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Covid-19 and the mad rush to work from home

The advent of Covid-19, a Coronavirus, is accelerating a trend we have been seeing with our clients for many years.  Employers are seeking out the best person for the job regardless of where they may be located.  Many of our clients have employees scattered around the country, and some are using people resources from around the world.  The Covid-19 virus is causing our clients with employees still going to the office to rethink how they do business so they can support remote workers.

Microsoft has two key technologies that can facilitate the move to a remote work force.  SharePoint when combined with Teams are enabling technologies for a remote workforce.  Office 365 SharePoint provides for structured and secure document storage in the cloud.  SharePoint allows for the customization of the landing pages that can include web parts for viewing and managing content.  Built-in web parts allow access to calendars, contacts videos, documents, projects, and Microsoft Teams.  SharePoint provides a structure for storing documents and corporate data that can be leveraged with Microsoft Teams.  With the proper credentials, Office 365 SharePoint may be accessed by an employee anywhere at any time, facilitating remote workers.

Microsoft Teams provides an important part of the remote worker puzzle.  How do you make a remote worker feel like part of the company?  Teams has built in features that foster employee collaboration and connections.  At its core, Teams is a text messaging system that allows 1 to 1, 1 to many or many to many conversations online.  In its early days, Microsoft integrated Skype for Business into Teams.  By building Skype into Teams, employees could make point to point phone calls between staff members through their computers.  This capability by-passes traditional phone systems and allows staff members to talk to each other with one click.  Teams also supports video calls.  The ability to see your counter-part provides a staff connection that texting and hearing a person’s voice cannot.

Teams also has a powerful meeting capability for staff members to collaborate.  It is easy to schedule and run a meeting.  A meeting can either be created through Teams, or Microsoft Outlook.  Once on the schedule, team members simply click on a “Join Now” button to enter the meeting.  These built in features replace the need for Webex or GoToMeeting for internal meetings.  Once in a meeting, Team members will have the ability to share their screens for instant collaboration.  The screen sharing can either be a presentation, or a document everyone is trying to get finished for a deadline.  Either way, the ability to meet and work in Teams is game changer for remote workers.

Teams has integrations to SharePoint and many other Microsoft tools like Yammer, Planner, OneNote, Power BI, and Stream.  These applications can be added to Teams giving Team members quick access to other Microsoft tools.  Microsoft has also opened Teams up to allow for third party integrations including from Adobe, Salesforce, Zoho and Survey Monkey.  Microsoft is investing in Teams and sees it as a key technology for its future.

Any company considering expanding their usage of remote workers in reaction to the Covid-19 virus, should include SharePoint and Teams as part of the solution.  Beringer Technology Group is recognized by Microsoft as a leading developer of SharePoint sites and can help guide companies to leveraging Microsoft technology to support their remote workers. Contact us today with any questions you may have.