How modern technology powers productivity during COVID-19

April 1, 2020

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Millions of Canadians are affected by the COVID-19 global pandemic. The Canadian government has highly encouraged people to practise social distancing, and some provincial governments have ordered non-essential businesses to close.

This crisis is also having a devastating impact on the global economy and how businesses operate. Distributed teams are the new normal. Most organizations are struggling to transition their employees from on-site to remote. Much is at stake. If employees are unable to remain productive, businesses will be severely impacted in the short and long term.

The modern workplace meets COVID-19

Fortunately, modern technologies enable employees to remain productive when working outside the office. These technologies come in various forms and from various companies. One company that excels at connecting workers in today’s economy is Microsoft. The company has a term for its focus on remote working: the ‘modern workplace.’ 

The remote work tools of Microsoft’s modern workplace allow employees to continue their day-to-day tasks working from anywhere on any device using a secure platform powered by the cloud. Their Office 365 technologies can work as standalone solutions, yet they impact companies even more when used a suite.

Most business leaders never anticipated a scenario like the COVID-19 pandemic. (One exception is Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, who famously mused about a potential deadly virus in a 2015 TED talk.) But the technologies developed for business as usual are now helping companies adapt and respond to a business climate that is anything but usual. In the time of COVID-19, Microsoft’s modern workplace closes the productivity gap for employees now working from their home office or kitchen table.

Microsoft’s remote work tools address four main pain points for everyone across the organization–from C-suite to entry level.

  1. Empowering productivity

    How can distributed teams match the efficiency of on-site teams? That’s the question answered by Microsoft’s Teams application. The app combines several functions to keep people and teams connected–whether they work side-by-side or virtually. It helps them chat, meet, call, and collaborate in one convenient digital location.

  1. Simple sharing and seamless collaboration

    To stay productive, team members need to collaborate. This is more than a mindset. Distributed teams depend on tangible tools to help them share files quickly and securely.

    Microsoft offers two technologies to support seamless collaboration: OneDrive and SharePoint. These file storage and sharing products are designed to help teams store, find, co-author, and update files from anywhere. Files can be shared both inside and outside the organization. Using OneDrive and SharePoint, management can bring people, content, and applications together for seamless collaboration.

  1. Engage and inform your organization

    The transition during the COVD-19 crisis has put communication on the agenda for senior management around the world. Impromptu chats in breakrooms and hallways no longer knit together informal office networks. Processes are now paramount.

    An intelligent intranet built on SharePoint enables employees to share and manage content, knowledge, and applications. Knowledge is power, and for teams it powers collaboration. With SharePoint, employees can consult a central repository of information and harness collective knowledge to stay engaged and productive. 

  1. Work remotely without feeling remote

    In the modern workplace, the office can be anywhere. How can employees stay connected?

    Connection depends on synchronization–not only among people but also among devices. With Office 365, employees connect from anywhere using Microsoft Office applications on PC, tablets, or mobile phones. Teams separated by the new coronavirus get worry-free email and calendars that are synchronized across all devices in real-time. They can also work on their own schedule–and join voice calls and video calls from anywhere.

From the COVID-19 crisis to the future

The Microsoft suite of collaboration tools in Office 365 is helping teams cope with the COVID-19 crisis. But the modern workplace will continue to build teams, increase collaboration, and foster productivity long after the current coronavirus crisis passes. The modern worker will then take the lessons learned to build stronger connections into the future. Office 365 and similar technologies will help companies collaborate and be productive–while keeping data and content secure.

To learn more about the modern workplace or to get started on transitioning to Office 365 tools and technologies, contact Jason Cigan at jcigan@bdo.ca.

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