The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is encouraging citizens to find out how their workplaces and schools are planning for the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, including options for working from home.
What would you do if tomorrow you were unable to go to your office?
We are all reading about disruptions in Asia, and now in Europe due to the current outbreak but it does not take an epidemic, or disaster, to break our normal routines. Kids being sick, cars breaking down, or the occasional snowstorm, can affect how, or if, we are able to work from our offices.
Back in 2015, Microsoft reported that 37% of workers telecommuted. Five years later, with new collaboration tools and better technology, that number will only continue to increase:
“Companies occupy multiple locations, and business partnerships span the globe. In addition to physical separation, teams in the same company are separated by projects and departments. These barriers, unfortunately, lead to communication silos, furthering separation and limiting teamwork and collaboration.” - The Microsoft Team
Office 365 offers the tools to allow you to remain connected and productive. Anywhere you have access to the internet and a computer (or even a cellphone or tablet) can become your office.
Access to Outlook, Office Applications & Your Critical Files Online
Most people today have access to their email when out of the office, but what about your critical files and applications? With Office 365 you have the ability, through applications like OneDrive and SharePoint, to securely access your files from any location.
Many line-of-business applications, like QuickBooks and Salesforce, have moved to online versions that can be accessed directly through Office 365. Even if you do not have access to Office applications like Word and Excel at your home or temporary Office, online versions of the entire Office suite are available through Office 365.
In February, 2020, Microsoft released their new Office 365 app for iOS and Android. The new app combines all the features of Word, PowerPoint and Excel in addition to multiple mobile-oriented features.
Access to your Co-workers through Teams
Access to your applications and data is only one part of the puzzle. To be truly productive you need a way to stay connected to your co-workers and clients. That is where Microsoft Teams comes into play.
Teams is a complete office communication and video conferencing tool available at no additional charge through Office 365. With Teams you have the ability to chat, call and video conference with your clients and co-workers through a single application that is fully integrated with your Office applications, including Outlook.
Teams offers you the ability to share and collaborate on a document or spreadsheet with coworkers and other team members while working remotely.
Think about the ability to start a simple chat, bring a few more people into the discussion, move the chat to an online call, and then open a video-conference where you can share your screen and documents, all within the space of a five-minute work session. That is the power of Teams.
Teams is available across multiple devices and operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Apple iOS, Android and even Linux. If you have a connected device, you can work and collaborate through Teams from wherever you have access to the Internet.
As you plan for how to best meet the growing fear around the Coronavirus outbreak, Office 365, combined with Microsoft Teams, should be part of your corporate (and personal) disaster prevention plan (even if the disaster turns out to only be the common flu).
Office 365 & Working Remotely in Real Life: My Experience Working as an EMS First Responder
Some people may wonder if Office 365 can allow you to work, and be productive, in a “real life” situation. I can say without doubt that it can, based on my own personal experience.
As the Head of Service for a small, rural rescue squad, I “work” remotely two days per week. I manage the Squad and respond to 911 calls every day, while at the same time continuing my “real job”, by assisting my clients and prospects with Office 365 adoption and training.
Using Office 365 allows me to easily stay connected with my KnowledgeWave colleagues and clients. I don’t have to worry about syncing or copying files before I head out since I know my critical files are always securely available online.
My inbound office phone calls through Teams follow me wherever I may be, including in the back of the Rig (Ambulance) to my cell phone. Speaking of voice calls, using Teams as your primary office phone system is a great option for smaller organizations.
The ability to easily share my screen and applications allows me to discuss and provide a complete demonstration of our online Office 365 and Professional Development training portal, the KnowledgeWave Learning Site, to new clients from my remote workstation or iPad.
With Office 365 I already have my “disaster recovery” plan in place, and I test it every week when I work remotely.
Many large companies, during this heightened time of concern, are having staff work from home to test their own disaster plans. If your company has not, I would encourage you to consider completing a real-world test:
How would your staff communicate, collaborate, and stay productive if they are unable to work in their traditional office or setting?
Office 365 & Microsoft Teams is the answer.
Related Blog Posts:
- Microsoft Teams Training Plan & Materials
- How to Rapidly Deploy and Adopt Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft Teams: Compliance
- Enabling "Hidden" Teams in Microsoft Teams
- An End-User Introduction to Microsoft Teams