With the uncertainty of Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the moment and a lot of organisations already implementing a work from home policy for the foreseeable future, as a business owner you may be thinking how you’re going to do this if the time comes? Despite it being mainly big brands in the news at the moment for sending everyone home, it is entirely possible for smaller organisations to do the same with only one main piece of software per person that costs less than £16 per user per month. So, we’ve highlighted the main areas we think you may be concerned about tackling with a work from home policy, and how they are covered with Microsoft 365.
Communication & Collaboration
I’m worried people will be delayed waiting for emails back and forth, rather than just meeting and chatting in the office.
Working from home doesn’t have to mean a loss in communication or collaboration. With Microsoft 365, you obviously get email that is available in both a web app accessed through the browser and on your desktop/laptop, so you can carry on using that as normal. However, the other great communication product included is Microsoft Teams, a product that connects your other apps into one platform with instant chat, video conferencing and in some cases – it can even become your telephony system. This is great as it gives you the option to either instant chat for quick updates, audio call or even video chat is if you are in the office, to keep people feeling connected while they are working from home. You can also add documents into Teams and instant chat or call as you co-author with a colleague.
Co-authoring is actually available across all the Office apps if the document is shared or saved in OneDrive or SharePoint, so you see your colleagues’ type and made edits in real time on a document you shared.
How will we get everyone’s documents home, and will we end up with 100 copies of each document across 20 USB sticks around the UK?
So, you’ve sorted your communications concerns out with Outlook and Teams, so now what do you do about all the documents staff need access too? With Microsoft 365 you get 2 different storage options – one individual and one company wide.
First there’s OneDrive where each person gets a 1TB of storage to load all their personal documents into, just like ‘My Documents’ on their local computer, and access them from any device through a browser. You can even open them in the local version of whatever programme you need (e.g. Excel) and work offline on edits if you have no internet access temporarily. They keep saving locally, then sync back online when you re-join an internet connection, so all copies are at the same stage if you access the file from another device later.
Then you have SharePoint, which is accessible by everyone, to keep all company documents in the shared storage space. You can create different sites within SharePoint with permissions for different teams, for example, a Sales site for all sales related content, Finance for finance or General for everyone. That way even if the whole company is logging in, an individual only see’s and has access to areas relevant to them. You can share documents from both these platforms with external users who may need to see them too; and utilise some of the amazing security features and licencing Microsoft has available too. You can set permissions to keep documents safe when being shared outside of the organisation, for example someone can view but not edit a document or they cannot forward on the link with anyone else. You can even set permissions to not be able to share anything externally, if you are concerned with the safety of your data or deem it not necessary.
Business Apps Access
Do I need everyone to bring in their laptops and install 2 copies of each programme on their home computers too?
Now everyone’s documents are safely stored in these cloud storage products, you need to be sure everyone can work on them and edit in the same way as they can in the office. Luckily, you get online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint with Microsoft 365, so you can keep on creating and editing documents without having to install a local copy of Office onto your home machine or laptop if the home working setup is only a temporary one.
However, if you would like to be able to open a document and edit it in the full version of Excel or any of the other Office apps – with Microsoft 365 licencing you get 5 copies of Office to download across 5 devices per person from the users portals. Therefore, you can have the same version of the apps you use at work on your home machine, using your work email to login and activate.
Devices & Phones
Not everyone has a Microsoft product, or even a desktop computer at home – how will this work with so many different devices?
Obviously, all this great remote working software and products won’t be viable without something to actually work on! And you may be concerned about all this Microsoft software compatibility with various devices? But do not worry – what’s great about Microsoft 365 is it’s available across multiple devices, including tablets and Mac and Apple products! Therefore, there should be a version of each product that is compatible with most devices’ users have, and if you need new devices to send people home with – we provide those as well.
Lastly, as we mentioned previously, with an add on to Microsoft Teams you can even turn the platform into your telephony system as well. All you need is a couple of headsets or wireless devices to match, and no more calling off a desk phone! Your users can make calls and conduct business off a company line, all through their laptop from the comfort of their homes.
As you can see, Microsoft 365 covers most of the bases when it comes to working from home, so it’s not just big businesses that will be able to carry on as usual with everyone working from home. If you are interested in implementing this software, give us a call on the number below or fill out the form. Licence purchases can be made remotely, and then it’ll be one less thing to think about when it comes to your business!