As the UK Government has ordered people to work from home, wherever possible, to tackle the spread of Covid-19, organisations need to implement remote working to maintain business continuity.
For many organisations this will be a baptism of fire. Even if they have the infrastructure enabled, moving to a virtual environment and remote way of working requires a huge cultural shift and some employees have never worked from home before.
Luckily, there are some quick remote working principles that can be utilised by all organisations and employees today.
Trustmarque’s transition to remote working
Trustmarque has become increasingly mobile over the past few years, operating an agile and remote-focused business model. We were therefore fortunate to deliver a somewhat seamless transition to home working, enabling approximately 250 users to work from home in an overnight move that was deployed last week. However, we do not take for granted that adopting a virtual office is not without careful consideration, planning and some trial and error.
James Butler, Chief Technology Officer at Trustmarque, comments: “Trustmarque has been on this journey for a number of years, working closely with Microsoft since the early days of their modern workplace tools such as SharePoint and Lync and then progressing to the Cloud with Office 365 and Azure. Our approach to productivity and BCP is premised on flexibility and end-user empowerment and not tied to specific locations.
“Because we have been an early adopter and proactive, we have been slightly ahead of the curve and ready to react quickly. That means that we are in a great position to use our experience and expertise to help customers in this period of rapid transition.”
Home working in action – our approach
Our employees are utilising the latest Microsoft 365 productivity tools like Teams, SharePoint, Outlook, Planner and Power BI to maintain effective communication and collaboration with our valued partners, customers and employees. In our ongoing adoption of remote working, we’ve also identified some culture and process tips including:
Regular virtual meetings – Plans and priorities will change as businesses look to realign their strategies, workloads and ways of working. We’re holding regular planning meetings and check-ins online to review priorities and workload. We’ve moved all of our projects to SharePoint and Teams where colleagues can collaborate and access the latest information they need.
Transparency and flexibility where possible – We are all doing simple things like keeping an up-to-date diary and providing regular project updates using tools like Microsoft Planner. For those needing flexible meetings, FindTime is a great way to invite people inside and outside of your organisation to select multiple time slots they’re available.
Stay connected and encourage virtual networking – Working from home can feel particularly isolating when you’re used to working in the buzz of the office. To keep colleagues connected, we’ve increased the use of video calls and virtual meetings on platforms like Teams (you can use these as a trial before rolling out to customers too). Some of our colleagues have also started running video coffee hangouts on Teams to keep the workplace community and camaraderie going.
Communicate and celebrate – We use SharePoint News as a great way to highlight key content, including corporate communications, case studies, external news and success stories. It can be used to send newsletters to specific users or groups across the organisation. While management will no doubt be sharing lots of business-critical information, we encourage all employees to share relevant content and news.
Adopting a remote-based business model
If you’re business is new to home working, it may seem like there is a lot that needs to be done to get the culture, processes and infrastructure in place. However, from our experience in supporting many organisations with their cloud adoption, the transition can be managed with relative speed.
James Butler comments: “Moving the focus of your organisation’s team collaboration and work style into the cloud doesn’t have to take long. And cloud-based collaboration can be quickly enabled, especially using services like FastTrack Ready to help adopt Microsoft Teams. This can be the first stage of creating more agile IT, leveraging the Cloud to extend your existing architecture.”
Supporting you to enable your remote workforce
We are committed to supporting customers through this difficult time. We are therefore offering support where needed including a limited number of free remote advice sessions for customers who want to get Microsoft Teams on Office 365 up and running to enable home working. These tailored sessions will include but are not limited to:
- Eligibility for 6-month free trial of Office 365 E1 Licenses, giving you access to Office 365 apps, including Microsoft Teams
- Setup a new Office 365 Tenant (if required)
- Assistance in provisioning users with your free Office 365 E1 subscriptions (if eligible)
- An online demonstration of how to manage Teams for your IT department
- Collated set of resources and technical information on how to administer teams
- Guidance on how to deploy the Microsoft Teams client app to users’ device
- Advice on user communications including a templated collateral and a quick start user guide
During the session we will also determine if your organisation is eligible for FastTrack Ready, a Microsoft funded programme, designed to shorten the deployment and adoption of Office 365 if you have already made the investment but not started its implementation.
We are here to help and enable your employees to work from home
By Katherine Murphy, content enthusiast