When Remote Work is Much More Than a Perk

For some, the opportunity to work from a location other than the core office is a perk.  

But remote work is much more than that: It’s a critical aspect of business continuity planning. When going into the office or traveling for work aren’t possible or safe, the ability to connect and collaborate easily and without interruption is essential to sustain day-to-day operations.  

The recent office closures and travel restrictions due to COVID-19 are just one example of events outside our control with the potential for serious business impact. Health concerns, weather events, strikes, service shutdowns and many other scenarios may enter the picture without warning to disrupt business activity.  

Is your organization equipped to maintain business-as-usual when external circumstances are anything but?  

Many of our collaboration provider partners have already responded to the current situation by extending their premium offeringto organizations in need.  

While we cannot predict how any given situation will unfold, we are ready to help you implement the solutions you need to ensure you can keep things up and running when workers can’t come to work.  Here are three key considerations for integrating collaboration tools into your business continuity strategy.  

Maintaining Face-to-Face Communication 

Between better collaboration and team participation to faster decision-making by internal teams and external customers, there is no substitute for face-to-face communication. No email or instant messaging platform will fully replace the business value of meaningful collaboration.  

In the event your organization cannot access core office spaces in the medium or long-term, a videoconferencing solution that provides seamless calling and meetings helps preserve that valuable person-to-person connection.  

To maintain face-to-face communication, your strategy should consider: 

  • All-in-One Collaboration Platform: a collaboration suite that consolidates in-person meetings and other functions like real-time document collaboration, messaging and project tracking into one secure platform helps to simplify teamwork across locations.   
  • Meetings, Calling and Messaging: selecting a collaboration suite that offers a frictionless video calling and meeting experience is key. Many users are accustomed to easy-to-use consumer applications and expect a similar experience with those they use at work.  
  • Training & Facilities: making sure users are equipped and ready to use video meetings is another key factor in business continuity. This requires making sure users have continuous access to the tools, facilities and training they need to conduct meetings from any location. 

 

Staying Connected and Collaborating   

Your business continuity plan likely includes measures to restore data backups and minimize downtime for critical infrastructure.  

Maintaining high availability for business-critical systems is important. But no organization can survive without continuous communication. As such, it’s also imperative to consider the people who will drive and carry out business-critical decisions.  

In a situation where employees can’t access each other for in-person communication, the connectivity of email and collaboration solutions is even more important.  

To ensure continued connectivity, your plan should consider:  

  • Network Readiness: ensuring your network architecture is capable of supporting cloud-based collaboration tools over ordinary web traffic is important. Many legacy architectures were not designed with this use case in mind and may degrade performance, causing significant business impact.  
  • Training & Adoption: being well-prepared to shift to remote communication and remain connected also depends on the readiness of your user base. If users don’t understand how to access and use collaboration tools, the change may cause confusion and frustration.  

 

Keeping Everyone Safe and Secure 

The need for secure and seamless access and governance only increases with a shift to all-remote communication. In this sense, proper planning for a potential interruption to workplace access involves extending security from inside the business to the cloud and mobile platforms.  

To be prepared, IT leaders should take measures to implement security across the four pillars of identity and access management, devices and applications, data and threat detection.  

In an emergency scenario, providing the right users with the right access to the right applications and data is more important than ever. We recommend you consider:  

  • Integrated Platforms: simplifying security by consolidating point solutions in line with industry best practices will go a long way to protecting your users in a scenario calling for all-remote communication.  
  • Automation & Advanced Authentication: putting in place advanced authentication and automated threat intelligence will help provide safe, seamless access to business applications and data from any location.  

 Next Steps  

In response to the current situation surrounding COVID-19, many of our vendor partners are extending offerings to support continued productivity and collaboration throughout.  

Click below to get the details 

In an unexpected event, complexity and confusion threaten to impede the return to business-as-usual. Our team of experts and product specialists are on hand to help you identify, deploy and adopt the right approach to support your users in any event.  Ensure readiness and jumpstart your business continuity plan. 

Connect with an expert  

 

People First: How to Succeed with Teams Adoption

Change is painful 

Change is not automatic. Human behavior tells us that change is hard and it takes time.

Gone are the days when IT departments turned on new technologies without input from their end users. “Deploy it and they will come” doesn’t work. There’s no “one size fits all” solution.

Successful adoption of Teams is more than the introduction of a new product. It’s about a change in behavior and change is all about people. Organizations are made of up innovators, laggards and everything in between.

Each time new technology is introduced organizations will experience a dip in productivity. Only 34% of people are considered early adopters and willing to adopt new technology. This means the remaining user population needs help in understanding how a solution like Teams will benefit them. Then they can get past that initial fear and resentment and learn to embrace the new technology.

What is change management? 

We hear the term “change management” all the time but what does it really mean? In essence, change management is a framework for handling the people side of change. Any time an organization implements change, the only way they will realize success is if individuals change, too. A change management framework allows organizations to realize the benefits and desired outcomes of change. Change implementation without a proper framework is fruitless because it won’t address the need to change people’s behavior.

Without this change in people, adoption doesn’t happen. Change in technology is so rapid and constant in today’s world that end users can’t keep up. They end up freeing frustrated and overwhelmed. Organizations struggle to get their users on-board. They’re looking for someone to coach them through the journey to successful adoption. With this support in place, they enhance their probability of achieving success, realizing return on investment, increasing productivity and reducing user resistance.

What are the pillars of a successful Teams adoption? 

Adoption isn’t just one task. A successful adoption plan is more than just training users on the features and functionality of Teams.  It’s a continuous journey that requires a well-considered course of action, including:

  • A clear vision that identifies how the organization will use Teams and its expected business outcomes
  • Executive leadership and stakeholder support to encourage use of new tools and drive cultural change
  • Input on the way people work today, their challenges and pain points and the opportunities they see for improvement
  • A plan mapping user requirements to the technology’s capabilities to solve problems, making it easier for people to see the connection between Teams and how they do their daily work
  • An awareness and communications campaign that communicates the upcoming change and generates excitement among the end-user population
  • End-user training that details how people can use Teams to accomplish their goals
  • Continuous communication and education to encourage ongoing usage of Teams

Enabling Success 

A change in technology is all about people. Softchoice helps organizations enable their end users for success through a combination of adoption, change management and end-user training. Our Adoption Services experts partner with you to coach you through all stages of the adoption journey to minimize any productivity dip and ensure your users are part of the process. As a result, they will recognize what’s important and feel empowered to embrace Teams as a positive outcome.

Ready to jumpstart your digital workplace?

Don’t miss the previous articles in our series on how you can get the best value out of Microsoft Teams:

Achieve more with your technology and start the conversation around end-user productivity with one of our experts.