It seems like every week that goes by, more organizations – including the Canadian federal government – are considering remote work in their long-term plans.
One of the keys to this shift in approach is technology. While organizations were once limited in their ability to offer staff a reasonable remote work option, that has changed with the release and adoption of solutions such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
Chalk it up to our firm’s focus on change, but we’ve always been early adopters of new technology, particularly tools and resources that promote communication and collaboration – the lifeblood of successful change outcomes.
Since its launch, we’ve been big supporters of Microsoft Teams because of its array of useful features, including its ability to provide real-time collaboration and file sharing.
Due to these features and many more, we have also promoted the use of Microsoft Teams with the clients we work with. It’s become such a successful collaborative tool that we have eliminated the use of emails (yes, really!).
We’ve noticed with interest that the adoption of Microsoft Teams has skyrocketed with the number of daily active users rising from 13 million in July 2019 to an estimated 75 million in May 2020.
Utilizing the full benefits of this solution isn’t as simple as signing on, though. It requires a commitment by organizations to arrange training and support, along with a degree of patience.
For organizations looking to enhance their employees’ work-from-home experience, here are some recommended measures to set your organization up for success.
Even though change is constant – particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic – the reality is many people don’t like it. This applies in particular to technology.
To ease this transition, we often use a multi-phased approach that begins with hands-on training and demonstrations to help people become more comfortable with its various features.
We often customize the sessions to demonstrate how staff in different business areas – such as sales, engineering, operations or marketing – can use specific features of Microsoft Teams to enhance their jobs. And for executives, we usually provide separate “white glove” sessions that include their indispensable executive assistants.
Following the training sessions, we usually create a feedback loop to provide additional resources to keep the momentum – and collaboration – going.
One of the nifty features of the product is a “digital badge” that can be awarded to staff who serve as early adopters and enthusiasts during a rollout. These “champions” can serve as mentors to staff following training sessions, ensuring that the learning and enthusiasm for the technology continue well into the future.
Another benefit of this badge is that it provides them with the opportunity to network with other champions across the organization, providing valuable feedback that can be shared with a broader audience.
Teams also has another badge that staff can award to their colleagues as a form of praise. It’s an excellent way to acknowledge and recognize team members – particularly while working remotely.
Build virtual bridges
For organizations with multiple operating areas, branches and even time zones, creating cohesive units can be challenging during normal times. The sudden shift to a work-from-home scenario has only served to amplify this.
That’s why we make an effort to promote the value of the chat and channel features to help individuals stay connected to their colleagues and clients. It allows them to complete work in real-time by chatting and working on the same files.
The suite also provides support for live and streamed events to reach internal and external audiences of various sizes – all while using a product that offers enhanced security compared to other products, ensuring your discussion points and documents are safe and secure.
In this wired world of ours, individuals rarely have a single mobile device (a recent Variety article reported U.S. households own an average of 11 connected devices!).
The benefit of Microsoft Teams is that the single interface allows the flexibility of using different devices, including laptops and mobile phones.
Equally important is that it allows users to quickly integrate hundreds of third-party apps, including Zendesk, Salesforce, Asana, and Polly – while offering controls to protect sensitive information from being shared or leaked.
A further benefit is that it allows you to easily migrate your existing messages and files to Microsoft 365, using Microsoft Exchange for emails and SharePoint for files.
Highlight best practices
While the quick shift to remote work has raised security concerns, less discussion has focused on best practices that are often taken for granted in an office environment.
Just like emails and other correspondence, content on Teams – including documents or discussion threads – are subject to various formal information requests, including government representatives (such as Freedom of Information).
As a result, all training sessions should reserve some time to review and reinforce a set of best practices.
Whether it is enhanced convenience, collaboration or functionality, technology can make our life easier and more productive. That’s more important than ever as dens, couches and kitchen tables have become the new workspaces for many around the world.
While it can’t replace in-person team huddles, coffee chats, or client meetings, a product such as Microsoft Teams can create a virtual hub that can provide an excellent alternative – now, and in the future.
Are you having a tough time adopting Teams across your organization? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn ways to help empower your transition.