With so much changing about how, where, and when employees work, companies can sometimes struggle to keep everyone connected. When you can’t rely on people sitting at the same desks, following the traditional nine-to-five, Monday through Friday, you need worktech solutions that help bring people together across time and locations. Companies can set up workplace portals to help their employees with instant access to the information and services they need to be productive and feel empowered. 

What is a work portal? 

A work portal is a digital home for many of the resources employees need to be productive. 

Portals often include: 

  • Payroll information and time-off request forms 
  • Access to the company directory or site map 
  • Company-wide announcement board 
  • Submission forms for IT requests or equipment check-outs 

But those are just some of the possible examples. Nearly everything employees need to access routinely can become part of a portal.   

Benefits of employee portals: company communication and employee engagement 

Employee portals improve communication and engagement, benefiting employers and employees. It can start right at onboarding, with training videos and other materials that cover policies and procedures. From there, portals can help streamline many human resource (HR) processes. For example, employees can check and update personal details in the system, check and track payroll information, and complete company surveys and performance reviews.  

Companies reduce the HR overhead while employees gain not only convenience but also a sense of empowerment.  

Key features for employee portals and platforms 

Employee portals have always been an effective way to increase efficiency and boost the employee experience. And with the spread of flex work and the hybrid work model, the importance of portals is growing. Companies can’t rely on knowing when and where people are working, so now more than ever, they need ways to create connections.  

But to get the most benefit from workplace technology, you need the right combination of features. 

Real-time updates and announcements 

Companies need to keep employees informed on everything from scheduling changes to new company policies. Emails and memos are one way to reach employees, but you risk them getting lost in the inbox shuffle. And the busier an employee is, the more likely they are to miss an important email, risking miscommunications at the most important times. 

With an employee portal, everyone always knows where to go for the latest on company news. 

Employee directory access 

In the past, it was mostly only managers and HR who used the employee directory. But it’s now become an important tool for everyone. Without static desks or schedules, it can be more of a challenge for employees to find one another. So, while the company directory has long been a part of many employee portals, new integrations have made it more robust and useful. 

For example, companies can now leverage their directory information with wayfinding and desk booking, showing employees where someone is at any given time and how to get there. When an employee arrives onsite, they can instantly find out who from their department is already there, where they are, and even how to get to them. Instead of wandering around spaces with reserved desks, they go right to where they need to be.    

Support ticketing and requests 

 The sooner the maintenance team can find and fix problems, the less it costs, both in dollars and lost productivity. With digital, cloud-based ticketing and requests, employees can submit and track service requests directly from their mobile phone. As soon as they see an issue, they can alert maintenance technicians. 

Non-urgent requests are just as simple. Want to request an extra recycling bin for your department? A modern work portal can make these requests a quick, straightforward process. 

Room reservations and desk booking  

Flex work and the hybrid office depend on comprehensive, convenient hoteling and other reservation-based seating systems to maximize utilization and get the strongest possible return on investment from every square foot of space. 

For employees, knowing where they want to sit is just the start. Modern solutions help them find teammates, ensuring opportunities for collaboration and connection. When groups meet, the room booking features ensure they’re in rooms that fit their size and deliver the amenities they need.   

Wayfinding and directions 

Like the employee directory, a company’s wayfinding system is highly useful as part of the employee portal. As employees use more of the workplace, they need to feel comfortable navigating it. Access to wayfinding tools can also give them the confidence they need to use the workspace in new, more effective ways.  

Facility access and visitor management 

A modern visitor management system (VMS) makes getting into the office and hosting visitors easier. Employees can have visitors answer key questions ahead of their planned visit to generate a custom QR code, streamlining the check-in process when they arrive. Being able to pre-approve people also means being able to more easily keep unwelcome guests out. Everyone feels more secure knowing there’s a watch list of known bad actors. 

Employees can leverage many of the features daily, but some are for emergencies only. Because the system has a digital logbook with real-time data on who’s in the facility, in cases requiring an evacuation, the VMS instantly becomes a checklist, accessible from any mobile device. Managers can keep an accurate count of who’s made it to the muster points, and first responders know exactly how many are still inside as soon as they arrive onsite.  

Integration with other solutions 

With the correct integrations, a workplace portal can help companies support flex work, a hybrid office, or any of the more traditional work models. On top of a mobile app, companies can connect portal features of calendars and enterprise-level chat platforms like Microsoft Teams. The more closely you tie it all together, the smoother the experience, streamlining workflows and ensuring data stays accurate. Remember, when you move between platforms, there’s always the chance data doesn’t get copied over correctly.   

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Jonathan writes about asset management, maintenance software, and SaaS solutions in his role as a digital content creator at Eptura. He covers trends across industries, including fleet, manufacturing, healthcare, and hospitality, with a focus on delivering thought leadership with actionable insights. Earlier in his career, he wrote textbooks, edited NPC dialogue for video games, and taught English as a foreign language. He hold a master's degree in journalism.