Since COVID-19 hit, interoffice communication has been a challenge for many companies. Because it happened so quickly, most were not prepared to make the change from working in the office to working from home.
But there were some companies that had a business model with the flexibility to work remotely. They had already been working under at least a hybrid version of that model for years. These were more able to weather the shutdowns and restrictions. Others had business models in which they had to work from the office. They had not yet previously explored the remote possibilities.
As an IT Service company, we have technicians moving throughout the southern parts of Idaho and the northern parts of Utah on a regular basis. Our business requires us to be consistently remotely connected. So, we were one of the companies that had already incorporated the remote interoffice communication and collaboration tools.
& The Cloud
The number one tool that all businesses need to start with to maintain communication in a remote working environment is the Cloud. But what exactly is the Cloud? The Cloud is a large group of Internet Servers that store your data and services – software and applications. In the stone ages, everything had to be stored locally on your personal computer’s hard drive or on your company’s server. That made it so you could only access them from a specific location. But now, through Cloud Computing, data and services are stored on a network of computers that give you access from any location, even from your mobile phone.
The recent pandemic has made it very clear why using the Cloud is vital in maintaining business communication. Being a technology company, we have been using cloud tools like Autotask PSA and Microsoft Teams for a while.
A PSA is a Professional Services Automation system. It is a technology platform that provides a large array of communication tools like the following:
- expense management
- service desk
- project management
- Ticketing system
- time tracking
- resource planning
- business intelligence
- notes and messaging
This system is crucial for our external communication with clients and our internal communication with service engineers. Other businesses use a similar type of software that is specifically created for their type of business. Medical offices use EHR (electronic health records) and EMR (electronic medical records). Accounting offices use accounting software packages. And fulfillment centers use logistics software.
Microsoft Teams is an interoffice communication tool that also provides a large array of tools under one roof. There’s no shortage of communication tools on the market, but we have found Teams to be the one bond holding it all together during this pandemic. In our experience, using multiple devices or programs to do our jobs is not as efficient as using one stream-lined tool. With Teams, we can track our processes and workflows, host conversations around certain projects or tasks, and share files. Additionally, you can access Teams on your desktop or mobile device.
The most useful features of Microsoft Teams for us have been:
Interoffice Communication through Chat
No matter where we are or what time of day, we can receive a chat message. It comes in exactly like a text message on our mobile phones, desktop computers, and laptops. If we’re working from home or in the field, we can still stay connected with the rest of our team members. If we can’t respond to the message immediately, we receive the traditional notification, and the message is saved in a secure location until we can. We can review the history of any conversation in the chat string.
Video Conferencing Is a Touch Away
We can start a video chat with the touch of one button. Microsoft Teams tracks Co-worker availability – free, busy, or offline. This way we know when someone can take our video call. And one really nice advantage is the video quality is high whether we’re using our desktop or mobile phone.
Video conferencing is also great for company meetings. It has a capacity of 250 people. It’s easy to invite someone from outside of our organization to a video meeting by sending them a link. They can access the meeting via their browser.
Channels Organize Interoffice Communication
A channel is a private group that only invited team members can see. We have set up channels for departments like service engineers, sales, and marketing. Additionally, segregating individual projects has increased our organization and productivity. Channels house all of our discussions and documents. It’s a lot easier to catch up on a project when it is all in one place.
File Sharing through Chat Facilitates Project Management
Because some team members are in Idaho and others are in Utah, we have to remotely collaborate on all projects. Through the chat we share out links, co-authored articles, agendas, pdfs, presentations, videos, images, screen shots, and spreadsheets. The files are stored in Teams by channel. We access them by clicking on the “Files” button in the top menu. During video conference meetings, we share the agenda and other files that we’re working on together. Teams makes communication and collaboration even better than face to face meetings.
Working remotely doesn’t have to be an overwhelming challenge. If your company is still struggling with it, please Contact Us Here or give us a call at (844) 400-0616. We can help you get set up with the Cloud services you need like Microsoft Teams to regain efficient interoffice communication and productivity.