Panic has ensued across the world as covid-19 continues to spread. It has resulted in organisations isolating staff, separating teams, and moving people to different locations in order to ensure business continuity.
How do you ensure business continuity while at the same time safeguarding your valuable employees and not putting them or their families at unnecessary risk?
I myself work in this protected environment daily. From home I have complete and full functionality of any office-based worker while at the same time allowing me the complete autonomy to work at optimal points of the day whilst balancing family life.
Working in the Microsoft space and specialising in communication and collaboration tools that Microsoft offers has enabled me to truly understand the value of work life balance while dramatically increasing my productivity.
Here are some of the key Microsoft Teams features and some personal tips that enable me as a remote worker to be so effective:
Workspace set up
Not everyone can afford dedicated office space at home, but Teams as a product is essentially a virtual office that can go anywhere. You can securely store documents, ensure the right people and only the right people can access them, yet instantly move to meetings, calls, or perform document collaboration. It also allows you to go into ‘Do Not Disturb’ (something you can’t do in an office) mode when needed. Another key advantage is flexibility of hours while having the full functionality of a virtual office that truly enables a work life balance that fits your lifestyle.
Having a presence-based product is not only great for accommodating people’s availability, but also allows you to communicate in the most effective way possible. Prior to using presence-based products you would either blindly call or email someone, neither of which is very effective. This truly enables you to interact through the most productive means and really contributes to a more engaged and effective communication method.
Single client with softphone
Having worked in the technology industry for a long time selling and supporting all various unified communications tools, the reality is that approximately 85% of businesses worldwide use Microsoft based products. Utilising Teams continues down the track of using a single source for information and collaboration. Other unified communications tools in the marketplace have additional layers in order to integrate with the Microsoft environment. Whether it’s a plug-in for syncing Outlook calendar, their own client for instant messaging, presence and collaboration, or a 3rd party conferencing solution, using Teams natively adjusts my presence-based calendar activity. By duplicating my calendar in the Teams client, it allows me a single source for managing my time. This opens up comprehensive collaboration with all the widely used Microsoft products like Excel, PowerPoint and Word. Also having the flexibility to present whatever DDI that is relevant to my location and have calls transferred through to me from various ring groups and call queues truly makes it feasible to be anywhere at anytime and be connected.
A key area of concern for many individuals and organisations is the potential of feeling isolated or disconnected in a remote working environment. The ability to do things like create an online conference room or simply have a video call certainly helps me stay more connected and feel there is true interaction. Further, the ability to record calls or meetings helps to keep colleagues informed and involved. Whilst you need to ensure you are being proactive in staying engaged, it’s reassuring to know that full engagement is as easy as the click of a button.
One of the biggest fears for organisations who deploy remote workers is how do you monitor performance? I am a firm believer that you need to trust your employees. It’s been proven that enabling your employees to work in their most effective manner dramatically increases productivity. When you feel supported by your organisation while given the ability to balance your home life and your physical and mental health, your dedication and motivation to your job increases. Through all various Teams’ bots and apps management tools, it’s easy to move into a performance-based mentality. Endless tools exist for tracking the productivity of your remote workers. Through stats and programs like powerBI the analytics can be as granular as you like. This can be performed manually or automated so that any amount of information you need is readily available. This provides freedom, flexibility, and true performance-based management.
All in all, a product like Microsoft Teams instantly enables you to have continuity but also a secure and protected workforce.
The immediate benefits are:
- A virtual workplace that you can take anywhere,
- he ability to be in full communication both internally and externally,
- You can maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle,
- Stay and feel connected with video and communication tools to avoid feeling isolated,
- Be inclusive and collaborative,
- Record and document everything,
- Full security and protection,
- Brings everyone together no matter where in the world they are,