In our last blog , we spoke a bit about the working from home movement that has grown over the past few months (and a lot about Teams Live Events). But some organisations may still be planning on heading back to the office. Some people are loving the smart shirt and tie, comfy shorts and slippers approach to working-from-home; whereas some organisations have realised WFH just isn’t sustainable for their business . There is also the possibility that some organisations have people who want to work from home, and other people who are missing the professional environment of an office, which is also totally understandable.
Obviously, the transition back to the office won’t be a cut and dry process with all the new considerations post-COVID This is particularly true for organisations based in densely populated areas, or who have lots of essential staff/employees that need to be in the office. We’ve had a few cases of customers like this, so we thought we’d take a look at the whole of the Microsoft 365 Suite, some of the essential apps, and how they can assist the transition back and support new hybrid workplaces.
Staying Secure & Prepared while Splitting your Time
Let’s first talk about people who might split their time between the office and their home. At TechQuarters, we outgrew our traditional office; yet while our infrastructure is now fully Cloud-based, we still have a flexible shared workspace in a very well connected part of central London, meaning that we have a location for those of us who occasionally need a physical office, and also for physical meetings.
If this is your setup as well, you probably have a BYOD arrangement. To make the most of this we would recommend using Windows Virtual Desktop . This cloud solution allows you to load the Windows desktop onto any supported device remotely. What this means is that a personal, unsecured laptop can become a professional device with industry-grade security in a manner of minutes. While many had no choice but to use personal devices that did not have the necessary security, that is a risk you no longer need to take with working from home thanks to WVD.
On the other hand, it may be that there are some aspects of your job that require you to use a desktop or workstation, and other aspects that can be undertaken on a simple notebook or even a tablet. This may be the reason that you split your time between the office and your home, and in this situation, you need to access everything you need for work on all devices, which of course means you should be using SharePoint and OneDrive. This simplest explanation of these two products is that OneDrive is your personal online document / file storage; and SharePoint is company wide and where you put files and folders that several people need access to at all times. Lastly, to be sure everything runs smoothly for both home and office based users, you may want to look into an IT Support package that covers both these needs.
Working with Permanent Remote Workers
At TechQuarters, we’re a global company so have a lot of people working in a lot of different places. If you’re going back to the office, but your colleague is not, you will need to have instant and versatile communication with one another, and in our opinion, you won’t get any better than with Microsoft Teams. Integrated with a lot of Microsoft’s best products – like SharePoint, OneDrive, and the Office Suite – it’s the communication and collaboration platform that suits all of your needs.
Adding Office apps and SharePoint to a Team
When considering returning to the office post-COVID, it is important to consider your strategy; and Microsoft has enabled businesses to develop data driven strategies with their Power Platform.
If you are unaware of Microsoft’s Power Platform, it is an excellent trio of products: Power Automate, PowerApps, and Power BI. With PowerApps you can create custom apps without knowing any code languages. With Power Automate, you can automate everyday user processes to streamline your workflow. With Power BI you can easily interpret huge databases; you can generate insights from fields of data – for example, site traffic, customer trends, months with high or low sales, etc. – and present them visually for your whole organisation to see.
You can see already how one might utilize these tools to inform a companywide strategy; and Microsoft have even developed a package of applications made specifically for organisations returning to work in the safest way possible, post-lockdown.
Deploying the Return to Work solution with Power Platform
With this solution you get the Return to the Workplace app, the Location Readiness app, and the Facility Management app. These apps allow organisations to ascertain, based on COVID infection rates, whether a location is ready to be re-opened to employees. If your workplace, for example, has a limit on personnel, you can use the Return to the Workplace app to get a Day Pass for your workplace; and if you suspect you may have been exposed to some with COVID-19, your case can be managed using the Workplace Care Management app.
When you, as an organisation, are approaching the return to work, you have at your fingertips a wealth of tools to intelligently return employees to the office, without having to compromise their health and safety, or their device and data security. We at TechQuarters believe that a new kind of hybrid workplace is on the horizon, where flexibility and safety is the key. We’re excited to make this new type of workplace not only work for ourselves, but also for our customers.