The Covid-19 Crisis has brought us many challenges, not least of which is the vast number of people now working from home on a daily basis for the first time.
They’ve got a laptop and half decent WiFi but, is that enough? How do you keep your employees connected, your work flowing and your culture alive when physical connection is impossible and face-to-face meetings have fast becoming a thing of memory.
At Silicon Reef we have been running a work-from-anywhere approach for years. But, even to remote working experts like us, this situation is quite different. All our core functions are now running in satellite offices of one, any opportunities for getting together to ‘touch base’ have disappeared for the foreseeable, and even the concept of a physical head office is a thing of the past – for now.
It’s vital that your employees have all the tools to do their job at home. This means they need to be able to work productively and creatively, communicate regularly and securely, and have access to the documents and training they need to move projects forward.
Microsoft Teams is one of the most popular collaboration tools, currently enabling colleagues across the globe to stay connected and productive. But, unlike some of the other free download products, Teams does far more than just enabling multi-user video conferencing. Teams allows users to securely share and collaborate on document creation, message and chat within channels and projects, and, of course, meet and share screens to stay connected. Since Teams brings line of business applications into the app, people will now find themselves working in Teams majority of the time. Starting your day in Outlook will be a routine of the past.
We all know that, along with other more basic needs like loo roll, pasta and Netflix, it’s social contact that we are craving the most in these times of near lockdown. At Silicon Reef, as at Microsoft themselves, all our meetings are now Teams meetings. We dress properly from the waist up and use video as a matter of course, deploying background blur to remove the distractions of our dodgy wallpaper and unruly children. Of course, we are all looking forward to Custom Backgrounds – coming in Q2 2020 – where we can disguise the study walls or kitchen cupboards as a Saharan desert or tropical rainforest!
With Teams you can give your employees the scope to self-serve, setting up teams and Groups to generate new projects, spark new ideas, or simply connect on a personal level.
If you can continue, why stop? One retail IT director has told us that Teams has truly come into its own in this crisis. Having had Teams in place for over a year but only using it in patches across the business, the tool is now being used in earnest across the whole organisation. From board meetings to daily development stand-ups this medium sized retail business – which continues to operate its online offering – is using Teams to keep employees connected, and allowing them to continue to run a limited roster of projects.
Your business will continue long after the lockdown measures have been lifted and you don’t want to lose any of the great work that’s been going on due to everyone working from home. Because Teams is your service and your platform, functions such as the ability to record meetings, refer to and bring up key documents, and the scope to tie audio, video and text conversations back to business functions, projects and individuals, create a record for the future and ensure nothing is lost.
Even the most robust of businesses is tightening the purse strings today. With no predictable end in sight for temporarily-closed or severely limited businesses, adapting to the new ways of working needs to strike the right balance between selecting an appropriate solution and keeping spend to a minimum.
At time of writing, in response to the increased need for employees to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, Microsoft are making a free 6-month Office 365 E1 Trial, including Microsoft Teams. Or, you might want to dive straight in and sign up for Teams Freemium if you’re an SMB.
It’s no surprise that with all this flexibility, scope for connection, and security, Teams usage has spiked considerably with – as of 19th March – over 44 million daily users, a growth of 12 million from the previous week, when social distancing measures were deployed in earnest across the world. And within that period – from the 12th to 19th March 2020 – users generated over 900 million meeting and calling minutes on Teams each day.
So, are you ready to get started with Teams?
Let us know if you need help getting started with Teams, or if you have reservations and want to know more.