In the wake of the global pandemic, many businesses have been forced to enable remote work at a scale for which they might not have been prepared. The number of remote employees and those seeking flexible work arrangements continues to rise, despite businesses doing their utmost to reopen as normal.
With around 4.7 million people working remotely at least half the time in the United States and a predicted 36.2 million Americans working remotely by 2025, it is clear the work environment is changing and shifting towards a modern workplace.
Remote working offers a lot of potential for both organizations and employees, but there can be challenges taking into consideration both business needs and a healthy work-life balance for workers. Microsoft 365 is one tool that companies can leverage as a one-stop shop for creating a modern workplace that maintains business productivity and creates the kind of work environment employees are happy with.
Microsoft 365 is subscription-based, so business managers can choose which plan suits their needs and pay per user/month. How much your organization pays depends on what functionality is needed, and how many users will need access. If the needs of your business change, Microsoft 365 subscriptions can scale up or down, so you only pay for what you need. This ensures businesses have a predictable expense to budget for in the future.
Remote work challenges
There are several challenges faced when businesses are implementing remote working for their employees. For those employees who have worked in an office, the switch to working from home can be daunting. New employees might be challenged by not meeting their managers and colleagues face-to-face before starting to work with them.
We will go over the most prevalent of these problems with remote working and show how Microsoft 365 can help to form a long-term solution.
Around the clock accessibility
One of the biggest challenges that comes with remote working is ensuring employees have access to information they need to continue working as though they are still in the office. Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based solution to this problem, with features and tools designed to enable employees to plug straight into their virtual workspace, regardless of where their home office is, or in which time zone they reside. The cloud is always available to enable business continuity. Upgrades for the Microsoft 365 apps download automatically and are applied in the background, so remote teams are always using the latest version of their work tools.
With Microsoft 365 apps and tools, accessing business critical information has never been so easy. Employees can use familiar products such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, with the ability to share and collaborate on documents in real-time from anywhere. OneDrive is an online storage platform allowing files to be saved and accessed from anywhere on any device; while SharePoint allows content, knowledge and applications to be shared across teams and the entire organization through an online collaborative platform.
A challenge for many organizations is how to keep remote employees connected when they aren’t sitting in the same office space. Communication is critical to keeping things running smoothly, as poor communication can slow down projects and productivity.
One of the big benefits of Microsoft 365 is the ability to communicate in diverse ways with Microsoft Teams. This communication tool allows remote workforces to carry on with regular communications, with morning stand-up meetings via video conference, group chats for real-time messages and vital company announcements. Channels can be dedicated to specific projects or teams, to avoid distracting others from their work.
New employees can be onboarded efficiently and easily with the use of the communication and collaboration tools in Microsoft Teams, ensuring their transition to a new job and remote working is seamless.
Keep business data secure
To keep organizations running effectively, accessibility to critical business data is necessary, but it needs to be protected and secure. Today’s cyber-threat landscape is continually evolving and staying protected from these threats can be a challenge when much of the workforce is remote. This is especially concerning when the number one cause of data breaches originates from employee errors.
Microsoft 365 offers businesses peace of mind with security features such as data encryption, privilege management, and threat detection. Microsoft’s permissions and sharing settings allow for collaboration, communication and flexibility while preventing potential data leaks. The company is constantly working to keep its cloud secure by offering anti-malware and multifactor authentication to users.
As more businesses make the shift to a modern workplace and remote working, it is vital to have the support of industry professionals who offer seamless migration and exceptional support. Talk to the Microsoft consultants at BCS365 today and harness the full potential of Microsoft 365 for your remote workforce.