When should you use a team site rather than a communication site?

As well as templates for communication sites, there are also templates for SharePoint team sites. These are intended to be used less as a general communication resource, but more as a place for collaborating and knowledge sharing, usually across a smaller team or group.

What are the use cases for a SharePoint communication site?

SharePoint communication sites are both flexible and versatile and can be used for many different business use cases.

Employee communication from a department, team or location

Unsurprisingly, communication sites are designed for communication! Philosophically, SharePoint is built on a flat, decentralised structure

that potentially empowers different parts of an organisation to manage their own employee communications independently of say a central internal communications function. While that has both upsides and downsides, a communication site provides a strong vehicle for employee communications from a specific department, division, function, team or location, that sometimes might sit outside an intranet.

This could provide information about a department, but for larger departments it could also serve for news for people within that group.

Sharepoint communication sites template

Information site or knowledge hub on a topic, process or initiative

Communication sites are also excellent for collating resources and information on a particular topic or process that will be relevant for employees. For example this could be a knowledge hub or an area such as Health & Safety or Cybersecurity, or perhaps a resource relating to a particular process. It might also be a site for an initiative such as a wellbeing program.

Sharepoint communication sites example

A portal for a specific group

A communication site could also be an information resource site aimed at a particular group of employees. A high value use case is a hub for new starters that supports the onboarding process and could include checklists, welcome videos and more – all to help them settle in and have a great start to working at the company.

Sharepoint online communication sites example

Community sites

A communication site can also be more of a community site which supports interaction between a group of employees. It can focus on news and resources, but then also have a Viva Engage web part embedded for

discussions and knowledge sharing. It is possible that use case may be better served by a team site if it is a smaller group.

Sharepoint communication sites community website

Self-service learning site

A SharePoint communication site also can be a good place to include learning resources that provides “how to” information and guidance on a self-serve basis. This can a wide different variety of topics. For example, a common type of “learning site” found in the digital workplace is guidance on how to use Microsoft 365 and which tool to use when. Again, an embedded Viva Engage community can also be a place for people to ask questions to experts.

Sharepoint communication sites self service learning

Parts of the intranet

A SharePoint Online intranet usually consists of a collection of different sites tied to together with a common navigation, additional consistent branding, content types and more. Individual communication sites within a wider intranet might relate to different regions, functions, departments and topics such as wellbeing and strategy and more.

Sharepoint communication sites as intranet

A simple intranet for a small company

A communication site can act as a very basic intranet for a small company that has simple and straightforward information needs. However, this isn’t always the best option as usually a more sophisticated approach may be required.

Sharepoint communication sites as a homesite

SharePoint home site

A communication site can be turned into your SharePoint home site, which could be a top-level site for your organization and might equate to your intranet home page (and could actually be that) and will act as employees’ default starting point, as well as defining some of the default settings for other communication sites. It can also power Viva Connections, which requires a home site to be enabled.