Most businesses had to learn throughout 2020 how to support a remote workforce, often in unexpected and unplanned for timeframes. For companies already using cloud-based applications such as Microsoft 365, this transition can be straightforward. Cloud-based systems allow teams to access files and collaborate on projects, all from different physical locations. Staying engaged can be difficult for any remote worker, but the incredible access Microsoft 365 offers lends itself to improved connection, positive culture and little hindrance to work productivity.
Many companies are aware of the benefits of cloud solutions – but where do you start?
Take a look at the top tools and methods to prioritise and equip your remote workforce:
1. Better meetings
Tiedata encourages our clients to reimagine virtual collaboration through innovative tools from Microsoft. Using a variety of different apps to communicate and collaborate can minimise online meeting fatigue. While Outlook can be used for more official email and calendar requirements, mixing it up with these tools might help your remote team:
Microsoft Teams syncs with your Outlook calendar and offers diverse methods of collaboration. Video calls can host hundreds of users from both inside and outside of your organisation, as well as having separate group conversations and “teams” within the chat function. It has everything needed for light-hearted chats, from emojis and gifs to virtual backgrounds and team folders to share files, ideas and a little fun with your team.
Microsoft Whiteboard enables your team to have those ‘blue-sky thinking’ group planning sessions, even if you’re without a physical whiteboard. Using this plugin with Teams will allow you to edit your collaboration whiteboard with teammates live by adding sticky notes, sketches, and comments all whilst on a Teams call.
2. Automate workflows
Do you still have workflows that are manually operated and updated? If so, automating workflows will boost productivity and simplify day-to-day- tasks for your team. Freeing up time usually spent on manual maintenance or data management will provide your team with everything they need to work at home. Bottlenecks such as approvals or manual data entry can be ironed out with Microsoft Power Automate. This tool accelerates everyday processes from a centralised location that your team can access easily when they need it. If your workforce is becoming increasingly flexible, equipping your team to be able to efficiently pick up right where they left off, even at the last minute, is essential.
3. Data is more secure
Remote workers will likely access work data on personal devices such as phones or laptops – at the very least they’ll probably be using a network that’s much less safe than your company network. With cybercrime on the rise and a 40% increase in unsecured remote desktop protocol since COVID-19, remote device management and cybersecurity has never been more critical. Microsoft Endpoint Manager and Microsoft Intune allow businesses to use intelligent cloud software to roll out comprehensive security protection across all remote devices and users. With consistent protection, you can be sure that your business is without security blind spots for hackers to take advantage of.
4. Work From Home Access
When your remote devices are secure, your team members can access a myriad of crucial data through Microsoft 365 cloud apps. We’ve already mentioned communication and collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, but there is a wealth of other useful applications that can be used for productive teamwork.
- Office 365 Business Essentials stack: Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Publisher, OneDrive
- SharePoint: useful intranet for accessing shared folders, files, groups and projects that can be live-edited from different online locations.
- Windows Virtual Desktop with Azure: optimise the Cloud by replicating your entire office desktop on remote devices, so nothing falls through the cracks.
Culture, fun, communication & teamwork are all vital elements to a successful remote team. If your employees feel connected without being fatigued by intense video calls, they will ultimately be more productive. Encourage your team members to take breaks, exercise and eat healthily by having regular catch-ups about non-work related topics.
Try to think of creative ways to replicate natural conversation and meeting experiences like the occasional coffee break, team game or Disco kudos in Teams.
Cloud-based tools are essential for remote teams. You just can’t work from home as well without them. Protect your data, equip your people and enable your business to thrive, no matter what 2021 has in store for us.
Is your business ready for cloud-based remote working?