Remote Working

How to Enable my Staff Team to Work Remotely?

Between 2012 and 2016, flexi-time has risen by 12.35 per cent; and data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) has revealed that the number of UK workers who have moved into remote-working has increased by nearly a quarter of a million over a decade.

Managing a remote team can be challenge and comes with its own set of specific considerations that an office wouldn’t usually have. The most difficult issue people raise with remote teams is trust. Senior managers need to plan and strategize how their workforce can evidence and deliver on working remotely

Senior Managers can help remote teams create seamless working relationships, respect, and mutual trust by leveraging leadership tools and technologies that help you cultivate this in your organisation. For small and medium businesses, having a remote workforce can make a lot of sense. You’ll widen your talent pool as you’ll be able to hire for skills over proximity. You’ll save money on paying for office space and all the trimmings.

But how can you easily ensure your remote workforce has the same dynamic and trust as an in-house team would? We will be sharing the most effective practice in making use of technology to build trust, connections, and empower your workforce to work remotely from their home office.

What to consider when remote working?

  1. Build the right tech stack.

Utilizing technology and software can support your team to respond efficiently to your customers/business partners, not matter where they work. Ensuring a reliable, secure, and well-equipped infrastructure is the foundation of seamless collaboration and effective remote work.

  1. Microsoft Office

Has been available for nearly three decades, with early versions combining Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as a bundle package. Since 2011, Office 365 has been available, differing from that antiquated package in two respects:

– Office 365 is licensed as a monthly or annual subscription rather than as a perpetual license.

– Office 365 provides a suite of online services, by combining best-in-class apps like Excel and Outlook with powerful cloud services like OneDrive (online storage), Microsoft Teams (replaced Skype for business) and Power Automate (workflow).

Microsoft Office Applications: Word, Teams, Sharepoint, Excel, PowerPoint and more.

Microsoft Office 365 is a cloud-based service that brings together the best tools for the modern collaborative approach people are required to work today. Office 365 is an integrated experience of apps and services, designed to help you pursue your passion and grow your business.

The added advantage is Office 365 enables your team to collaborate and share documents anywhere on any device. More importantly is updated monthly with the latest features and security updates, which is essential to comply with GDPR (managing client’s data and document records). With tools like voice, video, online collaboration tools, and file-sharing software, you can ensure your remote team members have an engaging and productive work experience.

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What do we Need to Consider to Enable Remote Working?  Become a Cloud-First Organisation

To be able to be flexible and access documents anywhere, the first step is become a cloud-first organisation. By moving to the cloud, not only does it mean your team members can easily access documents, data, and information from anywhere, but it also lets you use new cloud-only tech such as AI.

With Azure, you pay only for the cloud services you use, it means you save money on your operation costs, and scale as your business grows. Plus, Azure is built on a secure foundation, with built-in controls to customise your user and data management.

Security and Governance

It can be a fine balance between making sure your business is secure and compliant and the productivity and flexibility of your workforce, right? But it’s possible to be secure while letting your employees get on with business – you can even increase productivity!

Azure helps protect your data with built-in intelligence, controls, and services that work across identity, data, networking, and apps. The Azure Security Center helps further strengthen your security posture, giving you the ability to detect and protect against threats

Microsoft Teams is built on the Office 365 hyper-scale, enterprise-grade cloud, delivering the advanced security and compliance capabilities our customers expect. Additionally, Teams features two-factor authentication and encrypted data (in transit and at rest).”

Your business might require that you implement strict controls on how teams are named and classified, whether guests can be added as team members and who can create teams. You can configure each of these areas by using Azure Active Directory (Azure AD).

The TEAMS administrator who configures the security settings, and all the members of the affected groups, must have Azure AD Premium licenses assigned to them. So, unless you have AD Premium, you cannot control who creates groups.

With built-in security built into majority of devices and apps, cybersecurity will become so seamless your employees won’t even realise they’re being protected. And it’s easier for your IT team to manage, protect, detect, and respond.

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A Powerful Intranet

SharePoint empowers your business to collaborate, share information, and use applications to help make your employees more productive and transform business process.

You’ll have the ability to make sites for every project, team, or department. On these sites your teams can share documents, data, resources, and news securely and efficiently. It also has powerful search and intelligent ways to discover information and insights to guide action.

SharePoint is advertised as a document management and storage solution, but it offers a myriad of functionality beyond this that an experienced SharePoint developer can unleash.

One of the ways SharePoint can benefit your company is through enabling you and your employees to make better business decisions. You can do this through SharePoint’s Performance Point Services, which are designed for monitoring and analyzing business performance.

Using SharePoint lists and libraries alongside Microsoft Flow and PowerApps, you can easily create rich experiences with forms, workflows and customise apps. This means you can simplify and transform processes, helping accelerate productivity.

And when you create a SharePoint and document library, you can immediately make a space for it on Teams (and vice versa), making it even easier and quicker to collaborate.

Free Version of Microsoft Teams:

Microsoft has responded to the recent health crisis and the possible requirement for the increased number of businesses requiring staff members to work from home, by releasing its paid collaboration tool, Microsoft Teams, free for six months.

There has been a free version of Microsoft Teams available since 2018, but the company reserved certain functions for its paid version, available with a license. According to JP Courtois, Microsoft’s executive vice president and president of Microsoft global sales “It’s some of those paid features that will now be made available to customers for free for six months with a new license. This is in response to the need for a solution like Teams as employees increasingly work from home, self-isolating themselves from the coronavirus, especially in Asia.The free Teams trial is actually part of a new six-month Office 365 trial for enterprises (an “Office 365 E1 trial,” specifically),

According to a Microsoft representative. It includes “full meetings, collaboration, and workflow capabilities. At Microsoft, our top concern is the wellbeing of our employees and supporting our customers in dealing with business impact during this challenging time,”

Microsoft said in a statement. “For many individuals and organizations, Microsoft Teams video-conferencing, chat and collaboration are playing an important role in helping people continue to work and collaborate. By making Teams available to all for free for six months, we hope that we can support public health and safety by making remote work even easier.”

There are still some features not included in the FREE version, see below for a summary.

– Online Collaboration Tools to Manage Remote Teams Easily

– Microsoft Video Calling – TEAMs

41 percent of remote workers in the Microsoft survey strongly favoured video conferencing, and it’s a great way to save travel time and costs to bring people together for team meetings.

Video conferencing tools like Microsoft TEAMs let your remote workers see each other face-to-face, get a feel for personality and mood, pick up on body language nuances and intonations, making it easier to share ideas, have tough conversations, and collaborate.

Click here to learn about Microsoft TEAMs and how we can support your business with remote Virtual Support or Virtual online Microsoft TEAMs training.

Instant Messenger

Email is a great tool to communicate, but did you know that while employees spend half the day dealing with emails, only 14 percent of them are actually relevant?

For remote teams, a great way to have those quick conversations is via instant messenger. Whether it’s a quick question to do with work, or replacing those morning tea kitchen chats, it’s a great way to have those spontaneous chats that often happen in a traditional office space on the fly.

Dolphin Networks uses Microsoft Teams to stay in touch remotely with our clients, business partners and suppliers. “I communicate with people in the office and remote locations differently with Microsoft 365,” says Sukh Kanwar, Head of IT Manager at Dolphin Networks. “Instead of long email chains we can have a group conversation on Teams that is instant and stored for easy retrieval. I love how we can link Twitter feeds into Teams to keep on top of the latest highlights of our offerings and customer feedback.”

How to collaborate on documents?- Shared workspaces

If your team is working remotely you will want to require them to collaborate on documents and processes. This, of course, can be done via email, but version control will soon become a confusing mess.

This is where shared workspace come in such as Teams, or SharePoint. By giving one central location that everyone can access, no matter where they are, to work on the same files in real time – and see what others within the team have actioned and completed – you can maintain version control and simplify the creation process.

A Client of Dolphin Networks in central London, were struggling with their remote desktop system. It was prone to delays and workers struggled to collaborate and be a part of the company. This all changed when they moved to Microsoft 365.

“People were able to share documents easily and edit online without version control issues. Our internal collaboration pain points disappeared,” said Head of Digital Transformation “People can work from anywhere without issues.”

LiveTiles ‘Benifits of Play in the Workplace’ Podcast

Here is a fantastic podcast by our partners LiveTiles. This podcast requires you and your coligues to play a card game to discover what parts of your intelligent digital workplace are missing and how to be more productive through technology. This podcast is available on Apple Music, Spotify and Google Play.

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