Earlier this month we talked about the intranet’s role in preparing for and recovering from catastrophe. But are you prepared for a zombie apocalypse?

So-called digital workplace ‘experts’ claim that people are the heart of every business, and that a central function of an intranet is to help people to find each other, so they can work together. But that overlooks a significant risk – that a zombie could use your intranet to track down people and EAT THEIR BRAINS. We’re hopeful this post finds you in time.

So, what are we talking about here?

Zombies are single-minded hunting machines, with all bodily functions serving a single imperative: locate prey, capture prey and feed – on human brains. Eggheads at the University of Bums on Seats found the smell of living flesh triggers a large release of dopamine, an adrenaline-like neurotransmitter, into the zombie brain. On a dark night and with a stiff breeze, zombies can smell humans from several miles away.

With today being Hallowe’en, we feel you can’t be too careful. Right now there could be hoardes of bloodthirsty corpses heading your way. The only way to beat the zombies is to make your people as hard to find as possible. Here’s our top tips for doing just that.

Woah, nasty, so what can I as an intranet manager do?

A people finder is considered by many to be the ‘killer app’ on an intranet. The clue’s in the name there – KILLER. By providing a single, accurate source of people data including basics such as phone number, email, workplace address and job title, so that people can connect with one another, you’re practically doing a zombie’s job for them. Is that what you want?

Whatever you do, ensure your people directory doesn’t include photos. Sure, they have their uses – helping people to recognise each other for meetings, creating connections in virtual teams, etc – but they’re like a red rag to a hungry zombie. Do you want that on your conscience?

Many directories include relationship information, such as team, manager or line reports. While this is undoubtedly useful in a work situation, allowing colleagues to quickly find someone who can help, in a zombie apocalypse this could prove a fatal error. A zombie could all too easy find and kill entire teams.

Social intranets increasingly allow people to manage their own employee profile and information. Confuse any visiting zombies by abandoning that adoption programme right now! Unloved, unused profiles full of out-of-date information and dead projects can really send a passing zombie up the garden path. Make sure you don’t unwittingly contribute to your own untimely demise at the hands of a zombie: make sure your own profile is next to useless for everyone who reads it, alive or undead.

They seek ‘em here, they seem ‘em there

A good search function might well prove valuable for your business, but it could prove costly for your colleagues, allowing a zombie to search by location or department, so they know where BRAINS are based and where they can be found. Madness! Instead use a crappy, basic search function that only allows you to search by name. While next to useless in a work situation, this will quickly foil the undead, who are no good at remembering names due to their own atrophying cerebral cortex.

Most intranets now include presence indicators in their people directories. While this makes it easy to see if someone is around so you can ring them at an appropriate time, in a zombie situation you’re literally giving a green light for them to come around and kill. Big mistake.

Calendars, too, are a schoolboy error. When a reanimated cadaver lands on your profile, do you want them to know when you might be available? We didn’t think so.

Eating Enterprise Experts

Expertise finding often form a key component of business cases for social intranets. This is playing into the zombies’ hands! Researchers found the living dead have a preference for scientific minds due to their larger temporal lobes. Protect your best talent by making them impossible to find.

A zombie’s powerful sense of smell compensates for the weakness of their other senses. Corneas degrade quickly after a short period of undeath, leading to myopia and colour-blindness. Ensure your intranet doesn’t meet basic accessibility standards. Small, unscalable text and poor contrast could stop a visually impaired zombie in their tracks.

Similarly, zombies regularly suffer from hearing loss due to the degradation of their eardrums. Take full advantage of this by putting key information in video format only. Don’t provide text alternatives – that makes it far too easy for them!

So, be careful yea?

You’ve got a few hours to make some swift and important changes as part of your zombie contingency planning. Introduce awful search, obfuscate profile information, remove presence awareness, hide calendars, find weaponry and protect yourself against the inevitable near-dead onslaught. Good luck.

Photo credit: LaughingSquid on Flickr