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SharePoint Intranet

Setting up a virtual Advent Calendar

Have you started getting excited about the coming holiday festivities?

Pre-COVID-19 in the Essential office we loved the festive season.

December 1st would be marked by putting up our funky corporate Christmas tree (black with blue lights) and each department would put up their own trimmings (naff tinsel and USB light strings).

Over the following weeks an array of edible goodies would pop up in strategic places; countless boxes of chocolates, Lidl stollen cakes, panettone, those little cheesy balls that come in canisters….

This year (like the last one) will of course be different.

Although I personally won’t miss the countless trips to the front door to intercept Amazon deliveries, and our waistlines will no doubt benefit, we will all miss the buzz and the opportunity to socialise in person over a mince pie or three.

So, this year we are attempting something new.

On the count-down to Christmas we will be using our SharePoint intranet to host a ‘virtual advent calendar’ and get everyone involved in a range of virtual festive activities.

This will start off on day 1 with a questionnaire in Microsoft Forms to make sure everyone’s involved and all the different ways we have of celebrating the holidays are represented.

Suggestions to get everyone’s festive thought juices going are:​

  • Polls: Best ever Holidays Movie/song
  • Debates: Sprouts: devil’s food or (pre)fab?
  • Christmas quiz (we’ll probably host this in Teams using breakout rooms to work in groups)
  • Fundraiser: Suggestions for this year’s Essential charity & pledges
  • Raffle: An opportunity to unload last year’s unwanted Xmas gifts to the highest bidder
  • Big & exciting project updates
  • Worst Xmas sweater day (schedule a get together on Teams)

Apart from helping ‘create the holiday buzz’, this exercise is useful for any enterprise that is looking towards its company intranet to support a remote and hybrid workforce.  Why?

It’s a great way to make your intranet a daily habit

As we wrote in our recent eBook, It doesn’t matter how well designed your SharePoint intranet is, if there’s never anything new for employees to engage with, they won’t come back.

This means it will fail as a way to provide much-needed information, corporate values, connections, training and context – especially to new hires.

Essential is just like any other company in that setting up an advent calendar on SharePoint will help us form the intranet habit – both for our workforce and, importantly, for the people that maintain it.

It’s also going to help the new recruits that have joined since March 2020 feel part of a bigger picture, familiarise them with our corporate personality, and encourage them to engage and participate in other programmes on offer.

It’s an opportunity to support your workforce

It may be too late to launch a full on advent calendar for your company, but there’s still time to ‘trim up’ your intranet with some holiday-themed graphics and content.

Also don’t forget that, as well as being fun, the holidays can be a stressful time and put pressure on us all.

Having an engaging and topical theme that captures folk’ attention is a great platform to ‘spotlight’ relevant learning and development content.  For example, resources that are relevant to mental and physical health and wellbeing issues.

Often such content is available, but can get ‘buried’ in a learning management system (LMS).

In short, getting departmental managers and the Learning and Development and HR departments to think about how they can make their training content topical and dynamic will help keep employees ‘coming back for more’, well into the New Year.

Digital Workplace Essentials

If you use Microsoft 365 and want to find out more about delivering learning ‘in the flow of work’, or modernising your SharePoint intranet, get in touch.