As we discussed previously, a fast approaching deadline for the LIRR and MTA to renegotiate their contracts threatens to shutdown one of the most popular commuter rail systems in the country. Being a resident of Nesconset, Long Island myself, I am none too keen on doubling my commute time by taking a crowded bus into Queens, nor do I see using up vacation days as a feasible option. In all likelihood I will find myself working from home or a café in order to avoid the effects of the strike.
Fortunately for me, working with a Microsoft Partner comes with a few perks to help out with this. Most notable is my access to Office 365, which provides me with the flexibility I need to facilitate telecommuting. So, let’s say it’s July 20th and no deal has been reached. What’s my day going to look like?
Well, I’d start off by logging into the online portal that houses web versions of all the programs I use. Its infrastructure is built upon Microsoft’s SharePoint Online service, which serves as a cloud storage site for our shared files and information. From there I can view the office’s schedule, respond to emails, and check in with my coworkers on Yammer, our private social network. Generally, the major downside of working from home is less communication between employees and employers, so I’ll need a convenient way to interface with them while I’m not in the office.
Using Lync Online, I am able to communicate just as easily as I normally would; I can video call to get face time with the people I work with, instant message if I need to multitask and type out longer thoughts, or voice call to discuss projects naturally. While the service acts as my main communication platform, Lync also stands as the heart of my collaboration through its universal integration with the programs I use.
For example, what if I need to pitch an idea to my boss? Due to Lync’s connectivity with Exchange Online I simply have to select his email to set up a call. Once we begin, I’ll upload PowerPoint slides into the conference for him to see and run through my presentation as normal. Using OneNote, I can even send talking points from my computer onto my phone to refer to as I speak. How about if I just needed feedback on a newsletter I’ve drafted in Word? Again, I can bring it just into the Lync client and receive input via instant message.
Overall, Office 365 offers a seamless transition from physical work environments to virtual ones. By closing this common communication gap with Microsoft Lync, I’ll have a convenient means to maintain my office presence without stress caused by the train strike.