The company intranet is an excellent communication and collaboration tool. However, if it is misused, it can become the platform for miscommunication, unnecessary conflict, and low employee morale.
This is why it’s important for intranet users to adhere to acceptable standards of behaviour. These standards — whether in the form of written policies or unspoken rules — can help maintain the peace in your intranet and improve internal communications.
I highly recommend you write a set of intranet etiquette rules or guidelines.
Below are some principles you may want to include, in no particular order:
1. Be respectful, courteous, and civilized to everyone. Avoid flaming (verbal attacks), trolling, or harassing others.
2. Don’t use inappropriate language, swearing, and vulgarities.
3. Take care not to post anything that may be offensive to a particular race, gender, nationality, ethnicity, disability, religion, cultural background or political leaning.
4. If somebody flames or harasses you on the intranet, resist the urge to retort. Report the incident to the intranet administrator instead.
5. Never use the intranet to store sensitive information such as credit card numbers and passwords.
6. The rules against plagiarism apply on the intranet as well. Don’t use somebody else’s content and claim it as your own.
7. Make sure files are virus-free before uploading to the intranet.
8. Delete old files when no longer needed.
9. Keep your comments and posts concise and to the point.
10. Double check before emailing entire groups via the intranet: Do you really need to email each and every member of the group, or just selected members?
11. There is almost never a good reason to use CAPITAL LETTERS. They’re equivalent to shouting in face-to-face communication.
12. Read your content carefully before posting. Check for errors as well as tone and words that could be misunderstood. Everything you post on the intranet reflects on your professionalism, so always put your best foot forward.
13. If you’re upset, wait and calm down before posting on the intranet.
14. Keep your user profile updated, especially your contact information, so colleagues can reach you when necessary.
15. Never share your intranet username and password with anybody else. You’re responsible for anything posted on the intranet in your name.
16. Check with IT before uploading large files exceeding [specify size]. It may be possible to convert it to a smaller version before uploading on the intranet.
17. Never use the intranet for illegal activity.
Whew! This might seem like a long list. It may be hard to believe we’re trying to encourage communication, while placing so many restrictions at the same time.
In the long run, though, these standards will make the intranet a secure place for everyone to express themselves — within reason.
Which “rules” do you think are the most important?
PS: While we’re in the subject of etiquette, you may as well draw up guidelines for your business emails as well.
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