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The Right Way to Manage Microsoft 365-Based Remote Workers

remote office 365 management

COVID-19 rushed in earlier this year, and with it everything changed, including how and where we work. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still here, and even when it finally subsides remote work will remain.

Gartner recently surveyed 317 corporate finance leaders around new remote work policies and concluded that 5% or more regularly office-bound employees expect to stay working remotely, once the new normal sets in.

Since remote work is here to stay, you might as well do it right, keeping remote workers secure and happy, without sacrificing productivity.

So far remote work is coming up aces – productivity is either stable, or in many cases, far more than anecdotal — and employees get more done remotely.

Create or Polish Your Remote Work Policy

If you don’t yet have a remote work policy, you are flying a bit blind. If you have one, it might just be time for a tune up.  

We Work Remotely (WWR), a job site for remote employment, offered advice in its 5 Best Practices for Managing Remote Teams blog.  

The first step is actually having a remote work policy and set of best practices. “It sets a professional standard that every employee — new and existing — should adhere to. This keeps the work environment fair and eliminates favoritism issues,” the web site advised. “A remote work policy also ensures that everyone knows what to expect and what’s required of them. As you establish rules for what everyone should be doing, your team will run like an efficient, streamlined, modern-day digital assembly line. These protocols prevent surprises, confusion, and training discrepancies.” 

A similarly named but entirely separate WWR blog, 5 Tips for Building a Remote Team, dives deeper into policies. One key is how managers connect with workers. Is it entirely ad hoc, or more structured as in scheduled check-ins and update calls? For group and individual calls, will participants be required to be on video? 

Driving Remote Productivity 

For the last few years, Microsoft has WANTED enterprises to move from Skype to Teams. With the rise in remote work, enterprises NEED to make this move. How else can they keep the company going during trying times? Having a solution such as Teams available is not the same thing as putting it to work, and fully realizing its value. 

Even shops that have moved from Skype to Teams often just scratch the surface of what the Microsoft collaboration and communication solution can do. For remote workers to match their in-office productivity, they need to really stretch Teams’ legs. IT and your company’s management should know how much of Teams function is really being exploited, then have a way of increasing the adoption of Teams services. Once the adoption needs are defined, targeted training can kick in. 

CoreLearning and CoreAdoption are integral tools that expand employees’ knowledge and aptitude of Microsoft Teams and prevent help desks from being flooded with inbound requests on basic “how to” questions during an indeterminate remote work timeline. IT leaders use CoreAdoption to launch targeted app adoption campaigns to ensure remote workers know what tools and Teams services they should be using when they’re out of the office.  

Experts find that 70% of what an end user learns through conventional approaches is forgotten in 24 hours. A better approach is Just in Time Learning (JITL) that teaches end users while they work. The secret sauce with JITL is that these videos are context sensitive, and play as the user is walking through the application. 

CoreLearning offers Microsoft Teams training videos – including basic how-to’s and tutorials – immediately within Microsoft 365 the moment an employee needs them.

Together, CoreView’s offerings help enterprises and government agencies support remote workers while not overburdening their IT staff with basic tech requests. 

Help and Support for Remote Workers 

Your newly remote workers have enough to worry about; software problems should be the least of their concerns. Alleviating these frets requires a responsive and effective help desk, and here local is better. Like with Teams voice set up, there are no language barriers, and a local admin understands the group they are serving. 

This is handled by admins with local rights over a select group of users, done through Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), and in the case of Microsoft 365, enhanced through virtual tenants. 

Get Complete Rework Work Management Guidance 

Get the skinny on managing M365 remote workers with our 2020 Guide to Managing Your Remote Workforce or get a custom CoreView demo

See how CoreView can help you with this

Learn more about securing and optimizing your M365 and other SaaS applications.

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Doug Barney
Doug Barney was the founding editor of Redmond Magazine, Redmond Channel Partner, Redmond Developer News and Virtualization Review. Doug also served as Executive Editor of Network World, Editor in Chief of AmigaWorld, and Editor in Chief of Network Computing.

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