Using Microsoft Teams to Stay Connected in a Changing World

Using Microsoft Teams to

Stay Connected in a Changing World

Using Microsoft Teams to Stay Connected in a Changing World

In the past twenty years, the world has undergone a significant shift - it seems that uncertainty is the only certainty. Some of us can still remember having “car phones” before we had “mobile phones,” and even more of us can remember when mobile devices weren’t connected to the internet at large. In fact, many of us can remember when most work was done with pen and paper!

When the world that we live in changed, it fundamentally altered how we work. In many countries, the majority of households are dual-income, meaning that the logistics and financial impact of childcare is a growing concern. In addition to this, certain illnesses are reappearing or coming back with a vengeance – like how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated increased flu infections for the past few seasons.

There is no better time than now to talk about the benefits and challenges of working from home. No matter how unpredictable the world can be, you should understand the stability that accompanies telecommuting options. We all know that working from home allows for greater work-life balance and eliminates stressful commutes, but what else can it do? Let’s break down all the benefits and how you can stay connected with Microsoft Teams.

The Benefits of Working from Home

Many organizations have taken a while to come around to the idea of allowing their employees to work from home. After all, how could they be sure employees were staying just as productive at home as they were in the office? Since working through those hesitations, more and more companies are coming around to the idea. In fact, so far only 56% of managers permit their employees to work remotely. However, according to Gartner, the demand for remote work will increase by 30% by 2030 due to Gen Z fully entering the workforce. Whether you find yourself working from home by choice, or not, it certainly has its benefits. Here are a few to consider.

No Commute, No Stress

When you’re telecommuting, you can log on from wherever you are. The commute can add hours of stress to your week, costing you time and money. And from an organizational standpoint, added stress from tough commutes can bring down the quality of work. Without hustling through busy city streets, struggling to find a seat on public transportation, or sitting in frustrating traffic, you’ll realize how refreshing it is to wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head to your laptop.

Plus, a commute can impact where you and your employees choose to live. According to a report from Zillow, 30 percent of home buyers stated a 15 to 29-minute commute was their absolute maximum. If your commute is starting to take a toll on you, weaving in a few remote days here and there could make a world of difference. And if you’re looking to hire or boost retention, this level of flexibility could give you a huge leg up.

Talent is Limitless

Ever find the perfect candidate for the job, and then realize they live across the country? With telecommuting, you don’t have to sacrifice the best choice for the role just because of proximity. Now, you can hire whoever is most fit and they can log on along with the rest of the team. This means you’re not settling for anything but the best, and that person is taking on a job they’re truly good at without picking up and moving their life.

Downsizing Your Office Space

Is the rent on your brick and mortar office location creeping up? Consider how much you could save if you downsized. By allowing more employees to work from home, organizations would need less space to accommodate a full house.

This would be especially ideal for those in pricey city locations, or those simply just looking to shrink their company’s carbon footprint. In fact, FlexJobs reports that the existing telecommute workforce reduces greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of taking 600,000 cars of the road for an entire year.

Flexible Hours

Working from home opens the door for major flexibility. Though it’s ideal for employees to be working on the same or close to the same schedule, sometimes that can’t always be the case. Whether you’re hiring someone from a different time zone, or you have employees who prefer to break up their days differently, having flexibility hours is a major benefit. Easing up on the rigid 40-hour work week alleviates stress, promotes better work-life balance, and increases productivity.

Challenges to Stay Aware Of

When employees are allowed to work from home, it’s a given that regulations will have to come into play. Each organization will have to take the time to think about how long they expect employees to be online and engaged, when breaks are appropriate, and how they should be keeping in contact. With remote work, communication is key. It’s best to go over this now with your team before a request due to child or elderly care and the need for flexible hours leaves you scrambling to put rules in place.

It’s important to be aware of the fact that telecommuting boils down to trust. How much do you trust your colleagues? How much do you trust yourself? You really have to give up a bit of control and ensure that you know your employees are getting the work done even if they’re out of sight.

Alternatively, remote workers themselves may feel they aren’t being trusted, either. When you’re not in the office and sitting amongst your peers in a conference room, it’s difficult to know how much you’re being heard. Before you begin working remotely, talk through your hesitations through with your colleagues. Make sure they know you’re concerned about voicing your opinion, and make sure you’re able to communicate throughout the day. This will help remedy any concerns you’re having about working apart from your team.

Where Microsoft Teams Can Support

At SoftwareONE, we understand that the workforce is becoming more dispersed – in fact, we have a local presence in over eighty countries! That’s part of the reason why we fully understand the power of a connected workforce.

For us, this is where Microsoft Teams comes in. Microsoft Teams allows users to stay connected around the globe. Customers, partners, and teammates can all stay in touch flawlessly with Teams due to its ever-evolving capabilities. Let’s talk about a few features:

  • Chat as You Please - In Teams, you’re able to always keep the conversation going through group chats and one-on-one instant messaging. Whereas it may sometimes take an entire email chain for you to get the answer you’re looking for, Teams allows you to simply contact that person - or your team - directly with a quick question. This allows remote workers to stay in the loop without missing a beat, and keeps the rest of the team informed as well.
  • Video Conferencing - Microsoft Teams also has video conferencing. Video conferencing can help remote workers with the concerns they may be having around seeing colleagues face to face by virtually putting everyone in the same room.
  • Manage Channels - The “Channels” feature within Teams allows you to dedicate a shared drive to specific topics. This way, you can have separate channels for things like Events or Public Relations and include the necessary team members in each.
  • Shared Calendars - Teams allows you and your colleagues to view each other’s calendars so everyone can see when you have availability. This means you can easily invite others to your meeting, block off conflicts, and schedule deadlines without having to inform your team of these changes.
  • Document & Project Management - Some of the best benefits of Teams are its management features. Teams allows users to manage projects and documents so everyone can easily share the important files they need to. Plus, you and your team are able to clearly see each other’s upcoming deadlines and the work you still have to finish, so everyone stays on the same page.

Despite all of these benefits, we’re aware that sometimes adoption isn’t easy. With our Microsoft Teams Starter Kit adoption will be accelerated so your organization can quickly begin to realize the full advantages of Microsoft Teams. This way, you’ll be able to boost productivity no matter where your teammates are.

New in March 2020

A free 6-month Office 365 E1 Trial, including Microsoft Teams, is now available. Microsoft is making this special E1 Trial license available in response to the increased need for employees to Work From Home (WFH).

Get started today

Staying Connected

The wisest businesses don’t fear change – they embrace it. For today’s changing world, embracing change means enacting the processes and technology necessary to allow employees to work remotely. All kinds of events can disrupt an employee’s access to the office - perhaps they’re traveling to another country for a sales meeting, or they’d like to keep up with the rest of the company while they care for a newborn child.

With so many reasons to work from home, organizations must create a roadmap that will allow them to acquire the assets and knowledge necessary to persist in this changing world. Once these measures are taken, your team can stay productive and collaborative – no matter the circumstances.

eBook: Update Your Microsoft Teams Etiquette

Once you’ve instated a work from home policy, it’s time to learn how to take your process to the next level with Microsoft Teams. Download our eBook “Everyday Etiquette in Microsoft Teams” for more information!

Learn the Basics

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Author

Simon Bishop, author SoftwareONE Blog

Simon Bishop

Global Head - Recruitment

Talent Acquisition

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