Streamline Blog

Humboldt Bay Water saves time, strengthens culture while remote

Posted by Sloane Dell'Orto | September 15, 2020

Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District had wanted an internal staff site for years, but when the COVID-19 pandemic occurred it became critical that they tackle the project right away. They were used to being closely connected and celebrating accomplishments, and wanted a way to continue doing those important things during the stay-at-home orders.

The district spans three different work sites, has employees who work remotely around the clock, and had closed their offices to the public. Yet in spite of these challenges, the district was determined to find a way to collaborate remotely and support the great culture they had built over the years. 

The challenge

HBMWD still had a lot of legacy processes, and the district was very paper-driven. They needed an easy way to digitize internal documents and share them online with staff and board members in a way that would allow them to collaborate more closely while many are working remotely. 

They faced the additional challenge of continuing to hire and train new employees during the pandemic. How do you share vital information and steep new hires in your culture from a distance?

“The board has been asking for a directory for years, because they don’t see staff as often as they would like. Building this out with pictures and bios allows us all to feel more connected, especially during a time of remote work. ”

– Sherrie Sobol, Board Secretary

The solution

Thankfully, HBMWD already had a technology partner in Streamline: we provide the software they have used for their public-facing website for years. We had just launched an affordable intranet tool - named Portal - just for special districts, so were able to work with the district to identify some of the ways we might address their challenges:

  • Training and onboHBMWDarding documents have been moved into Portal so that new employees can fill out the appropriate forms and submit them online, as well as complete various training exercises remotely
  • Pictures and documents are now being shared with everyone online, allowing staff and board members to stay connected while also learning about the district’s 60+ year history
  • FAQs allow staff to get quick answers to their questions without the need to call in to the office (especially important for those around-the-clock employees!)

Portal has been a game changer for Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District.


With the time they are saving, office employees can now focus on other projects...including digitizing the massive amount of historical documents currently in paper files. Because Portal includes unlimited storage, much of this content will be uploaded to their intranet, further strengthening employees’ understanding and connection with the district. Some of that content will also be added to their public-facing site to help educate the public about the vital work this special district does.

“We have a lot of projects that have been on the back burner because we’re so busy, and the time savings from using Portal will allow us to start tackling them.

– Sherrie Sobol, Board Secretary


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