The COVID-19 crisis could impact people for months to come. This may be the perfect time to leverage Microsoft Teams capabilities and launch a remote workforce.
When communities face adversity, they pull together, and business leaders in areas impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic have moved thousands of employees to remote productivity by utilizing Microsoft Teams.
While scientists, medical experts, and government officials combat the spread of the sometimes deadly coronavirus, companies with Cloud-based systems were deftly positioned to pivot. Other organizations continue to reach out to managed IT specialists to implement social distancing safeguards by allowing everyday people to work from home.
According to reports from news outlets such as Reuters and CNBC, Microsoft Teams more than doubled its daily activity from 20 million in November to more than 44 million users on March 18. As the COVID-19 crisis ramped up, businesses shifted to more remote workforces, and the Teams app surged from 32 million to 44 million in just one week.
“COVID-19 has impacted the lives of people around the world. We believe it will be a turning point for the way people will work and learn,” Microsoft VP Jared Spataro reportedly said. “Our customers have certainly turned to Teams during this challenging time, and we’ve seen usage spikes in markets most impacted by COVID-19.”
The software giant has been quickly rolling out packages that deliver wide-ranging services and benefits. Some, according to Microsoft, include getting Teams free of charge when rolled into specific plans. Microsoft Corp’s stock has gone vertical, and many see remote workforces as the wave of the future. Ranked among the best work-from-home products, employers with an eye on improved employee safety and lower infrastructure costs are wise to consider short-term remote operations a test run. By engaging in proactive thought leadership, remote productivity can not only help remedy the COVID-19 crisis but also deliver long-term business benefits. That being said, there are preliminary measures to consider when implementing a seamless transition.
Not everyone has experience conducting projects from home. That generally means a home office might not be in place. But considering the COVID-19 pandemic could remain a health issue indefinitely, remote workers need a quiet space to concentrate and stay productive throughout the day.
Ask your remote workforce to promptly convert an existing space such as a breakfast nook, playroom, attic, or even the garage. Create a viable work area that includes a desk, comfortable chair, printer, and desktop or laptop that can handle the rigors of full-time use. Families may need to implement a no-go policy while parents are working unless it is an emergency. Working remotely can be something of a culture shift for loved ones as well.
Working remotely tends to disrupt routine communication. The chit-chat about business minutia and water cooler talk evaporates. To minimize the impact of not being able to provide progress reports while passing in the hallway or over lunch, Teams has some digital options. These include communicating your work hours by setting a status message in Teams for others to see. Also, posting updates, thoughts, and items you would have related in passing in the office proves helpful. Digital communication can be a tad unsettling until everyone adjusts. But then it becomes a lot like texting friends and family members, just on a different platform.
The initial use of Teams tends to move valued staff members in one of two directions. Either you find yourself intermittently circling back to conduct online tasks at scattered hours, or you hunker down and push through the workday. Before diving into Microsoft Teams to diligently perform company tasks, it’s essential to set specific work hours, breaks, lunch, and off-duty time. Balancing work and life can be a bit tricky, so consider writing out your weekly work schedule and posting it appropriately.
Although organizations will not necessarily be able to meet in person during the COVID-19 emergency, Microsoft Teams does have a solution. The program has a virtual meetings app that allows key stakeholders to schedule, invite, and conduct online communications in real time. Participants can join from an online calendar, cell phones, emailed links, or chat options.
Meetings are crucial during the health crisis because they allow leaders to deliver key messaging and reconnect people who ordinarily spent time together. The Microsoft meetings option helps bond the staff and keep everyone moving in the same direction.