The turbulent business environment of the past 5 months has likely left business owners feeling stressed and exhausted. The Covid-19 pandemic has presented an ever-evolving business landscape that has required businesses to continually adapt their offering and operations in response to ever-changing restrictions on working life.
For many businesses, this has resulted in a compromised service offering. Factors such as unfamiliar new ways of working and a reduced workforce have threatened operational capacity. As a result, it’s more important than ever that businesses level-up their productivity to maintain their service, remain competitive and even countenance the prospect of growth despite a difficult environment.
Let’s assume that you now have the basics of remote-working sorted; your team are comfortable working from home, have access to the resources and equipment they need and you’re confident that your data is secure. It’s now time to look at the tools that will let you extract every drop of value from the working day. Working flexibly has been on the rise for several years now, so thankfully the platforms that enable effective collaboration and workflow management have been a long time in development. In this article, we will look at a few of such offerings available through Microsoft 365. These affordable, accessible, and intuitive platforms will act as a springboard to your business’ productivity aims while requiring little investment in terms of time or money.
Innovate, perform, deliver – make you’re working week more fruitful with Collaboration and Task management solutions from Microsoft 365
Introducing Microsoft Teams
Microsoft’s workplace communication focal point, Teams is popular with remote and office-based workforces alike. If you are already a Microsoft 365 customer or if your team use the Office apps daily, then you really don’t have to look any further than Teams for your communication needs.
- An all-in-one communication platform. Teams have it all; instant messaging, video conferencing, scheduling capabilities and effortless document sharing and real-time editing thanks to deep integration with SharePoint and OneDrive. Microsoft Business voice even lets you turn Teams into your business’ phone system and the eagerly anticipated ‘lists’ app will help you organise work schedules, track task progression and more; all within Teams’ interface.
- Organise discussions with ‘Teams’ and ‘Channels.’ Teams let you assemble groups of employees for collaboration on specific topics. You can then subdivide discussion to focus on even more specific issues using ‘channels.’
- It’s intuitive. Launched in 2017, Teams was born in the age of ‘intuitive software,’ and it shows. There is a very little learning curve with Teams; your employees will be up to speed with most features in a few hours.
- Customise the experience with your favourite third–party apps. If you’re currently using a third-party productivity or workflow management app there is a good chance you’ll be able to bring it under the Teams umbrella. Compatibility with hundreds of popular apps such as ‘Zoom’ and ‘Asana’ means Teams really can function as your one and only communications hub.
- Peerless security and compliance capabilities. A core component of MS 365, Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility and Security platform lets you manage access, control document permissions, monitor online threats, secure your endpoint devices and much more. This empowering security platform coupled with the flexibility of Teams will let your Teamwork effectively while ensuring your digital assets remain secure.
Available with many Microsoft 365 subscriptions or as a standalone product discover why Teams is one of the world’s most popular collaboration platforms today!
Say ‘Hello’ to Planner
There are several workflow managements tools within the MS 365 landscape. Microsoft Project offers the most in-depth, feature-rich experience and at the other end of the scale you’ll find ‘To-Do,’ a more basic application that’s great for managing straightforward work tasks and personal errands. ‘Planner’ is situated between these 2 offerings and offers a good balance of features and ease-of-use; offering more features and greater insights than To-Do and while avoiding the learning curve that comes with the more complex Microsoft Project.
- Plans. Set up project sites called ‘plans’ and organise all tasks relating to a particular topic in one space.
- Tasks. Assign tasks to individuals or groups. Set start and end dates, attach a ‘priority’ status, add attachments, and add a detailed description so that your team know what they’re doing.
- Buckets. Buckets let you arrange and sort tasks in any way you want. You might want to gather all high priority tasks in a single place or move all completed tasks to one bucket.
- Chart, schedule and Board views. Planner features several ‘views’ that allow you to review task progression and look ahead to see what’s coming up. The ‘charts’ dashboard contains info pertaining to task progression; see at a glance how much progress your team are making. The ‘Board’ view displays tasks in their allocated ‘buckets.’ ‘Schedule’ view displays tasks in a calendar format, enabling you to schedule tasks well in advance. Filters let you view information relating to priority, task status, assignees and more.
Available to Premium, Business and Educational subscribers to MS365, you may already have planner available to you if you’re a 365 customer. Take this intuitive tool for a spin today and see if it could help you simplify your task management challenges.
Streamline scheduling with ‘Bookings,’ improve engagement with ‘Forms’ and keep the conversation going with ‘Yammer’
With so many peripheral apps complementing the ‘core’ services in the Microsoft environment you’re bound to find a solution to some of your business challenges with a little digging….
‘Bookings’ is an invaluable scheduling tool that takes the time-consuming legwork out of meeting scheduling. It lets you publish your timetable so attendees can select a time that suits, thus avoiding the tedium of lengthy email threads that arranging meetings can involve.
‘Forms’ is a simple survey generation application that lets you create and publish surveys, quizzes and polls. A great way to gauge customer satisfaction, test employee knowledge, drive engagement and much more.
‘Yammer’ Without the hubbub and camaraderie of the office environment, keeping spirits high and employees engaged while working remotely can be more of a challenge. Yammer functions as a social networking site for businesses; a great way to help employees connect and share news and updates.
How can I get the ball rolling?
As part of the government’s economic response to the Covid-19 pandemic, packages of grant funding are to be announced to help businesses make efficiency transitions. These grants of between £1000 and £5000 could help your business innovate and optimise its IT system, to drive efficiency and productivity gains using some of the ideas we’ve discussed above.
Struggling to find a solution that fits around your business?
At Cloudscape, we use our extensive experience to deliver custom-fit technology solutions to SMEs in London and the home counties. Technology should serve your business’ aims and aspirations, it shouldn’t be something to mould your operation around. We are experts in Cloud-computing and we know how empowering Cloud Services can be when leveraged correctly, so let us help you tailor Office 365 so that it works for your business and the unique challenges you face. Call us on 0207 952 8123 or send us an email email@example.com.