Even before the coronavirus pandemic, remote working was on the rise. About 62% of workers between the ages of 22 and 65 worked remotely at least once a week.
When COVID-19 “stay at home” orders hit, businesses in New Jersey and the rest of the country had to scramble to put a makeshift plan in place with any home technology they could find to allow employees to work from home.
Figures aren’t in yet for post coronavirus remote workers, but due to state quarantines, it’s likely that a large majority of the population is now working from home. And the chances are high that many of them will never go back to the office.
There are multiple benefits that both employers and employees see from a work-from-home situation. Employers that had never considered allowing telecommuting prior to the pandemic, may have a different opinion of it now that they’ve seen it in action.
Some of the noted benefits from remote working are:
- 20 to 25% increase in worker productivity
- Employer savings on property expenses of $10,000 per worker per year
- 25% lower turnover rate for companies that allow telecommuting
- 85% of businesses that implement remote working say their company has become more productive as a result
Both the savings on overhead and the increase in productivity are strong drivers for many companies to keep remote working as the new norm after the pandemic lockdowns have passed.
Is your company ready and optimized for permanent telecommuting?
Cloud Tools to Facilitate a Productive Remote Workforce
If you are planning to permanently keep the flexibility of a remote workforce, whether part-time or full-time, you need to ensure you have the right technology support in place.
Tools you may have used “just to get you through” until business reopened, may not be the best to give you a permanent foundation for productivity, connection, and the ability to do everything you can do from the office (and more).
Microsoft 365 (formerly called Office 365) can help your business create a permanent cloud infrastructure that can make working from home just as fluid as working from the office.
What’s included in Microsoft 365?
The core elements of Microsoft 365 are designed to facilitate a workforce from anywhere. Features vary by subscription level, but here are the main tools:
- Office suite (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook)
- OneDrive for file storage
- Teams for collaboration & communication
- SharePoint for information sharing
- Exchange for cloud email, contacts, calendar
Here’s how each tool can help power a productive workforce, whether working from home, office, or a little of both.
Keep All Files Safe & Accessible
Document handling and security is important when you’re working with a remote team. If you don’t have protocols in place for where documents are saved, things can easily get out of hand and information can be lost or compromised.
Each user in OneDrive gets a terabyte of file storage space. OneDrive files also connect with the rest of the apps in Microsoft 365 for easy collaboration and file sharing.
Some of the ways OneDrive can help you ensure data security and accessibility are:
- All files stored in a central location
- Easy to backup files with a SaaS backup and recovery solution
- Files can be secured using MS document security policies
- Files are easily searchable using keyword search
- OneDrive can be used to automatically upload all files on a device drive or in a folder
Communicate Like You’re at the Next Cubicle
One of the biggest challenges of having employees working from home is keeping everyone as connected as they are when they’re working side-by-side at the office.
Microsoft Teams is a powerful centralized virtual work hub that is designed to facilitate team connections and collaboration. The interface allows employees to easily connect to colleagues, clients, business apps, and files.
Teams features include:
- Organized chat channels (based on things like departments, projects, etc.)
- Real-time messaging with controllable alerts
- Voice calling
- Video conferencing
- File sharing & real-time co-authoring
- Integration with multiple MS and 3rd party apps
Cloud Email/Contacts/Calendar at Your Fingertips
Exchange online in Microsoft 365 facilitates cloud-based email, contacts, and calendar. This allows employees to get the information they need on any device, no matter where they are.
They also won’t have to worry about emails being lost in the case of a hard drive crash, because they’re being stored in the cloud.
The integration of those three elements in Exchange incorporates time-saving features, such as the ability to add a contact from an email and click to schedule a meeting on your calendar and invite participants and create automatic email reminders.
Share Information More Effectively
Using Microsoft 365 apps, you can share information more effectively via the cloud. SharePoint, facilitates the creation of “mini-websites” that make sharing documents, videos, or other information more engaging and efficient.
For example, instead of sending a new employee an email with a bunch of new employee paperwork attachments that can easily get buried in an inbox, SharePoint allows the easy creation of an internal webpage that employees can access. This would allow them to download the paperwork and forms they need anytime, and that paperwork can be “living” (i.e. always updated with the latest version).
Create a Cloud Infrastructure That Works!
Two River Computer has Microsoft 365 experts that can help you create a cloud infrastructure that powers productivity and connectivity for your employees, no matter where they’re working from.
Contact us today to learn more and get started. Call 732-747-0020 or reach us online.