Following the advice given by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, businesses across the UK are allowing their employees to work from home, to tackle the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Whilst remote working is nothing new, a situation where entire workforces have been sent home is unprecedented, so it’s crucial that steps are taken to ensure operations are not impacted over the coming months.

For businesses without access to online platforms like Microsoft Teams, the transition could place a strain on internal communications, as employees don’t have the tools needed to collaborate as they usually would.

With no clear indication as to when the outbreak will be safely under control, employers must adapt quickly to these new working conditions, ensuring business continues as usual, despite the lack of opportunities for face-to-face interactions.

Six-month Teams trial

For businesses that have been caught off-guard by the recent developments, Microsoft is offering a free Office 365 E1 trial for six months, which applies to those without an existing Teams license.

This will give the entire business access to Microsoft Teams, allowing employees to communicate freely and share information within one central hub.

Through the Teams ‘meetings’ and ‘calls’ options, workers can stay in contact with one another whilst working from home, using conference calls to hold large group meetings, with the option to use video for the full experience.

If needed, meetings can be recorded for co-workers who aren’t present at the time, providing everyone with a permanent record of the topics discussed.

Meanwhile, live chat features allow employees to communicate and share ideas in real-time, using @mentions to target specific individuals.

Virtual office

Understandably, not everyone will have a home office that they can retreat to, but luckily, Microsoft Teams has been designed as a virtual office that can be taken anywhere.

Despite not having access to a printer or physical files, employees can still get the information they need through Teams, as documents are stored securely on the platform for future use.

One of the biggest changes that comes from working at home is the lack of regular communication, as the removal of small office ‘hallway’ chats makes it more difficult to update colleagues or chase a piece of deadline dependent work.

As you start to use teams, it’s good to make a habit of delivering regular progress reports so that colleagues can keep track of ongoing projects and remain on the same page.

Teams channels also make great forums for non-work-related conversations, which will be extremely important during a period of self-isolation and social distancing.

Tailored solution

Whilst the six-month Microsoft Teams trial provides the perfect opportunity for businesses to test the use of online collaboration platforms, it’s important to remember that not everyone will feel comfortable making the transition right away.

Many organisations prefer to learn the ropes with the help of IT professionals, who will teach employees the basics and deploy the solution efficiently, without causing any unnecessary headaches along the way.

Our remote JumpStart deployment is designed to achieve just that, helping workers get the most out of Microsoft Teams by implementing a solution that meets their unique business needs.

Rather than implementing the technology and leaving businesses to figure it out, we work closely with employees, defining the various business usage scenarios and planning the deployment with respect to existing infrastructure.

This ensures organisations are left with a long-term solution that will still be effective long after the Coronavirus pandemic dies down.

Planning for the future…

During a period of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to maintain high business productivity.

Just because employees are now working from home, that doesn’t mean operations should grind to a halt, as platforms like Microsoft Teams offer an alternative for affected businesses.

It’s important that you remain patient during the initial transition, giving your employees time to adjust to the new technology and how it’s used.

If you require professional support or need help finding a solution that suits your business, then contact our in-house team and begin planning.

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