The pandemic has changed some of our work and home lives by unrecognisable amounts. The lack of time we had to prepare for remote working – as mentioned in the previous article – forced employers to adapt their working practices rapidly in a hope to continue business at a semblance of their normal capacity.
Businesses need to start getting full value from remote working tools. You must use the best tools at your disposal that will boost collaboration, communication, and productivity amongst team members – this is the only way to allow your team to perform to their full potential.
Many don’t understand quite how good remote working can be in regard to the levels of productivity you can achieve. The misconception is that it will help you to do the bare minimum to survive, when in reality it can revolutionise your team’s workday.
In line with the effort you are putting into improving your remote working infrastructure, the office setting needs to be utilised to its full potential too. Correctly implemented and maintained technology will bridge the gap between your remote working and in-house team, in the process making it impossible to distinguish between the two.
Introducing Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is by far one of the greatest additions to the Microsoft family of products. This tool is designed to improve the levels of communication, collaboration, and productivity that you and your team are able to achieve when working both remotely and in-house. Teams combines online meetings, formal chat, and informal chat into one easy to navigate business-enhancing platform. Regardless of its comparatively short life to date, Teams has grown to become the go-to tool for achieving productivity when working remotely – its daily average user count has reached an astounding 250 million people; all those people can’t be wrong, can they?
Teams’ collaboration tools explained
· Chat - Chat allows staff to hold informal conversations as they would at their desks in the workplace. Working from home – if you aren’t careful - can leave some members of the team feeling isolated, especially within the stressful world of today, so it is essential that they are kept in the loop.
· Co-authoring – Teams allows your team to co-author on documents simultaneously, meaning there will not be duplicates floating around the business causing confusion.
· Video conferencing – The video conferencing feature allows you to video call colleagues and clients for a formal or informal conversation. This feature can be particularly important, because client conversations that are usually held face to face, in a way, still can be.
· File sharing – File sharing makes it possible to share documents through Teams. All are saved within the Cloud and are secure.
· Fewer emails – In the workplace it's easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of emails you receive during an average workday. As conversations are now held and structured within Teams, there are no more email-upon-email staggered responses.
Teams is superb at assisting you in ensuring you get the most from remote working, but there are other things to consider about your practices that can improve collaboration. Let’s take a look at them now:
Remote working is rarely an overnight success and can, in fact, have the opposite effect on your levels of collaboration at first. However, we anticipate this with anything that is new in the workplace – it takes time for you and your team to familiarise yourselves with the way things need to be done in order to work as efficiently as possible. Give it time, allow it to become common practice, and it will soon create opportunities for others that are perhaps happier behind the safety of a computer screen. There are many team members that much prefer to be in the background and don’t want to be forced to speak in a group, but they have great ideas that will benefit the organisation. The safety a computer screen brings can be exactly what those people need to come out of their shells and share their ideas – a keyboard can be a powerful tool to those that struggle with interpersonal skills.
Always use correct grammar and full- length sentences with the right punctuation. Some have taken efficiency to a new level in the workplace, but in sacrificing quality for speed some have let their grammar slip, because the more comfortable you are on a platform or with a certain individual the more likely professionalism can go out the window. But, an incomplete sentence can have the opposite effect and end up wasting time just because the recipient may need to spend some time deciphering the meaning of your message. Just because you understand your shorthand doesn’t mean that your team does too, so always communicate concisely and clearly.
Remote working has the power to revolutionise your entire organisation when done correctly and with the right support around its use. Achieving value from your remote working tools is easier than you may have thought.
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