free one.

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