Author: Tony Hughes, TSG
Who would have thought it – three weeks ago we were enjoying another fabulous Housing Technology event and preparing to deliver our presentation on the latest and greatest Office 365 features including chatbots, form processing and all things AI. Now we’re in lockdown, mobilising workers for home-working to help the country fight the coronavirus. At the forefront for most housing associations is Microsoft Teams, that ‘chat’ thing Microsoft released in early 2017.
While Teams is not the answer to all things remote (access to server-based systems still requires VPN, etc.), it will play a huge role in the coming months by providing file management, internal calls, meetings and, just as importantly, keeping us all sane. We’re two weeks in now and my two dogs, Sadie and Willow, are still yet to switch to conversational mode!
As you would expect of a Microsoft Gold partner, our mobilisation and switch to a remote-working model was swift, so we wanted to offer our top tips to housing associations to help you onboard Microsoft Teams quickly and easily for your remote workforce.
How has it been? Well, for some staff, it’s business as usual as over 40% of us are already home/remote workers. However, this has been with a mixture of site work and regular office visits; now, in the main, it’s 100% home-working – so even the 40% are finding it strange. So, what are we doing internally to minimise the impact while keeping our service provision at an acceptable level?
- Using Teams video where possible to keep that close, face-to-face feeling with colleagues.
- Using group chat so no-one feels left out.
- Daily team catch-up video calls – these are as much welfare-based as they are work-based. We’re even doing our own Through the Keyhole on each call!
- For our longer voice calls, we’re talking on the mobile Teams app so we can wander around and keep the steps up (check out our walkathon challenge).
- Co-authoring on documents and screen-sharing to keep us collaborating.
- Switching scheduled on-site client meetings to Teams meetings – remember, external guests invited to your Teams meeting do not have to already be Office 365 users.
Remember, all Office 365 licences, except the most basic ‘email only’ ones, provide Teams access so all employees can be included.
We host a Microsoft Teams ‘team’ for the social housing sector which currently has over 200 members from the sector sharing ideas and experiences, and asking questions of us and peers. If you would like to be added to the team, please use this link and we will get you on ASAP. In order to help social housing providers adopt Microsoft Teams quickly and easily, we’re hosting daily lunch and learn sessions via Teams. You can use this link to join at 12pm any weekday this week.