We are all working from home these days and the tools for remote working are a godsend. People are using Zoom, Google Hangouts, Slack, and of course, Microsoft Teams. For many businesses, Microsoft Teams is closing the distance between us by enabling real-time collaboration via audio and video calls with colleagues. Some of us are even using Teams to set up meetings with external parties like customers, suppliers, and partners. And it works great (usually… note the outage in Europe last week).
But as we scramble to stay on top of business from home (with considerable background noise from the kids and other family members), it is important to remember that there is more to getting work done than speaking to colleagues via video calls and virtual conferences. Some of us are chatting with colleagues using Teams conversations. Email is also playing a critical role in connecting us to other folks, both inside and outside the organization. And almost everyone is working with documents to further normal business for things like contracts, proposals, project plans, engineering diagrams, and emergency business continuity. And here lies one of the biggest problems we are dealing with today.
Working from home puts people on a virtual island. You can’t just walk down the hall and ask a colleague where they stored the latest version of the contract we are working on and you can’t huddle the team around the water cooler to do a quick sync on the latest project. On our virtual work island, we need to be self-sufficient. What that means for a lot of folks is making sure they have all the documents and resources at the tip of their fingers. With all the stress of working from home, people don’t want the added burden of having to spend valuable time searching for documents, especially if they can’t be sure these will be the latest versions.
The solution for many remote workers is to hoard information on the local drive of their home computer or work laptop. Everyone has their own copy of the ‘truth’ and that works…. until it doesn’t. When contracts need to be reviewed and proposals need to be updated, what ensues is document chaos; the kind of chaos that is not only unproductive, it can be catastrophic when incorrect versions of documents are sent to customers and suppliers. These documents often contain corporate commitments; you just can’t afford to drop the ball.
The solution to this problem is creating order out of chaos using the Microsoft tools you already have. This involves invoking some simple business processes and making it easy for people to do the right thing. First of all, you need to make sure that instead of hoarding documents on local drives, everything that colleagues need to access is stored in a centralized location. Then, content has to be classified correctly so others can find it easily. But this is easier said than done. People are in a hurry and all this storing and classifying takes time.The key is making this process transparent and simple enough so that everyone will do it. It sounds complicated and it can be, but harmon.ie makes this simple for even the most technophobic worker on your team.