Working Virtually is Our Everyday

COVID-19 is seeing an increasing number of businesses across every industry issuing policies to increase the availability of resources to enable people to work from home. NASA in California is one of the many businesses globally who have issued a “Mandatory Working From Home Policy”. Whilst employees at NASA have had home working capabilities for a while, this is not their standard working practice. This shift to mandatory home working has been announced as very much a “temporary” and “precautionary” measure. ​

As a business, even prior to COVID-19, Hable has always been very much centred around remote working. Geographically spread across the UK, #TeamHable are either found working from home, or on customer sites (these services are now being delivered remotely) every day, and this isn’t just our response to the current situation. This is part of our company’s core values and principles. ​So, whilst currently businesses are looking at temporary cover, I don’t see any reason why we aren’t using this outbreak as “the moment” where we really start to think about working differently on a more permanent basis.

So how does it work for us?​

We use Microsoft Teams as a central part of our remote working capability. Teams allows us to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and customers in a similar way to how we would interact if we were there in person. ​
In our organisation, Teams is used both internally and externally to:​

– Share desktops or presentations
– Deliver remote training sessions
– Deliver remote assistance sessions
– Share, store and co-author documents
– Host and attend “Meetings”
– Keep up to date with who is working and what someone is working on
– Collaborate on projects at-scale, to ensure that everyone has access to key information when it is required
– Call and IM chat to one another
– Receive company updates and other organisation wide information
– Plan and schedule work

I know what you are probably thinking… that you need “the most expensive licences” or “super fast shiny devices” to make this dream a reality… but that really isn’t the case. Whilst we primarily work with laptops and desktops, we also use a huge array of other devices such as tablets and phones to keep in touch. These devices aren’t just Windows, they are android, iOS and even linux.​

As many of us have had to transition to remote working for the first time over the past few weeks, here are tips from #TeamHable that we have picked up from five years’ of experience: 

– Test your setup and make sure that you have access to everything you may need.  Whether this be an adjustable chair or a system, it is crucial to get it right.​

– Make sure that people know how to use the technology in a safe way. If people are using their own, devices think about how you can limit the risk of data leakage but without preventing them from being able to carry out their role. This may be a policy about how technology and data is used, or a short video colleagues watch before they begin working.​

– If you are hosting a meeting where a more personal touch is required, then don’t be afraid to turn those Webcams on. Consider virtual meetings in the same vain as a meeting you would host face to face. Think about how much information you take out of the people in the room, you hear them talking but you also read just as many cues from their body language and facial expressions. This can then be replicated virtually using both audio and video conferencing.​

– You don’t need to be sat next to your employee to know they are working. Presence on instant messenger, their diary or work outputs give you an indication as to whether they are working. Staff can be as easily distracted by colleagues in a working environment as they can be working from home, so don’t let this scare you or put you off, most staff have been shown to be more productive when working in a home environment.  ​

If you need any help or further support in getting working from home right with Office 365, feel free to connect with us on Twitter or Linkedin, we are more than happy to share how we can help you benefit from the journey we have been on.