Enable Your Remote Workforce with Microsoft 365

The pandemic has impacted how most businesses operate and highlighted the pressing need to digitally transform our work environments. Software issues, exploitable security breaches, inadequate team collaboration, and poor cross-departmental file sharing and storage have been trending issues this past year. In 2021, businesses are still overwhelmed with assembling the tools and strategies to enable a remote workforce.  Whether your organization decides to work in-house, remotely, or hybrid, it must find a platform that allows you the flexibility to operate successfully. This article will provide you with a breakdown of some of the best productivity apps on the Microsoft 365 suite and ways you can use these tools to empower your remote workforce as well as maximum employee experience regardless of your teams’ locations. Let us get started:

Microsoft Teams: Hub for Team Collaboration and Communication

Microsoft Teams has been the most utilized digital workplace tool during this pandemic. It has provided most organizations with a cohesive communications platform and a way for teams to feel connected in these circumstances. It delivers an intuitive teamwork hub with chat capabilities, meeting options, file storage, and multi-app integration. Currently, Microsoft Teams is the leading corporate communication tool.   One of the most recent features that Microsoft Teams rolled out was its new 7×7 gallery meeting option. It is a wonderful way to unite a team and virtually meet regardless of the places, devices, or time zones they log in with. This large Gallery provides a new way to view video for up to 49 participants on a single screen (7×7). This feature rolled out to production with the unique multi-window experience. The new breakout room features allow meeting organizers to split up meeting participants into smaller groups to facilitate brainstorming sessions, workgroup discussions, or even better, team happy hours. Team leaders can choose to hop between breakout rooms, make announcements to all breakout rooms, and close the breakout rooms that bring everybody back into the central meeting.   Microsoft Teams has been the go-to for most organizations. However, administrators have been concerned about content sprawl, deployment, and chaos that comes with managing Teams. If you are interested in modernizing your entire Microsoft Team experience with advanced intranet integration, templating, governance, and adoption strategies, contact one of our experts now: Click here.

SharePoint Online – Kickstart Collaborating, Co-Authoring, and Adding Files Office

Are you looking to take your remote team’s productivity up a notch? Today, few tools are as powerful as SharePoint Online when it comes to communication and collaboration on an in-house to global scale. This platform has lots of options for regular and real-time co-authoring and adds files directly from your desktop. Once you drag and drop files into your SharePoint cloud, you can access a collaborative and secure environment. Also, real-time collaboration enables users to engage in a document together and track the position of other users in the document. You can see any changes as they occur, implement a task list and intuitive document library. Additionally, co-authoring allows you to apply any updates that other users make and be informed of any feedback/suggestion they may. Overall, SharePoint is an intuitive platform that allows multiple users to work on Word Documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations without conflicting with one another.

OneDrive for Business – Secure and Save All Your Work Automatically! 

One of the worst moments at work is losing a file completed, forgetting to save your work, or, worse yet, having classified information get leaked. Whether you want to make edits on your desktop apps or browser, OneDrive allows you to AutoSave all your document changes without you having to save manually. Each user has access to 1TB of secure storage for files and documents through this cloud-based storage app. OneDrive is the best location to store your Word, PowerPoint, and Excel files. Overall, OneDrive is the overarching data management system for Microsoft 365 and the glue that holds all Microsoft Office services together.

Forms – Weekly, Quarterly, or Annual Surveys

Millions of people had quickly shifted to using Microsoft Forms to create surveys, polls, and quizzes since March 2020. In response to the pandemic, this feature became generally available for Microsoft 365 commercial users. Administrators within organizations can now create unique surveys without sacrificing valuable productivity, time, and effort. By gathering data on your team’s responses, administrators can make better-informed decisions about their people’s wants and needs. Being away from the office has made it difficult for employees to clearly unite and voice the majority of opinions. However, using Microsoft Forms is one of the best ways that remote workforce leaders can see the bigger picture. With Microsoft’s recent updates on Forms, users can integrate Polls within Teams, automate questions into a form, and create a branded Form experience for employees. As your team looks to send out employee surveys or onboarding polls, Microsoft Forms is the perfect tool to use.

Office 365 App – Work Anywhere, Anytime, and on Any Device

While you are moving through your day, emergencies or quick work check-ins can occur while you are away from your workstation.  The Office 365 app solution allows you to access your work from any device. You can opt-in to view your SharePoint intranet, Outlook calendar/emails, or Teams channels. To do this, however, you need to download the Office 365 app to your devices. You can get the app from the Android or the iOS store. This will help you check your work and stay in the loop from any smartphone, tablet, iPhone, laptop, or PC.

Outlook – Email Efficiency and Calendar Awareness

Most users at organizations have had an increase in emails sent and received since kicking off their work-from-home journey.   Did you know that with Microsoft 365, you can reply to emails without opening them? The reading pane in Outlook allows you to preview an email and send your response to the Outlook window. Moreover, you can use a template to respond to emails with a single click. If you combine this feature with the conversations view, then you can see in an instant if you have responded to a specific email or not. Leveraging Outlook is an excellent way of reclaiming email time and focusing more on business operations.

PowerPoint – Upcoming “Virtual” Presentations 

In most organizations, leaders have their team present final projects, work recaps, or quarterly briefings. PowerPoint is one of the most popular apps shared and used during a Teams meeting. There is a reason when you bring up the share options, PowerPoint takes up more than a third of it. However, when you present a PowerPoint, you are shown three different options: Teams built-in share, Desktop window share, and presenter view share. You can either offer your entire screen, show the slides, navigate your desktop, or collaboratively present with your team. It is essential to know how to use each one and which presentation options best support you.

Excel – Shortcuts! Shortcuts! Shortcuts!

If you want to move more efficiently in your work, you need to leverage some shortcuts. Microsoft 365 has numerous shortcuts within Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel that you can use to make your work easier. For instance, when working in Excel, you can use keyboard shortcuts to make navigating spreadsheets much easier. Here is a list of Microsoft Excel shortcuts that will make your work easier: Microsoft Excel

Power Apps – Remote and Onsite Business Support

We know that many organizations have needed to bring essential workers onsite for business operations throughout the year. Under this pandemic, it has been tough to find affordable technology solutions.   Our team at Klarinet has helped many clients find ways to bring their essential workers onsite as safely as possible. We have developed a couple of Microsoft Power App solutions that equip managers and executive leaders with the ability to make real-time decisions and allow employees to enter the site safely.    One of our innovative solutions was a COVID-19 Health Declaration Power App. Through this Power App, employees could validate their health conditions, attach tests, and instantly send responses. The security or leader onsite then had access to a real-time workflow that recorded all responses and tests. If you are looking to bring back some employees onsite, contact our Power Apps experts: Click here

Power Automate – Automation is Trending 

Over the past year, Microsoft Power Automate has been integrating more deeply with Microsoft Teams to help you automate your work and be more productive. Automate repetitive manual tasks simply by following a couple of steps on your Power Automate app within Teams.  Microsoft Power Automate recently introduced features like triggering a flow from any message in Teams, new actions to create meetings, and mentioning colleagues. The new Power Automate app in Teams also lets you quickly overview the different flows associated with Teams. Process automation and workflow management have never been more convenient and straightforward. Learn more: here 

One Note – 2 Birds, 1 Stone

OneNote is one of Microsoft’s most underrated applications. It is an intuitive note-taking application that is connected to most of your Microsoft 365 business apps. Also, it supports a familiar interface that is already part of other MS Office tools, like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. All work and notes taken are automatically saved on the fly and shared with anyone at any time. One of OneNote’s best parts is that you can embed notes into Outlook invitations and emails at the click of a button. Save yourself from doing double the work and integrate your notes into your email, agenda, and meeting drafts.

Exchange – Online Protection Guaranteed 

Exchange actively protects your communications with built-in defenses against email threats. Centralize your internal emails so that they can be back up and secure. Exchange’s multi-layered anti-spam filtering comes with continuous updates to help guard against increasingly sophisticated spam and phishing threats.   With most organizations running remote or hybrid operations, hackers are finding new ways to steal classified information. Microsoft Exchange has found a way to secure internal leaks and offer users authentication options to secure their Exchange app further. Take advantage of all the ways Microsoft Exchange can make your team more productive.

Microsoft Groups

Enable Your Remote Workforce with Microsoft 365 

If there is any one lesson from COVID’s impact on business, it is that we should not procrastinate modernizing our digital tools. Learn to leverage the power that comes with Microsoft 365 suite to bring together your remote workforce now and in the future when complex hybrid work environments become the new normal. Now is a great time for several department leaders within your organization to come together and plan for the future. HR, Internal Communication, and IT Executives need to devise a holistic digital workplace strategy that puts employee experience, flexibility, and collaboration at the center of their business interest.    If you’re interested in enabling your remote workforce with Microsoft 365, please do not hesitate to reach out to us in 2021. For more insights and information or questions, consult Klarinet Solutions and talk to one of our experts so we can collaborate on modernizing your digital workplace, Microsoft 365, or SharePoint environment.

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