Work From Home Guide

Work From Home Guide

How to Stay Connected

Work From Home Guide: How to Stay Connected

  • 21 April 2020
  • 6.5 minutes to read

Microsoft is helping organizations engage in remote work using Office 365 – but is your organization doing everything it can to make remote work easy for your employees? We’ve collected a few methods to help boost your productivity in our work from home guide.

As we established in part one of this guide, working from home can be made easier with a solution offering like Office 365 from Microsoft. Now that you’ve learned how to set up your new workspace and set up your software within Office 365, it’s time to break down how you can use Microsoft Teams - along with other aspects of the Microsoft suite - to better communicate and collaborate, leverage online meetings, and manage your workload. Let’s get into part two of your complete guide to working from home with Microsoft.

Communication & Collaboration in Teams

When you’re working from home, communication has to remain open. It will certainly take some getting used to at first, but try to make it a habit to connect with your teammates and stakeholders throughout the day. This will help make up for the lack of face-to-face time. After all, a virtual water cooler is better than no water cooler at all.

One of the best ways to chat in Teams is to open a channel for ongoing conversations. These channels can be for anything and everything - from pictures of your dogs all the way to project management! Remember: have fun with your day. A channel dedicated to news tidbits, pictures, and stories can really boost morale, and you can even spice things up with a GIF, sticker, or some emojis.

In addition to channels, Teams allows you to create shared documents so everyone can partake in progress updates on ongoing projects. This way, your team can easily collaborate in real time. Another great way to ideate and iterate is to share content through screen sharing or utilize Teams’ coauthoring feature so you can edit your colleague’s work in real time as well. And if you’re all in need of a quick brainstorm session, try out the Whiteboard feature in Teams. This virtual whiteboard operates as a digital canvas for everyone’s ideas.

It’s really important that you still keep all of your events on your calendar. Whether you have a large-format meeting you need to broadcast video for, or are looking to set up a small huddle, having these events online will help give that much-needed in-person connection.

Using Online Meetings to the Fullest

As you move meetings online, there are a few new best practices to get acquainted with. First off, you should always try to be mentally present and as respectful as possible. While it may be tempting to multitask during virtual meetings, it will throw a wrench in your focus. Instead, turn on your video so you can show your team that you’re paying attention and staying present. Teams even allows you to blur your background so you can cut down on outside distractions.

Another good tip is to pause for your teammates to speak. Virtual meetings typically lend to people talking over each other, so you’ll want to make sure there is enough time and opportunity for everyone to be heard. And if someone is more comfortable chiming in via chat, you can check out the Teams meeting chat box throughout.

Teams also has a live caption feature to help transcribe your discussions in real time. Turning this feature on may help with any miscommunication during your meeting and make these meetings more accessible to certain team members. If you’re looking to post a video, make sure to utilize Microsoft Stream so you can automatically add real-time captions and a searchable transcript.

Also, utilize the Accessibility Checker as another way to ensure your Microsoft 365 documents are inclusive to those joining the meeting with disabilities. You never know who needs accessible content, so it is important to eliminate the guesswork ahead of time. You should also make your Windows 10 easy for everyone to see before sharing your screen. Whether you need to adjust your cursor icon or increase your font size, all of that and more can be taken care of in the Windows 10 Ease of Access Center.

Individually Managing Your Time & Workload

If you’re not used to working from home, you may find it difficult to manage your time and workload. In that case, the first thing you should know is that it is important to set up healthy boundaries with your colleagues. Share your schedule so they know when you are and aren’t available. This will help you set expectations for which hours your team can expect to see you online - and don’t forget to let whoever else lives in your home know about these expectations, too.

Have you found yourself overwhelmed with the larger volume of messages you’re receiving? Use the settings available in Teams and Outlook to customize notifications and even prioritize conversations so you’re getting to what’s more important first.

Something that often happens when people work from home is that they simply don’t know where the “off” button is. It’s definitely challenging to know when to stop working when you essentially never leave your office, so set boundaries. If you don’t draw the line, you could encounter some serious burnout. And to go off of that point, don’t forget to take breaks. Block time off on your calendar for meals, exercise, or even just to get fresh air. Stepping away from the computer will truly help your productivity overall.

And if at any point you start to feel lonely or anxious while working from home, don’t hesitate to reach out to your community. Schedule virtual coffee check-ins with a coworker or chat your team to see how everyone’s doing, it will help you get through the day.

Lead by Example

Here at SoftwareONE, we know working from home doesn’t come easily to everyone. Backed by 30 years of Microsoft experience, we’ve developed our Core Teams Enablement and our Advanced Expert Teams Enablement to help your organization plan a journey to modern teamwork. If you need the support, we’re here for you.

Plus, you’ll come to find that each person in your organization operates differently. Allow them to create their best and most productive work from home environments and offer help along the way. Hear out their business continuity concerns and support their new normal. This will enable your teammates to find the solutions that work best for them.

And as you move forward, remember that keeping open communication will be key during this time. Try to lead by example so that your teammates know you’re there to guide them and to talk to. By continuing to reinforce inclusion, checking in with employees, asking for new perspectives, and identifying any potential areas for improvement, you’ll be able to get your team back to being just as productive and collaborative as they were in the office.

Make the Most of Your Microsoft Teams Experience

Download our free eBook “Everyday Etiquette in Microsoft Teams” today to reach your full potential.

Request Your Free Copy Now
  • Unified Communications, Future Workplace, Remote Workplace Solutions
  • Microsoft, Teams, Office 365

Comment on this article

Leave a comment to let us know what you think about this topic!

Leave a comment

Related Articles

How to Cut Security Risks for Remote Workers
  • 28 October 2020
  • Bala Sethunathan
  • Managed Security, Cybersecurity User Awareness, Remote Workplace Solutions, Security, Cybersecurity
  • Remote Working, Work from Home

How to Cut Security Risks for Remote Workers

With the sheer number of new remote workers, staying secure at home has become a major worry for organizations. Learn how to cut back on security risks.

remote working
  • 15 October 2020
  • Alex Dalglish
  • Remote Workplace Solutions, Future Workplace, Digital Transformation, Reset and Thrive
  • Work from Home, New Normal, Flexible Work

Reset & Thrive Your Business Part EIGHT: The Remote Working Reset

How have organizations managed through the rapid IT and digital transformation sparked by COVID-19? Learn more in this summary of our latest webinar.

6 Exciting Meeting Features to Better Collaborate in Microsoft Teams
  • 15 September 2020
  • Erik Moll
  • User Productivity, Future Workplace, Remote Workplace Solutions
  • Microsoft, Teams, Modern Work, Collaboration

6 Exciting Meeting Features to Better Collaborate in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft recently announced new features for their collaboration platform, Teams. Here’s an overview of what they are and how to enable them.