When Coronavirus impacted the world in 2019, it impacted our lifestyle in more ways than we could imagine. From graduating online to embracing remote work, we retracted to the safety of our homes. In this article, we discuss how remote work is definitely the new normal and how certain tools like Microsoft SharePoint can help you navigate it better.
Remote work is not a new concept. A large chunk of corporate employees was working remotely before the pandemic hit us but it was neither a norm nor a long-term strategy.
After the Covid-19 outbreak, however, the corporate world woke up to the benefits of remote work and its possibility of being a long-term alternative to traditional office spaces. Many companies like Shopify and Fujitsu have already declared themselves to be remote-first while others like Twitter and Hitachi have opted for partial remote work.
While the sudden shift to WFH happened due to the pandemic, it opened up avenues for organizations to realize the many benefits of remote work. Be it tapping into a global talent or providing flexible work hours to the existing workforce, remote work enables multiple benefits that were not easy to reap earlier.
As per a survey conducted by PwC which reflects the view of 669 CEOs leading private companies and public businesses, there has been a considerable shift towards remote teams, virtual collaboration, automation and low-density workplaces.
In fact, the acceptance of remote work culture has also accelerated digitization in many industries and countries which were earlier reluctant about working remotely. When the pandemic started to impact the work culture, many top leaders realized that their resilience and performance during these times would depend majorly on their digital capabilities.
During the survey , a CEO from a construction company admitted to have changed their mindset to adapt to the changing work environment and have also observed that employees and customers are now more open to working with digital platforms than before.
“[We have] changed the ways we work, from [styles] we thought were inviolate to radically different structures and processes. This is supported through the greater use of digital and technological solutions and adopting a more flexible and trusting mentality.” — Engineering & construction CEO, UK
Similarly, the need to serve customers uninterruptedly has also sped the automation process in organizations across the globe. There has been an increased focus on meaningful work rather than carrying out routine tasks during the pandemic and this stress on automation is most likely to continue.
In the pre-pandemic era, Microsoft Teams had about 32 million active users which later touched 75 million as people started working from home. As the situation persisted and people realized the need for online collaboration tools, the number of users too grew and has reached up to 145 million in 2021.
And Microsoft Teams is not the only solution to have witnessed projectile growth during this period. Other collaboration tools like Zoom, Jira, Slack and Asana too have bloomed during the pandemic and became a necessity for organizations.
Similarly, Intranet is now an even more crucial part of the operational process. Tools like SharePoint had always been useful but they emerged as a saviour during these tough times. From centralizing organizational data, setting up organization-wide communication to enabling smoother communication within distributed teams, the intranet has proven to be the unsung hero of the corporate world.
Backed by the power of Cloud technology, Microsoft SharePoint has helped remote teams stay on the same page and collaborate without any hassles. Just like Teams, Microsoft SharePoint, too, has shown tremendous growth last year.
As per a report, 57.3% of organizations completed a SharePoint or Microsoft 365 migration in 2020—and 83.6% of that group said their migration project either proceeded on schedule or was accelerated due to Covid-19.
As workplaces disintegrated into remote teams, it was digital solutions like SharePoint intranet that enabled them to sustain and even flourish during these times.
The City of Victoria Municipal Government consists of over 1,000 employees who ensure that the beautiful city is managed well. Since 2014, it has been using a legacy system for sharing information amongst employees.
However, when the pandemic hit and the team started to work from home, the Government realized that its team needed more. Hence, the officials decided to build a dynamic intranet based on SharePoint which helps them keep their records safe, circulates the latest news and updates, enables employees to share and celebrate their achievements with their colleagues.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the CIO’s intranet has been a central source of information and its team has responded well – the adoption rate is proof!
So, what is it that makes SharePoint different from other platforms? What are those SharePoint features that make managing remote employees simpler? Will it be as effective in a small or mid-sized company as it would be in a large enterprise?
We break these reasons down for you in our next section and help you decide if your remote employees can benefit from SharePoint –
Imagine having an exclusive website where you can upload company-wide announcements on the homepage, create different departments and roles and have access to an exclusive dashboard for every employee?
That’s what SharePoint Intranet does for your company.
Many organizations depend on eMails and other methodologies to keep their employees updated and in touch. But, sending an eMail or a group chat ping for every small issue is a time-taking process that could be avoided with a SharePoint intranet. In fact, it lessens any chance of confusion as the workflow remains documented and one can track the progress of the tasks easily.
SharePoint allows employees to freely exchange ideas, clear their doubts and always focus on the larger picture. Unlike eMails and group chats, SharePoint provides a secure space where a team can work remotely but still stay attuned to the company culture.
Especially during remote work, employees tend to feel isolated and alone. Having an exclusive platform meant only for your organization brings a sense of shared space and identity amongst remote employees.
Whether you have a remote team or you’re back at the office, you would always need a digital workspace.
A digital workspace is a technology framework that centralizes an organization’s data and resources which its team can access from anywhere and any device. It boosts productivity and virtual collaboration while ensuring data protection.
And what could be a better alternative than Microsoft-powered SharePoint to establish your digital workspace?
With a modern document management system that allows hundreds of people to collaborate on a single file to the ease of checking the pending and completed tasks, SharePoint features ensure that your team, whether remote or otherwise, has all the tools to collaborate virtually.
SharePoint minimizes the need for physical togetherness to ensure productivity and effectiveness. It simplifies the process of managing remote employees with clear delegation and accountability. It fosters collaboration with centralized management and transparent access.
There’s more to SharePoint than file sharing, version control, and holiday announcements. It is a part of the Microsoft Suite and leverages its features to make a company’s intranet insightful and supportive.
What this means is that your intranet could not only keep historical data safe but use it to help you make better estimates and formulate better strategies. You can integrate SharePoint with Power BI to leverage the power of AI and real-time data analytics.
SharePoint features like workflows help in automating routine tasks and streamlining everyday operations at a workplace. From getting approvals to requesting feedback and digital signatures, an organization can customize these built-in workflows according to their specific requirements.
With the inclusion of tools like Power Automate and Power App in SharePoint, an organization can easily create automated workflows between different applications and synchronize data sharing and knowledge management.
Today, the functions of an organization depend on multiple applications. Your organization may already be working with certain applications before you decide on SharePoint implementation or you may come across an app that you would like to leverage in your operations.
With SharePoint, you do not have to worry about any restraints or limitations when it comes to third-party applications and plug-ins. A good SharePoint consulting partner can help you integrate your legacy applications with SharePoint.
Whether you plan to continue remote work or move to a hybrid work culture or get back to the office as soon as the situation improves, investing in SharePoint will benefit your organization in the long run.
In today’s global environment, it’s important for organizations to fully embrace digitization and empower their employees with tools that can help them collaborate on the go. A SharePoint intranet is much more than that – it makes working in teams simpler while protecting the company’s data and streamlining processes simultaneously.
Trusted by hundreds of leading brands across the globe and powered by Microsoft, SharePoint can bring in much-needed orderliness and professionalism to the way your organization operates.
Finally, we would like to conclude by stating that Microsoft SharePoint is bound to boost your productivity – be it with remote teams or otherwise.