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6 Suggestions for working remotely during the COVID-19 Pandemic

  1. Great Online meeting technology

You may already have online meetings in place, but it is important to make sure it works and that everyone knows how to use it. If you don’t, there are many options available—Noodle, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and GoToMeeting are just a few. Choose a tool and implement it across the organization. If you don’t, employees will begin selecting tools individually, and the situation will become difficult to manage in a hurry. Don’t assume that everyone is comfortable with the chosen tech either—a few minutes of training will save hours of frustration in the future.

  1. Face-to-face meetings will now be virtual ones

Identify the regular in-person meetings that take place in the office and transform those right away into virtual ones. Then, make it the new standard to schedule meetings using a virtual meeting system so people can join from any location.  Don’t assume everyone knows the rules of engagement around virtual meetings; for example, those working from home may not notice background noise in their environment. Team members who don’t tend to speak up may need a gentle nudge to add their voices to online discussions.

  1. Formalize collaboration practices 

When managing a remote workforce, it becomes even more critical to ensure that employees know how to navigate shared storage. They need to be shown where everything lives and how it is protected. Many organizations maintain both network storage and a collaboration suite simultaneously. This can lead to duplicate files in cases where remote employees are not logging in and saving files appropriately. This problem will be amplified as the number of remote employees increases. Keep in mind that remote employees tend to use their phones for business far more often than they do in the office.  This is a great time to get better at using cloud-based tools for project management and real-time collaboration. 

  1. Encourage online messaging 

Communication practices are critical for remote teams, so be clear on how that is going to work. If you aren’t already using Noodle or a similar real-time messaging app, set one up and take the lead on creating team channels and company-wide message threads. Use messaging tools strategically for cultural and social purposes to keep everyone connected and feeling like they are part of the team.

  1. Agree on common working hours 

Remote work often takes on a slightly different schedule than a typical office day. Morning people may start work earlier, as they don’t have a commute to contend with, while others may have interruptions at certain points in the day and need the flexibility to start and stop work. Agree on core hours as a team—or share individuals’ core hours—so everyone is in the loop on availability. Current closures mean your employees have increased responsibilities at home, so it’s important to be flexible.

  1. Stay connected 

Make sure that non-business-related conversations continue to take place, and have some fun with them. It’s all too easy for employees to feel isolated when working remotely, and that can be stressful for some. Think about everyone on your team and make sure they are actively included. Don’t be afraid to make a social call on your intranet messenger app — it will be appreciated.

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Working Remotely with Noodle

As people and businesses are dealing with the adjustments of school and office closings, many are finding working remotely as a solution for “social distancing”. Many businesses and institutions are asking their employees and students to stay home. This has left many workers without child care, or force them to miss work.

An Intranet is the perfect solution for times like this. It provides the ability to communicate office closures, health updates, work from home tips and much more. You will also have all your resources, at your fingertips, to continue to be able to perform your daily tasks. Add in Text/Audio/Video conferencing, and you have multiple ways to stay engaged and communicate with your team.

Your Intranet, and secure external access to it, will allow your employees to be productive, but stay safe at the same time. Here’s some ways your Intranet can be used to make working remotely from home easy.

Intranet Conference Room

Make Announcements and Set Expectations

Your Intranet will be valuable from the start with notifying your employees of any office closures, traffic warnings for commute and to know who is in or out of the office.

Notifications and Memos can be sent out through Noodle to send E-mails and/or Instant Messages to the users in the system for immediate attention.

An announcement can be added to the main page to provide news and updates as well as links for resources, such as your Adverse Weather Policy document. Or, if your site is locally hosted and requires a Remote/VPN connection to access, a Page with instructions on how to connect.

Calendars are also a good idea to display any notices ahead of time, or scheduled early leaves. Users that are publishing their Noodle calendar to their personal calendar, will also receive these updates.

Employees can also easily notify their Manager of their absence and communicate a plan using the Instant Messenger or Conference Rooms.

Use “My Profile” as your Digital Workspace

The My Profile application, allows you to not only share information about yourself, but also to use for your own tools and resources.

The Portlet tab allows you to add and lay out your own portlets, based on the content you want to follow.

If you follow people in your department, you can also see their Status updates and any new activity from them from your “Followers” tab. This helps you keep up to date with co-workers, regardless of where they are.

The “Apps” tab allows you to create and manage your own applications so you can digitally store documents you are working on, keep track of your online calendar, or to keep track of your task list.

Lastly, if you’re not ready to publish your post on the site, you can save your post under the “Drafs” tab so you can work and collaborate on a Page, Document or Post until you are ready to publish the content live.

It’s a great way to keep your important work all in one secure place that you can access through anywhere and on any type of device.

Don’t Miss a Meeting

We are obviously more digitally connected now, more than ever before. This makes things like live face to face meetings, much easier to organize and execute.

We already mentioned Conference Rooms and Instant Messaging, but did you know that (in Chrome and Firefox browsers) you can hold video conferences for up to 5 users at one time? On mobile, you also have the option to hold one on one video chats as well, with no extra software.

There are also the early stages implemented (Firefox only currently) for screen sharing inside of Noodle. Again, just another awesome tool to make it easier to stay connected.

There are many more ways Noodle can be used as your “Work from Home Office” during those nasty blizzards and other Inclement weather. If you are not using Noodle yet,  sign up for a free demonstration today and receive a fully featured 30-day trial.

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March Update: Improvements to Notifications and UI

For the March 2020 Noodle upgrade, we have some minor, but highly requested improvements to present to you. These changes are active on Cloud sites, and Self-Hosted clients can apply an upgrade to add these new features.

People Portlet and UI Improvements

  • The People Portlet has been cleaned up, improving the look of highlighting an employee, as well as options to show or hide the other members of the group. This makes it easier to use to focus on one employee, without showing every other member of the group.

  • You can now edit links in the Links application. Previously, you would need to delete the old link and add the edited one.
  • The Color Picker now has “recent colors” saved so you can use previously selected colors when highlighting events in a Calendar, setting your Theme, or anywhere else you can add colors to the site.
  • For Administrators, you will notice that the “System Tools” and “Deleted Items” text, have been replaced with icons. You can also now view Analytics to see how man Items are added, per application.

E-Mail Mentions and Notifications

  • Previously, tagging another user using the “@“ symbol, would only give you a link to that user’s profile. Now, along with E-mail on Comments, you can opt to get notified (by e-mail) whenever someone tags you in a Status or comment. This is a user setting that can be selected by going to “Edit Profile” in your Profile screen.
  • Users that are assigned tasks in the Task Manager, will now also receive an e-mail notification when they are first assigned the task.
  • Finally, On-Premise clients will now have a notice built-in, whenever there is a new upgrade available. Aside from just receiving an e-mail, this will make it more visible to admins to alert the IT Manager to apply an upgrade.
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Give Your Intranet 2020 Vision

The start of each new year is always a good opportunity to freshen up your Intranet site. Even more so this year, with Noodle, as there’s been so many new improvements made in 2019. Let’s look at a few new features you may not be using yet.

Portlet Styles

The final update of 2019 also brought one of the most heavily requested new features. The ability to customize your portlet boxes from within the Theme settings. Previously, this could only be done with custom CSS. Now, you have built-in options to be able to customize your experience even further. You can view more information on the new Portlet Style options, here. While you are in the Theme options, you can also view other new options available, as well.

 

Poster Images

Poster images were introduced, last year. This is a built-in gallery of high quality stock images to use in your Blogs, Announcements and more.

A poster image can be added as a portlet to have a banner for your pages. You may also add your own photo for this as well.

Poster images can also be selected in the Image properties of the Text Editor.

General Cleanup/Updates

Outside of the new features, it’s also a good opportunity to review your content for anything that might be out of date, or irrelevant now. Cleaning up old content while adding fresh new content for the new year, can help with overall engagement. It also ensures the users that the intranet site is active and the content found is the most relevant and up to date source.

One other thing that some administrators forget to maintain, is the “Deleted Items” folder. This should be cleared out every now and then to avoid issues with storage. If you haven’t cleared your Deleted Items in a while, this is a great time.

If you need any help styling your portlets, using the Poster images, setting your Blog Featured Image or anything else, please reach out to us and we would be happy to assist.

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Visual Update IV – New Blog Portlet Style

Make your Blog post stand out, by using the new Featured Thumbnail image for Noodle Blogs. Adding an image to your Blog portlets will help you get more views and interactions with your posts. These help give your intranet a more modern intranet look, while also allowing more options to preview your post in a portlet and to have more control on what you want users to see on these pages.

Blog Portlet Displaying List of Blogs with Exceprts

The same settings apply, as before, when creating a Blog Portlet. But you will have different styles now for when you are showing links to recent posts, or excerpts and links from recent posts.

Blog Portlet Displaying List of Most Recent Blogs

In order for the Feature image to display in your links:

  1. Upload an image, or choose from the existing “Poster” gallery, to add to your Blog post.
  2.  Click “More” in the Editor and there will be a Thumbnail icon to click.
  3. Select which image, from your post, that you would like to highlight as the “Feature” image.
  4. Click “Save and Close” to apply the change.

Note that if there is no image selected, there will be a thumbnail placeholder. You can check the “Display Excerpts” checkbox, if you would like the option to not have a Feature image in your portlet.

The minimum suggested size for these images is 640 x 360 pixels.

As this is a new feature, we appreciate any feedback or comments on the new options. Feel free to contact us with your feedback or questions you may have.

 

 

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Visual Update III – Style your Portlets

In the latest version of Noodle, you now have separate options to customize the look and style of your Porltet boxes. This gives you more flexibility with designing the overall look of your site.

Your default Portlet may change, once this update is pushed to your site. To customize your Portlets, go to System Tools – Settings – Theme – Portlets.

If you have custom CSS with your Portlet, please Contact Us and we can have a  developer help transfer your changes to the UI options, or to set new style rules for the CSS.

 

“Color Coding” can be turned off by going to System Tools – Settings – Theme – Colors.

If you need any help customizing your Portlets, please Contact Us for assistance.

*A more detailed guide of customizing Porltets will be coming soon with instructions and examples.

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Visual Update II: Top Navigation Design

This is Part 2 of our series on Noodle Intranet Theme Design. To view “Part 1” please click here.

Recently, Noodle Intranet, was updated with more options for the Top Navigation view and a fresh new style. This makes the Top Navigation view more customizable than ever before. The Top Navigation menu has also been improved to open “on click”, rather than on “hover” which could get in the way sometimes when navigating the site the old way. This helps improve the user experience and makes it better for administrators as well.

Top Navigation Customization

There are now 4 options to control the look of your navigation.

The new “Navigation Color” and “Navigation Background Color” allow you to customize the text links in the Tabs, and the background of the Tabs. You can try different combinations and will be able to set individual colors for tabs in the future as well.

Setting the Navigation Width also helps you get the most out of your screen space. Companies that use wider monitors/screens may want to use a wider view to fit more content on their screen and have less wasted space.

This also helps keep the Section Tabs at the top organized.

You can also control the shape of the Tabs at the top by setting a value for “Round Corner”. This allows you to have rectangular tabs, or have them more curved and rounded. Note that this also changes the shape of your Portlet boxes.

There are still other possibilities customizing your navigation using the built-in CSS box in the Theme options. You are able to go beyond the buil-in options to style Noodle any way you want.

Please send us any questions or feedback you may have. If you are not using Noodle yet, feel free to sign up for a free demonstration of our software.

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Visual Update: Font Icons and Background Colors

The Noodle Team would like to send a quick update to show you a couple of new visual options for your intranet site. Font Icons have been added to the Rich-Text Editor to give you more options for creating custom links and other types of posts. You can now also choose individual colors for your backgrounds in your site. Providing you with more Theme options to customize.

Font Icons in Editor

There are multiple benefits for using Font Icons opposed to images. They allow for faster loading and less storage space on your site. Font icons can be used in any Page, Blog or Forum post, or inside of an Announcement Portlet. The example below used Font Icons to create some visual links to other parts of the intranet or to external websites or portals.

 

 

The Font Icons can be accessed via the “Font Awesome” Icon when you click on “More” in the editor.

 

 

Then, you may choose or set the icon from the included Gallery.

 

 

Intranet Theme Background Colors

New options, in the Theme color settings, are now available to set individual color backgrounds.

You may now select a specific color for your Top Bar Banner, Navigation, Quickbar and Page backgrounds.

This adds even more flexibility to easily customize the look of your site. You will still have the option to set a background image for any of these options, which will overwrite any color settings.

Please send us any questions or feedback you may have. If you are not using Noodle yet, feel free to sign up for a free demonstration of our software.

 

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Noodle Intranet Posters

Adding high quality images to your Noodle Sections and Pages are now easier than ever!

If you want to jazz up a Page, create a Department banner or provide inspirational quotes, Posters will allow you to do so easily.

Noodle has partnered up with Unsplash to provide a full gallery of images that can be selected from within our WYSIWYG Text Editing Tool. These images are of high quality and are free, no license required. You can then easily add text on top of the image.

 

Adding a New Poster Portlet

To add a new Poster portliest to your Page or Section, click on the “Add Portlet” icon in the upper-right corner of the Page or Section.

Then select, “Poster”.

This will automatically add an image with a popular Quote in text.

To select a new image from the gallery, go to the Options menu of the Porltet and choose “Edit”.

Right click on the Poster image and select “Edit Div (Poster)”.

Here, you can click on the “Poster” tab to search and select a new Image to add.

To change the text, simply highlight the existing text and press “Delete/Backspace” to remove and then add your own.

These Unsplash images can now also be added in any application using the Text Editor. In the “Image Upload” box, there will now be a tab for “Poster” to be able to select and add images from the gallery.

Any feedback you may have using this new feature can be sent to saleshelp@vialect.com as we will be looking for ways to improve this tool for several Noodle applications.

Enjoy using the new Posters!

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Work from Home with your Intranet

This past winter hit many areas quite hard with snow, freezing ice, and even frost quakes! On top of all the other issues with a large amount of snow, travel becomes not only difficult, but dangerous.

School closing are common in poor weather, but not every office or business can do so. The loss of productivity to some companies can have a large impact during weather emergencies. Approximately $1 billion per winter season is lost due to snowstorms. With record snowfalls and other extreme weather being seen in several parts of the country, all companies need to be prepared. Allowing users to work remotely from home, during these times, is a great solution.

Your Intranet, and secure external access to it, will allow your employees to be productive, but stay safe at the same time. Here’s some ways your Intranet can be used to make working remotely from home easy.

Make Announcements and Set Expectations

Your Intranet will be valuable from the start with notifying your employees of any office closures, traffic warnings for commute and to know who is in or out of the office.

Notifications and Memos can be sent out through Noodle to send E-mails and/or Instant Messages to the users in the system for immediate attention.

An announcement can be added to the main page to provide news and updates as well as links for resources, such as your Adverse Weather Policy document. Or, if your site is locally hosted and requires a Remote/VPN connection to access, a Page with instructions on how to connect.

Calendars are also a good idea to display any notices ahead of time, or scheduled early leaves. Users that are publishing their Noodle calendar to their personal calendar, will also receive these updates.

Employees can also easily notify their Manager of their absence and communicate a plan using the Instant Messenger or Conference Rooms.

Use “My Profile” as your Digital Workspace

The My Profile application, allows you to not only share information about yourself, but also to use for your own tools and resources.

The Portlet tab allows you to add and lay out your own portlets, based on the content you want to follow.

If you follow people in your department, you can also see their Status updates and any new activity from them from your “Followers” tab. This helps you keep up to date with co-workers, regardless of where they are.

The “Apps” tab allows you to create and manage your own applications so you can digitally store documents you are working on, keep track of your online calendar, or to keep track of your task list.

Lastly, if you’re not ready to publish your post on the site, you can save your post under the “Drafs” tab so you can work and collaborate on a Page, Document or Post until you are ready to publish the content live.

It’s a great way to keep your important work all in one secure place that you can access through anywhere and on any type of device.

Don’t Miss a Meeting

We are obviously more digitally connected now, more than ever before. This makes things like live face to face meetings, much easier to organize and execute.

We already mentioned Conference Rooms and Instant Messaging, but did you know that (in Chrome and Firefox browsers) you can hold video conferences for up to 5 users at one time? On mobile, you also have the option to hold one on one video chats as well, with no extra software.

There are also the early stages implemented (Firefox only currently) for screen sharing inside of Noodle. Again, just another awesome tool to make it easier to stay connected.

There are many more ways Noodle can be used as your “Work from Home Office” during those nasty blizzards and other Inclement weather. If you are not using Noodle yet,  sign up for a free demonstration today and receive a fully featured 30-day trial.