Here we are in our new ‘work from home’ world. If your company uses Office 365 and SharePoint, there are many tools that you can use to keep close to your co-workers and stay productive while we stay safe during COVID-19.
The silver-lining of working from home is that this can be a good time to learn to use products to stay connected and efficient in your work. Here are some power tips for video, email and documents, to best use Office 365 and SharePoint while you are away from the office.
A note to IT managers who are supporting employees working remotely: we’re hosting an Ask the experts webinar: How can IT leaders support remote workers on Office 365 & SharePoint? Learn more.
This is a vital time to make sure workers find using SharePoint is simple. If your employees live in Office 365, but resist saving files to SharePoint, there are great Office add-ins for SharePoint Outlook Integration that let them keep working from their inbox, or Word or Excel and maintain SharePoint files for knowledge and records management. We can help you support remote teams.
How to use Teams for video meetings
Maybe you have never before turned on your computer’s video camera. We can all be camera shy. Seeing each other’s faces though is important to keep some human connection right now, and it really does make meetings more enjoyable. According to research firm Gigaom, 87 percent of remote users report feeling more connected to their teammates when using video conferencing. Everyone stays more alert and communication gets better because body language improves the comprehension dramatically.
Now is the time to find out how to use Office 365 web meeting software. Microsoft Teams is the communication hub for Office 365. If you’ve gotten comfortable with using Teams for text chat, moving to video is a natural next step. It really is easy. Microsoft offers a helpful video and step by step checklist to walk you through it. We strongly encourage starting meetings by replying to a conversation started as a way of keeping video conversations associated with channels or topics.
A note for newcomers – everyone gets an opportunity to test out how you look on camera, and how your home office looks on camera, before anyone else can see you. Like the screenshot below, if your camera is on, you’ll see a preview of what your video is displaying. Once you feel ready, you can give the “Meet now” okay for showtime.
Messy clutter at home? No problem, just put on a clean shirt, and fire up that camera with background blur turned on. Problem solved. So how about making it your goal this week, or even next time you have a Teams meeting, to turn on that camera?
How to use SharePoint to Share Documents
How do you typically share documents with your co-workers? Did you answer, “by email” or “by network drives?” Now that you are locked out of the office with uncertain VPN reliability, it is a really good time to modernize your approach and start using SharePoint.
Most of us don’t try new things, even if we know there could be advantages, because we’re truly creatures of habit. “This works, why change?”, is a frequent comment from employees when we talk to workers about using SharePoint to share files.
Likely, you have already been informed by your corporate IT of the advantages of SharePoint: Reduce the confusion of document versions floating around the office and make it easy to access files from any computer, anytime. Unlike OneDrive, which is a private file storage location, SharePoint lets you share files in a central location that all your co-workers can see – or at least whomever has appropriate access (e.g. confidential financial documents, saved just the finance and legal team).
Some people hesitate about sharing files using SharePoint, because they don’t know exactly how. No one is peering over your shoulder in your home office right now though (well maybe some members of your family are lurking but no one you need to worry about), so it’s a good time to get familiar with SharePoint features. A great place to start is with Microsoft tutorial on 10 things to do with SharePoint right now. You sure won’t be alone!
Perhaps the coolest thing about using SharePoint is sharing links to files. You know how after you send the boss an attachment, that’s when you immediately find something you missed? When you share a link to the document, you’re able to go make that fix often before the boss clicks the link and assesses your work. Sharing links to files in SharePoint is easy – Microsoft help lists the quick steps.
How to save Outlook email to SharePoint to prevent inbox chaos
In high stress situations like this COVID-19 virus where people are not working together in the office and communicating face to face, your email inbox can easily start overflowing and overwhelming you.
Just because our workdays have lost their familiar structure, don’t let your discipline slip on managing emails or files. This pandemic will pass. If you let your Outlook inbox run amok, it will be you who has to do all the cleanup in a few months. It’s a lot easier to keep things sorted starting right now.
Best practices in email management:
- Delete what you don’t need each week, don’t let it pile up.
- Save email to SharePoint for easy searching, sharing and collaboration.
- Set up a SharePoint library or folder in a library for the category of email you need to share. For example, “Contracts”, “Invoices To Pay”, “Work Orders”, and similar content types.
- Rather everyone saving a copy of emails, share a link to saved important emails in SharePoint.
The conventional way to save email to SharePoint is by dragging and dropping from Outlook to your desktop and then into SharePoint.
A more elegant solution is to use an Office Add In for Outlook like Colligo Email Manager for Office 365 which lets you save emails and attachments to SharePoint in a single-click. At the same time employees can extract important metadata like sender, date, subject and so on automatically, and automatically save outlook attachments to SharePoint. Saving metadata makes it easy to sort and search emails in SharePoint down the road. Once the emails are saved and shared in SharePoint, any member of the team can view and collaborate on them. If they are emails to clients for example, the whole sales or service team can stay apprised of contract requirements or invoice charges.
How to use Office 365 and SharePoint with low bandwidth
If Internet bandwidth is an issue as you work from home, there are great syncing tools that can help you work faster. Look at Colligo Briefcase for easy-to-use offline SharePoint access. Briefcase enables you to take an entire SharePoint library, or just a particular folder, and view it offline. Once the content is offline, you can make changes without any bandwidth lags and then automatically sync back the changes when you reconnect.
If you ask, IT teams are generally glad to put Briefcase in place because they can automate the push of libraries, folders, and views to the worker, saving them time and effort.
Want to make using SharePoint and Office 365 easier?
Colligo helps employees to find information, work productively and collaborate faster using SharePoint, and do it all right from Outlook and Office applications. Get the benefits of SharePoint but make it simpler for employees.
Colligo Office 365 add-ins can be deployed in 10 minutes, organization-wide without any desktop visits or installs…perfect for times like these when IT resources are heavily taxed.
Learn a little more or put in a good word with your IT manager:
Colligo Briefcase – Offline access to SharePoint and Office 365 for iOS and Windows.
We’re glad to give tours of Colligo products right for your environment. Request a demo.
Our Colligo team is working from home offices but 100% at the ready to help you out.
We hope these SharePoint and Office 365 tips are helpful as we all try and stay healthy and productive. Remember that face to face contact with your workmates can help. Yes, today’s the day to turn on that video camera.