SharePoint and Office 365 in times of the global pandemic of COVID-19
"This has especially been a great asset during forced work-at-home time. It allows my team to continue to work together as if in person. I love that this enables our team, all working from various locations, to collaborate and work on the same things without having to use shared drives on our work computers."
– SharePoint review by Chelsea D., Clinical Manager
Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, companies around the world are mandating remote work for business continuity. This led to an increase in the demand for tools that enable remote work and increase collaboration. SharePoint and Office 365 are among those high in demand tools that enable remote work, help team members to stay productive, and enable real-time collaboration. In this article, we'll review Microsoft Office tools and SharePoint for remote work and collaboration.
SharePoint has been around for almost two decades, and it is Microsoft's most popular enterprise-ready web service. It can be used for storing data, increasing team collaboration and for document management in high-demanding enterprise environments. Administrators can use SharePoint to create easy-to-use SharePoint sites for multiple purposes, including project management, employee onboarding, document management, and much more. With SharePoint you get the following benefits;
- Unmatched Collaboration: Team members can stay connected from remote locations and collaborate on the assigned projects, thanks to co-authoring, multiple users can work on the same file, at the same time, with real-time updates in the file.
- Customization: SharePoint is highly customizable; administrators can customize their SharePoint according to their needs. They can even integrate out of the box SharePoint portals according to their industry needs. If you are looking for easy to use, highly customizable SharePoint templates, try Infowise solutions.
- Centralized Administration: Thanks to centralized administration, administrators can assign roles to team members. Assign sharing and editing roles as needed.
- Security and Integrity: Not only is SharePoint follows compliance such as HIPAA, but it is also highly secure due to multi-layer security features like two-factor authentication, permission management
- Easy to use: SharePoint and Office 365 are easy to use enterprise solution, which helps businesses save cost and time spent in training the employees to use the platform.
Due to a sharp increase in the demand for a video conferencing tool, Microsoft has made the full version of Microsoft Teams available for free as part of their E1 payment plan for Office365. It is one of the most efficient software currently available in the market, allowing team members to stay connected and enabling collaborative work. With Teams, you can quickly reach out to any member of your team, share files with team members, conduct team meetings, and much more. It's an all in one solution for collaboration and remote work.
Unlike an office environment, you can't hand over a print-out of a file to your coworker when working from home. But with OneDrive you can easily share files and folders with your team members; the file type can be of any kind, whether it's a text document, audio, video, complete project or more.
Word and Excel
One of Office 365's advantages is its collaborative functionality integrated into native programs like Word and Excel. In Word, for example, you can add comments to your document so that others can respond and provide their input. This mimics the processes of a team meeting where many people can open the document at once and edit it at the same time when the document is uploaded to OneDrive or SharePoint.
OneNote + Outlook
Although you can eliminate the need for email if you are using SharePoint or MS Teams but still if you prefer email, you can use Outlook and pair it with OneNote (expected to discontinue in October of this year) during remote work. Why? Because It can get a bit hectic when you're working from home, and it may be hard to stay on top of the required work. Fortunately, you can use OneNote integrated with Outlook to help improve your collaboration via email. Outlook alone, as we've mentioned before, is a perfect way to communicate, but when combined with OneNote, you can do a lot more.
For example, team members can convert Outlook emails into notes, attach a message, and send it to fellow team members. If you use MS Teams or Skype (expected to discontinue in June 2021), you can share the OneNote file with your team members individually or with everyone during a team meeting. You can also add it to your OneNote notebook and take extra notes, and even use it to create tasks on Outlook.
This coronavirus outbreak is a test for all; businesses are required to pivot their processes into a collaborative remote working environment. To successfully achieve that, businesses must use the right enterprise solutions. SharePoint and Office 365 are more than capable of handling your remote working needs and providing unmatched collaboration. And with SharePoint's customization capabilities and industry-based or business process based SharePoint portals, you can enhance your SharePoint's capabilities even more. Business continuity is important in order to prevent another catastrophic situation of unemployment after this pandemic is over; that's why companies must provide remote work options if they can, instead of firing employees.
More importantly, we all must adhere to the guidelines provided by the local authorities, practice social distancing, wash our hands, wear a face mask, and care for those in need.
Wishing the best of health to you all!
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