February 17, 2022
By Rhia Prajes
Last year, it was reported by LinkedIn research that 87% of employees would prefer to continue remotely or at least work remotely half of the time. While many businesses plan their return or readjust back to their in-person workplace, it is important that businesses still make a place for remote work within their organization to enable greater flexibility and employee happiness.
Despite its advantages, there are also common issues that remote workers may run into while outside the office, as studies have shown maintaining collaboration, communication, and personal organization are some of the biggest challenges to working from home. Using Microsoft 365, however, there are many ways you can stay on top of these factors when working at home. Here are a few of the most helpful options available.
- Creating work routines to set boundaries. Having a boundary between work and personal life, like setting up a morning routine, creating focus time and productivity habits, and wrapping up a workday can lead to a more effective balancing of work-life activities. Blocking out schedules for important and urgent tasks and making a to-do list straight from the emails help manage time and tasks. Creating interval breaks can help you recharge your energy, especially for deep work or sprints.
- Digital Assistant for personal productivity. Being able to connect with people faster and access information quicker can give greater advantages, especially when you are working remotely. Utilizing Digital Assistant to pair work and personal accounts across all devices can help to keep track of deadlines, meetings, and work updates. For example, you can use Cortana in Windows through type or spoken queries to set a schedule while you are on the go, open applications to save time, or stream files while doing a more important task. There are also other digital assistants available to choose from, like Google Assistant or Siri, which you can utilize depending on your needs, device compatibility, and application integration.
- Utilizing a digital whiteboard for meetings and brainstorming. One of the major benefits of working in person is the ability to jointly collaborate in a meeting room with a visual reference, such as a dry-erase board. Applying a Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams, however, can bring staff together for visual collaboration, especially during online brainstorming sessions or project planning. Users can easily add the Whiteboard app straight from any Microsoft Teams channels so the team can pick up the latest topics from meetings, check on agreed solutions from your problem-solving diagrams, and even update success metrics.
- Automate a simple process. Another way to improve the self-productivity of your team is to streamline tasks with Power Automate. It can help staff, even the non-developers, to easily automate repetitive time-consuming workflows, like saving email attachments to a folder or archiving old documents, through an easy-to-use drag and drop interface. In many cases, a prebuilt template may already be available to set up the process even faster.
- Mention the team’s collaborators. In recent years, many services outside of social media have made use of the @mention feature to get the attention of their team members. Within Microsoft 365, for instance, you can utilize this feature within Teams, Outlook emails, and even Office documents (Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, etc.) to quickly generate a notification without drafting an email or chat message to another user. By simply tagging them with an @, the alert will be automatically generated.
- Optimize the OneDrive Files-on-Demand feature to save device storage. With OneDrive Files-on-demand, staff can access all the files in OneDrive or SharePoint Online without having to download them and take up space on a user’s own device while syncing any changes made on the content if connected to the internet. Since OneDrive is always on, streaming files that are easily accessible and secured can be done by your staff whether they work the content locally when they have limited access to the internet or work on multiple devices. With this feature, users can enable 3 types of files when turning on the Files-on-demand feature, thus increasing productivity and efficacy.
It can be a challenging task to maintain balance in your organization when working from home. Aiming for both business sustainability and employee self-productivity is a shared responsibility of owners and the employees, and so is partnering to solve the common remote work problems we have today. Metro CSG, a Microsoft Gold Partner for Cloud Productivity and SMB Cloud solutions can help you achieve those goals. Contact us today!