Do you want your organization to thrive when working from home? For free AvePoint solutions, kickstart sessions, and handy Microsoft Teams apps, check out our new WFH-ready kit!
Force Majeure is generally something referenced in a contract for unforeseeable circumstances, acts of nature, and other things that cannot be controlled by either side. An example of how this plays out can be seen in New York, where the prestigious Metropolitan Opera laid off all of its union employees amid the coronavirus pandemic.
From concerts, sporting events, and large gatherings to a spike in unemployment (even Amazon has limited incoming warehouse shipments to items deemed as relevant towards the coronavirus crisis), most companies are adopting a “work from home” policy.
Enabling Remote Workers
With the spread of coronavirus, our blog and much of the Microsoft community has showcased different ways Microsoft Teams can help remote workers working. Here’s but a small sample:
- Tips for working from home for Public Sector agencies
- An AvePoint first-hand account on working from home with Microsoft Teams
- [VIDEO] AvePoint’s Office 365 Hours discussion on remote work with Office 365
- Tony Redmond’s tips for working from home with Microsoft Teams
- Matt Wade’s guide for Remote Work
- Sven Seidenberg’s quick tips for Microsoft Teams
- Mark Rackley’s what NOT to do with Microsoft Teams while WFH
- Using Office 365 in crisis communication
This list could go on and on, and suffice to say there’s a plethora of information out there on how Microsoft Teams can enable your remote workforce. And for the most part, the tips are really helpful if you’re already using Teams. But what if you’re not?
Microsoft Teams is for You!
Microsoft Teams is FREE. Officially there’s a paid version and free version, with some interesting differences (mostly around storage and some of the higher-end audio/video features). However, as of early March, Microsoft is providing a six-month subscription to the paid version FOR FREE.
Interested in trying it out? Sign in with your work or school account here. Or your personal email like Gmail or Outlook.com here. Business? Check. Educational institution? Check. Government agency? Check. FREE. (NOTE: Government DOD and GCC-H still require paid subscriptions.)
Does the Infrastructure Scale?
Azure, the platform Office 365 and Teams are built on, is designed to scale with active/active design (multiple instances running similar jobs in geographically dispersed data centers) and fault isolation (the ability to partition the system when incidents are identified).
It’s not without fault. European servers and all related content had issues over the past week as more and more users took the leap to Teams. This was to be expected, but between the fault isolation and active/active design described above, this is a story about success, not failure. The Americas, China, and other regions continued to work without issue, and Europe was back online within two hours.
The Age of a Threenager
My 18-month-old is somewhere between the frustrating “I just learned how to communicate” throws of the terrible twos and the “I’m an independent man” of being a threenager. Microsoft Teams, on the other hand, has matured much more quickly.
Having just turned three, Microsoft Teams has really turned it on, with new features providing regular enhancements above and beyond its competitors. Its birthday announcement included some especially interesting features that caught my eye, including:
Offline and low-bandwidth support lets you read chat messages and write responses even without an internet connection, making it easier for you to move things forward no matter where you are.
In a time of the coolest, neatest, most bandwidth-hogging features, Microsoft is committed to your success, even in offline and low-bandwidth situations.
Real-time noise suppression helps to minimize distracting background noise, allowing you to hear what’s being said.
One of my coworkers recently tested some software-based noise cancelation, and we were impressed. My typing and his fan noise were both significantly decreased. During this work from home boom, features like these will be especially significant (not everyone has top of the line headphones and recording booths to work in, after all).
The raise hand feature lets anyone in the meeting send a visual signal that they have something to say.
My sales team has always had an online component to our weekly forecast calls, but now that everyone’s home, waiting for a break in the conversation to chip in has become harder and harder. I really look forward to seeing how the raised hand feature will work so the meeting facilitator can see who has something to add.
Move ’em on, head ’em up: Roll it Out
Let’s say I’ve convinced you to roll out Teams–or at least try it for a key segment of your organizations. What other things do you need to know?
- You can govern it. A lot. Microsoft Teams offers native governance tools, and where that isn’t enough tools like AvePoint’s Cloud Governance give you a lot of granular ability to ensure your data is safe.
- You can engage external users via guest and external access permissions. And the controls are also very granular. Conversations only? Sure. Documents only? Ok. Add apps? Done.
- Teams uses SharePoint for documents (and OneDrive for chat documents), so the power of SharePoint to ensure data security is yours.
- You can record your meetings, have automatic transcripts, invite the entire channel with a single click or invite just the right people, and so much more.
One last thing:
GOVERNANCE IS POSSIBLE!
I will shout it from the rooftops because I talk about this all day long. If you can, let’s talk governance right now. Call me. Seriously.
But if you need to roll out and get your business working, then do it. AvePoint can add governance after-the-fact. We can import all your newly created Teams into our tool, gather the required metadata to determine what policies need to be enacted, and we can get your data squared away after the fact. So call me tomorrow.
Either way, Microsoft Teams is absolutely here, not just for every day, but for today. Teams is helping AvePoint just like it’s helping thousands of other knowledge teams get through their new work from home situation and ensuring that the business, wherever possible, is business as usual.