SpireTech Blog - Tag: Collaboration
Advice on employee and business collaboration solutions.
We’ve had a few clients ask us about remote worker policies. We view this as an HR issue with possible legal implications, so you’ll want to seek advice appropriate to your firm. We’ve all had to relax the standards around eligibility and physical environment during Covid, but the policies around attendance and security still apply. Here’s some food for thought if you have yet to implement a remote work policy.
Working from home is a privilege and may be allowed in some circumstances subject to the following guidelines. If your supervisor approves your working from home on a particular day instead of being present in the office, you must comply with the following guidelines:
- Eligibility Not all positions are eligible for working remotely. If your position involves frequent or important interaction with other employees or clients, it may not be possible or practical for you to successfully work remotely. If you are unable to work at your normally assigned position and time, working from home must be pre-approved by your direct supervisor.
It used to be that if you wanted to record a video of your screen, you had to buy some commercial software. Not anymore. Microsoft Stream (included in many M365 subscriptions) recently released a feature to allow you to record your screen, we have found this useful for training or marketing activities. You can optionally record yourself at the same time with a front-facing camera, if you want a view of the person speaking.
Videos are stored on Stream, and privacy settings can be controlled for each video before it is uploaded. Videos can be downloaded, and the format they are stored in is compatible with YouTube, so if you want to record something for later upload to YouTube you can do that as well.
“Co-authoring” is available in Office365, which is the ability for multiple people to edit a file at the same time. The file must be stored on Sharepoint or Onedrive for this feature to be available (not an internal file server). To see it in action, along with sharing and invites, please watch this video:
Several years ago, we hated OneDrive and had massive problems with efforts to implement it with our clients. We’re happy to say now that it works, and works well. Microsoft has made great strides in improving the product and it is now a valid replacement for third party solutions like Box, Dropbox, FileCloud, and for many small businesses, even an on-premise file server.
Recently, we’ve been working with clients to remove other collaboration solutions and get them onto SharePoint/OneDrive, and they’ve been happy with the results. SharePoint allows you to setup shares for teams of people and integrates well with the windows 10 file explorer and OneDrive. It even allows multi-user editing of documents at the same time with others, much like google docs has for years. You can tell it to backup your personal documents folder and make it available on all your devices.
“Syncing” of all the data is not required – you can have access to far more data that is available on your local hard drive – but you can tell it to keep certain files available locally if you want, for offline use and editing. Read more...
If you regularly use Skype for Business in your organization, you may now know that Microsoft has begun replacing Skype with Teams. Microsoft Teams is a new platform that acts as a hub within Office 365 and brings together chat, meetings, notes, and integrations with other Office 365 applications like SharePoint.
Depending on how your organization is handling this transition, you may already be using Microsoft Teams and be rerouted to it for your chats, meetings, and presentations. The Teams UI is certainly different from Skype! Here are some quick tips on starting a chat, voice call, or video call with another person, and presenting your desktop to others when in a meeting or call.
Start a chat with a user in Teams
- Go to the search bar at the top of the Teams application.
- Begin typing the name of the person you want to connect with.
- Select the user when they appear.
SpireTech is continually seeking innovative solutions to keep our clients up to date with current options. One of the products we’ve been offering is called FileCloud, which can serve as a file server replacement (when only cloud is needed), or as a hybrid that combines both cloud and on-premises file access that is compatible with Windows servers, workstations, and also Macs. It enables employees to work anywhere, anytime, without the need for VPN software that can sometimes be slow and/or clunky.
Why Might You Choose to Use FileCloud?
FileCloud brings Enterprise level features and capabilities without complex or costly software licensing requirements. The FileCloud price is competitive with other major file sharing platforms, and at the same time allows you to meet data security or compliance requirements in a variety of ways.
The FileCloud Sync app provides the same features you see in some of the major file sharing applications that you may have used in the past, without the worry of not knowing where your data is actually stored and who it is that can access it. Read more...
used with permission from HP Technology at Work
Is your team having a communications breakdown? Or maybe just leaning too heavily on endless email threads? From workflow management apps to all-in-one collaboration tools, here are some of the many services available to help your colleagues cut down on email (yay!), get work done more efficiently, and—here’s the best part—have more fun.
- Slack: is so popular that there’s a good chance your office is already using it. If not, this cloud-based tool should be the first one you look into. Its themed channels for teams, customizable alert settings, archiving, and search capabilities make it a robust tool for both real-time messaging and storing old conversations for easy reference. Many people are also using Slack channels for personal use outside of work, so your team will probably adapt to it easily.
- Workplace by Facebook: Speaking of systems that are popular outside of work, Workplace by Facebook lets your staff instant message, group chat, create team groups, and use newsfeed features with tools they are already familiar with from social media.
used with permission from Microsoft Office Blogs
Today’s workforce is spread across more locations than ever before: 37 percent of workers telecommuted to some degree in 2015. Companies occupy multiple locations, and business partnerships span the globe. In addition to physical separation, teams in the same company are separated by projects and departments. These barriers unfortunately lead to communication silos, furthering separation and limiting teamwork and collaboration.
Silos can have a significant (and detrimental) effect on your business. They create barriers between teams, often disrupting communications across your entire organization. But that’s not all. Let’s look at the wider impact silos can have across your company.
- Limits communication and impedes culture—Siloed teams eventually inhibit your company’s culture. Employees crave communication, collaboration and a thriving work environment. They want to feel comfortable being themselves and feel like they’re part of a team. In fact, 47 percent of workers find it motivating when colleagues discuss workplace success.
used with permission from SBA.gov, by Anita Campbell
But what happens as your business grows? If your business is anything like mine, the volume of email starts reproducing faster than a warren of rabbits.
Without even realizing it, you and your team may be spending hours each month hunting through inboxes just to find and organize important information. Email becomes a source of frustration; important communications are buried in individual team members’ inboxes, while the rest of the team doesn’t have a clue who is communicating about what with the customer leading to duplicated effort and potential opportunities falling between the cracks.
In short, email becomes the problem instead of the solution. As valuable as email is, businesses were never meant to be run out of inboxes That’s when you need specific software applications to help organize the flow of information and track and streamline activities. Read more...
used with permission from Microsoft Office Blogs
Implementing an instant messaging platform is important for productivity for teams of all sizes. Enabling a system for quick, informal, easy-to-reference and mobile chats keeps teams connected for nimble collaborations—resulting in a major value-add to your business.
How much value, exactly? Businesses that have embraced instant messaging practice have seen remarkable improvements in productivity and streamlined communication. According to a survey of employees using chat services conducted by SoftwareAdvice.com, 75 percent saw decreased call and email volume, and 66 percent noticed quick resolution for simple questions. When it comes to productivity, 21 percent noted either moderate or significant increase.
As company-wide IM benefits become clear, more and more businesses are getting on board. If you’re interested in these benefits but are wary to ensure proper implementation and use throughout your company, provide best practices for your employees to reference to increase productivity and reduce frustrating growing pains. Read more...