I want to empower my staff to work more flexibly using Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is a productivity suite for organisations and businesses. It combines best-in-class office applications with powerful cloud-based device management, communication and document sharing tools with advanced security.
It enables organisations to empower their workers with more flexibility and greater options for collaboration, communication and co-working.

Having a Microsoft 365 environment is one of the keys to unlocking the benefits of a modern, agile workplace which is responsive to the demands of your people and your customers or service users.
Even pre-Covid, there was a rise in organisations looking to adopt more flexible ways of working and providing a better work-life balance to their employees. Since the coronavirus lockdown, this need for flexibility has been amplified.
Microsoft 365 enables organisations to connect their staff to the content and data they need to enhance productivity and improve collaboration.

It can help transform the way you manage your processes and streamline the way work gets done.
It can also play a vital role in safeguarding your employees and your essential data, with robust, easy to manage enterprise-grade security.

The benefits of Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 has plenty of tools that support more agile and flexible ways of working. Its catchphrase for the platform is that ‘Microsoft 365 has the tools you need to work anytime, anywhere, on any device’. The added advantage of Microsoft 365 is that it’s highly likely your users will already be familiar with it. It includes standard office tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, storage and document management services like OneDrive and SharePoint, and communication and collaboration apps like Teams and Yammer.

For those that aren’t too familiar with it, because it has been built with the user rather than the administrator in mind, it is easy and intuitive to pick up and use. Training is also readily available, either online or by finding a local Microsoft expert.
Some of the ways in which Microsoft 365 supports more flexible, agile working are:

  • It can be used on a wide range of compatible devices, including tablets, smartphones, laptops and PCs
  • It can be accessed over a mobile network
  • It supports home and/or remote working, as it’s delivered over the internet
  • It supports greater collaboration, as teams can work on a single project, in real-time, from several different locations
  • It empowers staff to develop solutions using no-code, through tools like PowerBI, PowerAutomate and PowerApps

The keys to more flexible working with Microsoft 365

Because Microsoft 365 is hosted in the cloud, on Microsoft’s own servers, it can be accessed wherever and whenever a user wants, with a guaranteed uptime of 99.9%. Thanks to Microsoft OneDrive, which saves documents to the cloud, users can access all their documents on the go and share them with colleagues more easily.

From an organisational point of view, the storage included with Microsoft 365 can significantly reduce the volume of on-premise data storage and associated hardware/servers required, thus reducing costs.

With a rise in home and remote working, and in organisations wanting to provide their employees with a better work-life balance, Microsoft 365 facilitates better collaboration by teams across multiple locations.

Staff can work on documents together, in real-time, with all changes and conflicts merged automatically to reduce the need for multiple versions of the same document being emailed around for review. Sharepoint, for example, can have sites for several different purposes, such as:

  • A site for all staff providing access to general business information
  • A site for staff working on a particular project
  • A site for collaborating on a project with external partners.

OneDrive, meanwhile, can be used by individual members of staff to collaborate informally on a document under development. Microsoft 365 also includes Teams, a messaging and communications application that supports project working and collaboration. Teams allows teams to hold online video calls, store documents and send instant messages among other things and is again available on any device.

Some Microsoft 365 considerations

Although Microsoft 365 can help your organisation reach its full potential by empowering your staff to work in more agile, flexible and collaborative ways, to reap the full benefits, there are a few things to bear in mind. Firstly, introducing a solution with new ways of working will not change how your organisation behaves. It will give you the framework to facilitate change, but it is your people who will drive and change the way your organisation behaves.

With this in mind, before you migrate, you’ll first need to identify who the ‘early adopters’ and trendsetters within your organisation are. These people will likely act as champions to ensure your new environment is utilised as it should be. So, getting them to change the way they behave at the onset is key to making your project a success. Another way to successfully change how the people within your organisation behave is to showcase best practice and give examples of what can be achieved with the new environment.

For example, you could set up a ‘centre of excellence’ for cloud, with case studies of how applications have been used to successfully achieve an objective or outcome, and highlight these to the rest of your organisation to establish best practice.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that there is a trade-off between flexibility and security that needs to be understood. Working securely from any device is almost impossible, as not all devices can be made secure, while to work securely from anywhere might also not be possible if anywhere includes places your organisation considers insecure, for example, China. The key here is balance. Having robust security measures in place that are monitored regularly and mitigate risks will help to keep your environment, users and devices as secure as possible while still allowing a degree of flexibility.

Find out more

AMDH Services Ltd has a wealth of experience in Microsoft 365 design and migration. As an accredited Microsoft Partner, we can help you understand your organisation’s current environment and plan how to get your existing services into Microsoft 365. We can review and supply the licensing you require for Microsoft 365. We can also provide you with the best technical expertise at the right price to enhance the overall value of your investment in our services. 
To find out more, get in touch for an informal chat and a free consultation.