Just because your colleagues work in different locations, it doesn’t make them any less of a team.
But in the absence of tea rounds and face-to-face morning meetings, remote workers need to find other ways to get things done.
Your tech is a major ally here. Having the right programmes in place can help smooth out your employees’ relationships and even help them to bond.
Try these to bring your remote team closer.
Share files in the cloud
Being able to share files among remote colleagues in the cloud lets everyone see what’s happening, saving your team from miscommunications and lack of productivity.
You can post, send, edit and add notes to shared documents and spreadsheets.
There’s less messing around with USB sticks and possibly losing them, helping keep your team on good terms. It’s also safer for files to be in the cloud rather than carrying it around in your bag or pocket.
‘Being able to share files among remote colleagues in the cloud lets everyone see what’s happening’
One example of a file sharing space is SharePoint which is available on Microsoft Office 365. It stores your files and gives you the ability to search for documents. Combined with its learning technology, it’s much easier and faster to find exactly what you’re looking for. Each person’s contact card will tell you who they are and what they’re working on.
It doesn’t have to all be about work either. SharePoint lets you create news posts on the go and share your experiences with your co-workers to connect with them.
Organise your team in an effective and collaborative way
You may not use pen and paper as much anymore, but important things still seem to get lost. Being able to organise your notes means that you’re always clued-up for your next meeting and that those moments of genius don’t go forgotten.
Being able to organise notes online allows for more creative ways to communicate. With OneNote, you’ve got more opportunities for collaboration. Revise notes with type, highlighting and ink annotations, save essential info and tag your colleagues.
Use text chat and video
Instant messenger is quick, convenient and accessible to large groups as well as for one-to-ones. You can keep in touch with colleagues, clients and suppliers without having to wait on email responses.
Though text-based communication is great in some ways, meaning can get lost without facial expressions, body language and tone of voice. In situations where these are more important – like a performance appraisal – it’s better to use video. You can use the video function in Microsoft Teams.
Hold memorable meetings and training sessions
Hosting presentations and meetings are best done by video too.
To act as a point of reference, Microsoft Teams can record meetings and annotate PowerPoint for real-time collaboration of up to 250 people.
Whiteboard polls and Q&A functions make the meetings more fun and a light-hearted. They’re also great for business-based objectives like sentiment analysis to assess levels of engagement. It assesses participants’ understanding and gives users who don’t want to engage in conversation other ways to contribute.
Additionally, you can use Microsoft Sway to develop more engaging, ease to consume employee training documents. Create them by taking files and resources from different locations including company drives, social media and your own files. It can also be used for company-wide newsletters and presentations.
If you’d prefer video, Microsoft Stream can be used for training videos and recordings of meetings which will automatically be uploaded to Stream and saved within the meeting chat.
Get everyone involved in scheduling meetings
Without nudges and Post-It note reminders from your colleagues it can be easy to forget things like meetings and deadlines.
Having a scheduler can help keep your staff together – at least in a remote sense. Each user has full flexibility to schedule meetings as well as moving them around if something unexpected comes up. Everyone involved will receive a notification of changes, keeping them in the know.
You can use FindTime to schedule meetings between remote workers across different companies, whether or not they’re on the platform. It pulls the calendars of you and your attendees together to find the best times for everyone taking part.
‘FindTime pulls the calendars of you and your attendees together to find the best times for everyone taking part’
From there, you can propose selected dates and times and allow participants to vote on their favourite.
To help you manage your own time, MyAnalytics gives you insight into how many hours you’ve spent in meetings, emails and other tasks. If you have too many meetings it suggests time to focus and blocks it out in your diary.
Choosing effective tech for mobile workers
iSalon creates solutions for the beauty industry and they’re based in Lincoln.
Since moving to Microsoft 365 Business, iSalon can get hold of their notes, apps and contacts with Microsoft Teams. The IT has improved compliance and data loss prevention while ditching the pricey on-premises IT infrastructure saves £7,500 a year.
The company has reported a boost in employee productivity due to a standardised set of apps and identities across devices. Now everyone can access their apps, data and documents from everywhere by using a regular internet connection.
Ryan Taylor, the company’s IT manager, says that employees are more inclined to update documents in the moment, even if it’s outside business hours.
“I communicate with people in the office and remote locations differently with Microsoft 365,” says Taylor. “Instead of long email chains we can have a group conversation on Teams that is instant and stored for easy retrieval.
“I love how we can link Twitter feeds into Teams to keep on top of the latest highlights of our offerings and customer feedback.”
The Saturday support staff are especially pleased to be able to work from home or on the road. “Collaboration is faster and simpler. With everyone’s apps available in Microsoft 365, remote workers have the same experience as people in the office. Everything is saved to, and accessible in, OneDrive,” says Taylor.
This article has been brought to you in partnership with Microsoft. Find out more here.