COVID-19 - Work Remotely, Without Feeling Remote

Office 365: 6 Months Free Trial To Gear Businesses For Remote Working



As the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic continues to develop, the performance of our service delivery to our customers remains our primary concern. You may have heard word of the current "Work From Home" trend that many businesses are adopting to stay on top. Whilst we understand that moving your entire teams workload towards working remotely overnight can be very difficult, Sns Technologies has a solution. We have spent many hours on end formulating the best strategies to help you make this migration. We encourage that you use Microsoft Teams to bring your team together with working remotely. Teams gives you the ability to turn any focus-area within your home into your very own Virtual Office.


Here are some Tips to help make this migration easier for you and your team:

Communicate, communicate, communicate ! While some of us may work from home, at least part of the time, we still rely on rhythms and core hours that are built around our physical presence at the office. When working from home, your daily rhythm may change. This is especially true for those of us balancing work and family. Clearly communicate your working hours with your teammates and collaborators so that they know when to reach you. You can also set a status message in Teams to share this information proactively. Also, make it a habit to offer frequent progress reports to your teammates. Fully remote companies tend to emphasize documentation, since it’s a key way to stay connected when you work apart. We recommend posting updates, insights, and helpful resources you’ve discovered in Teams channels, so your teammates can stay connected with what you’re up to even without the benefit of a chance hallway conversation. Later, they can search within the channel for ideas or content when they need them.


Maintain healthy boundaries Without the usual workday signals—a walk to grab lunch, for instance, or a commute—unplugging can be a challenge. Remote workers sometimes find themselves working for long stretches without breaks for exercise, socializing, or a proper meal. This will quickly lead to stress and burnout. Remember: Your health comes first. Make time for meals, drink plenty of water, and remind yourself to mentally “clock out” from remote work at the end of the day. These behaviours won’t just keep you healthy, but will also help you be more productive in the long run.


Embrace online meetings In the absence of a physical conference room, bringing everyone together can feel like the biggest remote-work challenge of all. As you move meetings to Teams, make sure all meetings have a virtual “join” option to create an online conference room. Also, we suggest that all participants turn on video, if they are comfortable doing so. The face-to-face interaction goes a long way to help everyone feel connected. You really don’t need to worry if your workspace gets a little messy throughout the day, you can always use background blur during video meetings so that your teammates can focus only on you.


Be mindful and inclusive Moving to online meetings may remove some of the visual cues we rely on to see if a colleague has something to say in a meeting. And, overcrowded conference calls can make it difficult for people to share their opinions. Meeting organizers should pause frequently to invite questions and remind attendees that they can also use the meeting chat window to share their thoughts.


Record your meetings To compensate for lack of face time, some remote workers schedule extra meetings in order to stay connected with customers, partners, and co-workers. Double-bookings can be hard to avoid. If your organization allows it, record meetings in Teams so co-workers can catch up later. If you can’t attend yourself, remind the organizer to record the meeting in your absence. The automatically generated transcript is also super-useful when you’re trying to remember information covered in a meeting you attended.


Make up for missing hallway talk A lot of remote workers find the thing they miss the most about the office is casual conversations. Chats at the watercooler or snack shelf not only keep us connected, they often surface important information or insights we wouldn’t have guessed. Be deliberate about reaching out and connecting with your co-workers. Think of chat messages as your virtual watercooler and set yourself a reminder to check in with people regularly. Emojis, GIFs, and stickers are a fun way to keep the chatter fun and light.


Bring the team together Working remotely can feel isolating. As a leader, it’s important to create opportunities for the whole team to get together virtually. Maintain your regular team meeting cadence or team lunches, just make them online. Use the “General” channel in Teams for discussions that might be of interest to everyone. For large brainstorms you can use the Microsoft Whiteboard app, which provides an infinite digital canvas for meeting participants to ideate and collaborate directly in Teams. We also suggest team leaders download the Crisis Communication Power App. You can use this customizable app to inform yourself and your team on everything they need to know throughout this outbreak.


Have fun! With all the changes that come with moving to remote work, it’s important to foster and maintain team morale. There are many things you can do within Teams to keep people feeling positive and engaged. Share news and stories in your team chat, or hold a photo contest. You can easily share news and stories in your team chat, or celebrate work anniversaries that mark relationship milestones between an employee and a company. With the use of the "General Tab", companies can create opportunities to have some fun with employees, like a company potluck whereby employees take a few hours to bond and swap recipes, and such.


We understand that every individual and team works differently. However, we want you to stay productive and connected as you adjust to a new way of working. In conjunction with Microsoft, SNS Technologies is allowing businesses to achieve this with a 6 months free trial of Office 365 including teams, for your business. This free access to Office 365 is an initiative that has specifically been extended to business due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Be ready, remote-work ready!

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