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Build a Successful Remote Workforce with Microsoft Office 365

Updated: Dec 9, 2020

What a Successful Remote Workforce Should Look Like: Building Your Remote Workforce with Microsoft Office 365, Teams, Power BI, SharePoint, and More

There’s no doubt about it: these are unusual times.

Up until just a couple of months ago, only a small number of businesses had transitioned their workforce to 100% remote. Many companies had just a handful of employees working from home, while others still had their entire staff working in traditional office spaces.

But now, remote workforces have become absolutely essential to the success of any organization. And for organizations that have been forced to suddenly transition their employees to working remotely, it’s essential to have the right digital tools.

These digital tools need to be cloud-based, allowing for flexibility, off-site meetings, and remote access to important documents and data. All of this remote activity has to take place in an environment that allows for enterprise-grade security and full compliance.

How can your organization achieve this? What digital tools do you need? Below, we’re going to take a look at what a successful remote workforce should look like, including the most important cloud-based software solutions to help your business achieve its goals.

Do you need assistance transitioning your employees to working remotely? JourneyTEAM can help. We can also offer your organization six months of free access to Microsoft Teams: click here to learn more.

Accelerating Your Workforce with Microsoft Office 365

Organizations in every industry are currently faced with major challenges. But these challenges also present organizations with an opportunity to adopt cloud-based solutions, streamline routine processes, and improve efficiencies wherever possible. All of this can be achieved with the right digital tools from Microsoft.

Microsoft Office 365’s enterprise-level solutions are extremely comprehensive, and covering every single feature in a single blog would be impossible. Instead, we’re going to take a look at what a typical day would look like for an employee who’s using some of the essential tools in the Office 365 suite. This will provide an overview of some of the capabilities that Microsoft’s cloud-based solutions offer, giving you a sense of exactly what a successful, remote-based workforce would look like from day to day.

Office 365 Groups

Before going any further, it’s important to understand that a successful remote workforce in Office 365 is grounded in the creation of Office 365 Groups. These collaborative groups are the foundation for group task management, reporting, note taking, video streaming, document storage, video conference meetings, and more.

When you first set out to adopt Microsoft 365’s cloud-based technology, an essential first step involves setting up various Office 365 Groups for your employees and turning on and off the appropriate apps for those individual groups. If you don’t devote adequate time to developing this Group-based architecture, you’ll struggle with successfully adopting Microsoft’s cloud-based solutions and getting your remote workforce up and running.

A Typical Start to the Day for a Remote Employee with Microsoft 365

Imagine a remote employee sits down at their laptop to start their day. They begin by launching Microsoft Edge, which automatically takes them to their organization’s branded intranet homepage.

From here, they can click the Microsoft Apps launcher in the top left corner of their screen. This will open a menu that displays all of the Microsoft 365 Apps that are available to them -- something that your organization can customize based on your licensing and which apps you’ve made available to your employees.

You can also customize the navigation on your company’s intranet page, giving your employees quick access to the most important tools and tasks that are specific to your organization. This is by far one of the most effective ways to ensure widespread adoption of cloud-based tools amongst employees.

Your organization’s intranet page can feature news articles as well, along with useful tools such as a feedback submission form for the intranet team. This allows employees to make suggestions or point out necessary corrections as needed. Team members can also get an overview of upcoming company events. They can then add an upcoming event to their calendar with just a couple of clicks.

When it comes to data and reporting, you can give employees access to a Report Center right from their intranet homepage. It’s easy to populate this Report Center with live data via integration with Power BI. Employees can drill down into this data and view full interactive reports.

From your company’s intranet page, employees can also search for what they need. When they choose to search at the organization-wide level, they’ll get results from across the entire organization as well as from their own personal OneDrive. At the same time, however, an individual employee will only be presented with search results that they have access to based on sharing and group settings. This ensures that employees can find what they need, and don’t end up sifting through search results for an important document that includes data they can’t actually access.

Employee Collaboration with Microsoft 365 SharePoint

As you can see, it’s possible to give your employees access to all of the tools and data they need directly from your organization’s intranet page. But how do employees actually start to collaborate when working remotely with Microsoft 365’s cloud-based tools?

Imagine an employee who works in human resources. From your organization’s intranet homepage, they select Human Resources, which takes them to the HR secure collaboration space.

This takes them directly to the HR department SharePoint group collaboration site. At this point, the employee is no longer on the public intranet: they’re now logged into a secure HR-only group.

Here, they can see important HR-related news, a list of their fellow HR team members, the HR-related document library, team calendar, and action items that they need to attend to. There’s also a drop-down menu available which contains all of the relevant Microsoft 365 applications that your organization has made available to HR employees.

SharePoint makes it easy for employees to share important information and news items. Before SharePoint, an employee might have sent a group email containing an important document or announcement -- but this approach to information sharing is problematic. New employees can’t search their inbox for emails that were sent out before they were hired, and searching through your Outlook inbox is far from an efficient way to retrieve important information. Instead, employees can make news posts in SharePoint with direct links to data, documents, and reports.

From their SharePoint department page, an employee can quickly access Microsoft Teams. Within Teams, the employee can send chat messages to fellow team members, access shared documents, and search through their conversation history as needed. They can also review the General feed for the teams they’re a part of, giving them a quick overview of important news and developments. Joining meetings from within Teams is easy, too, thanks to the calendar integration.

Learn More About How to Set Up A Successful Remote Workforce

There’s a lot more that we could discuss here when it comes to setting up a successful remote workforce within your organization. We’ve put together a comprehensive webinar that covers all of the essentials for working remotely with Office 365, including:

● Essential digital tools in the Microsoft cloud environment, including Office 365, Microsoft Teams, Exchange, Power Apps, Azure, Dynamics 365, and more

● Best use cases

● How to increase user adoption

● Best practices for your remote workforce

● Pitfalls to watch out for

● Meeting your organization’s needs with Microsoft Office 365

● Minimizing user disruptions for a remote workforce

● How to migrate your data successfully

Transition Your Remote Workforce to Microsoft 365

Do you need help getting started with Microsoft Office 365? JourneyTEAM is here to assist you. Right now, we can help your organization get six months of free access to Microsoft Teams. To learn more, click here.



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