It has been almost two years since companies across the US shut down their offices and instructed employees to work from home indefinitely because of the pandemic. Initially, many thought the shutdowns would only last a matter of months, but as time went on, it became clear millions of employees would be working remotely long-term.
The global pandemic has forced huge segments of the workforce to give up the office environment and adapt to a different work experience. Even after the pandemic is no longer forcing people to work from home, almost 85% of people want to have the option of a hybrid remote work model, with employees spending some time on-site and the rest at home.
Remote work has had its challenges, especially as most of it was being performed under extreme pressure to begin with. Going forward, there have been many adaptations needed to alleviate this pressure. Organizations using Microsoft 365 have been able to identify what the most immediate challenges of remote work are and how to maximize the tools at hand to solve these problems. Microsoft 365 is a cloud based, subscription service, with familiar programs such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and plenty of other features to support remote working.
5 remote work problems Microsoft 365 solves
Some organizations find the transition to remote working a challenge, particularly if they have multiple employees in different teams. The following are the five main remote work challenges that Microsoft 365 can alleviate for managers and remote teams.
Accessibility to information and people is one of the biggest challenges to face the remote workforce. Once you could organize a team meeting in the conference room to ensure everyone is on the same page about projects, now it’s less likely for a remote team to meet in the same place.
Microsoft 365 offers your team members access to the information and tools needed for remote working and productivity, with a suite of cloud-based productivity tools that is accessible anywhere. OneDrive is a cloud storage platform that allows employees to save files and access them anywhere, on any mobile device. Shared company files can be accessed via SharePoint, a web-based collaboration platform that allows employees to share and manage content, applications, and seamlessly collaborate across the organization.
Communication is vital to making remote work positive and effective for both businesses and their employees. Having a communications strategy and policy in place mitigates confusion and isolation that remote workers can struggle with. Microsoft Teams is the perfect solution to remote workers being able to instantly engage with team members, clients, or stakeholders. Using video, audio calls, or chat, Teams empowers employees to work in sync with other team members and managers, encouraging effective and easy communication.
Collaboration is essential to a company’s success. Remote working forces employees to be physically separated from colleagues and managers, potentially disrupting the flow of work and ideas. Microsoft 365 allows employees to continue collaborating in real time to overcome problems, complete tasks and projects, and work on new ideas for business growth. Whether putting together proposals, presentations in PowerPoint, or collaborating on documents in real time, employees can work together as though they’re in the same space, without having no multiple copies of the same documents or files.
Work life balance
One of the biggest remote work issues that was highlighted for many organizations was the blurred lines between work and personal life, presenting challenges for a work life balance that was sustainable and took into consideration the mental health of employees who felt isolated, or struggled to cope with working from home. Microsoft 365 tools and apps such as Viva Insights and MyAnalytics. Both tools provide a window into work habits, tracking and improving productivity, and giving insight into wellbeing, with actionable recommendations such as reserving time for focusing on specific tasks, social interaction, and brain breaks. This encourages companies to support remote employees to create a healthy work life balance.
Keeping an organization functioning with the added challenge of employees being outside the workspace raises concerns about security. Files, communication, and data need to be secure, and in some industries, there are compliance requirements for data sharing and storage. Microsoft 365 alleviates these concerns about security with built-in features to ensure data is not at risk of being compromised. Options for permissions and sharing allow collaboration and communication to happen securely, with threat detection, anti-malware, and multi-factor authentication protecting the Microsoft cloud environment. Cloud data storage and backup means your remote employees are always able to access the information needed to get their jobs done.
With more organizations focusing on enabling remote work options, the time is now to make the most of Microsoft’s powerful suite of productivity and communication tools. Talk to the certified Microsoft specialists at Solzorro about how your business can overcome any remote work challenges with the power and flexibility of Microsoft 365.