With COVID-19 running rampant, many are concerned with the stability of their workforce and how to maintain the same level of connection and communication the office brings. Amidst this uncertainty, Microsoft Teams offers viable resources to help keep your business afloat during these times of self-isolation.
Since the Coronavirus has gone global, Microsoft has mad the decision to make Microsoft Teams available for free to those who have had to transition to working remotely, according to Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365.
The biggest struggle companies face when tasked with working remote is the element of maintaining “business as usual.” While there is no perfect substitute for face-to-face interaction, Microsoft Teams functions in a way that allows employees to continue to communicate and connect on almost the same level as in-person conversation.
Office 365 streamlines working from home. It keeps you up to date with current situations, even on a global scale. All the apps and tools within Office 365 help to maintain continuity and fluidity when transitioning from one device (or workplace) to another. Within Microsoft Teams, you can directly chat with co-workers, create larger group chats for teams, conduct phone and video calls, and more, all while having access to all files and folders saved to the cloud. The convenience of having all of this in one place with a user-friendly platform makes all the difference.
Tips for Using Microsoft Teams to Create a Remote Workplace
1) Establish Communication Guidelines
Microsoft Teams offers an abundance of ways to communicate with your colleagues. Traditional email, instant messaging through chat, posting on channels, and even pining teammates within Office 365 apps like Word or Planner. It is important as a remote workforce to establish guidelines that pay respect to business working hours and remaining efficient. For example, provide employees a process to clearly state their availability to uphold work-life balance. Additionally, considering the urgency of an instant message before sending it knowing the recipient might feel obligated to immediately reply.
2) Implement Support Structures
A change in one’s way of life is hard on everyone. It may be more difficult for some to adapt to working remotely. As such, providing support structures and ensuring employees can reach out at any time is essential in maintaining the health of your company and those who keep it running. Teams can even be used for reassuring your team during uncertainty. Consider creating remote support or crisis response channels to keep all entities briefed and in-the-know.
3) Embrace Online Meetings
Transitioning to all online meetings can be challenging. Going in with an open mindset, along with doing some research on how to utilize Teams during meetings, can help the meetings flow and be as productive as possible. Advantages of Teams include quick web and audio access for internal and external users without the hassle of difficult logins, timely downloads and lengthy access codes. Additionally, video and screen share features can help the presenter connect with their audience and O365 collaboration features can help encourage participation during virtual meetings.
4) Use Planner to Stay Organized
Planner is a dynamic Kanban style task management application comparable to Slack or Trello. Being integrated with Office 365 allows you and your employees to delegate, view, and complete tasks in a collaborative manner. Adopting an application like this can keep your team productively focused and accountable for deadlines without even having to ask.
5) Behold the Power of Whiteboard
If you haven’t started using it already, the transition to working remote is a great time to start! One of the most powerful tools in a physical conference room is an old-fashioned whiteboard. Microsoft’s new Whiteboard app does it’s best to digitize this asset and make it available to your remote workforce. The benefits include easily saving pictures as a file, simultaneous co-authoring, and organized storage within the appropriate Teams channel.
Be Patient and Stay Positive
While it is difficult to replicate the benefits of face-to-face interaction, we hope you found these tips useful to improving your remote work effectiveness. If you find yourself compelled to start your journey with Microsoft after reading about how it can help your business in these complicated times, visit our website to learn more. Also, be sure to check out our Remote Work Checklist for some additional quick tips.