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Remote working apps that will make your life easier

Hopefully this article can open your eyes to the Microsoft applications you might not have been using, and help you be more productive even when you’re not in the office.

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Right now, around a third of the UK workforce is working remotely. For many, it’s the first time they’ve worked this way and it’s not likely to change anytime soon.

Businesses around the world have adapted to remote working using mobile technology and cloud-based applications.

While companies have been looking for services to help their employees work from home, they might have been ignoring some classic software that was right in front of them all along.

Most businesses will already have a Microsoft Office 365 subscription, but do they know about all the applications that come with it that make remote working easier?

Cloud-based document creation with the Office 365 suite

If your business gives you access to an Office 365 subscription, you’ll be able to use the full suite of applications from wherever you are.

This includes:

  • Word for word processing documents
  • Excel for spreadsheets
  • Outlook for email and calendar
  • PowerPoint for presentations
  • SharePoint for storing documents
  • OneNote for taking notes
  • OneDrive for hosting files

The primary features offer everything you need to get work done and share documents through the cloud.

It’s familiar and functional, and even better, it’s scalable and secure.

But did you know that it also comes with even more useful yet often-overlooked applications like the ones below?

Video calls with Skype

2020 may have been dominated by Zoom, but Skype is still as reliable as ever and is ideal for remote working.

The main reason being that if you have Skype for Business, it integrates directly with your Office 365 suite. Which means you can launch a video call directly through Powerpoint if you’re giving a presentation.

Unlike going through the hassle of opening Zoom and then sharing your screen and hoping everything works.

Last year, Microsoft reported experiencing 40 million daily Skype users and a 220% increase in calling minutes due to global lockdowns affecting daily life and work. 

It’s still one of the most popular tools for video chats around the world.

Since many people have used Skype before in their personal lives, they don’t need extra training to learn how to use a brand new video conferencing application.

Real-time communication with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is slowly replacing Skype for Business with more than 115 million users, as it incorporates similar features in the Teams application:

  • One-on-one chats
  • Private messaging
  • Group chats
  • File sharing within chats
  • Teams for specific groups
  • News channels within teams
  • Voice calls
  • Video conferencing
  • Meetings
  • Live events

As well as instant messaging, Teams allows hosts to record audio or video for playback, which is useful for training or catching up on missed events.

It makes real-time collaboration much easier and keeps everybody involved in each project up to speed without tangled email threads. 

Again, you don’t need to waste your budget on single-use meeting software when Teams is already integrated into Office 365.

Social networking with Yammer

One of the lesser-known applications in the Office 365 suite is Yammer, which is an internal social media platform, like a company-only Facebook.

Yammer allows more informal communication across the whole company, so people aren’t limited to their individual groups on Teams if they have a query or suggestion.

It’s designed to encourage enterprise-wide transparency and boost engagement, through sharing information and establishing company culture.

There aren’t really any user statistics available for Yammer, which suggests that it’s one of Microsoft’s under-used features.

If you want to give Yammer a try to help colleagues to keep in touch, it’s integrated with all Office 365 apps, with trackable usage data available in Microsoft Insights.

Document discovery with Delve

Another extremely useful but barely talked about app is Delve, an intelligent navigation interface designed to speed up searches and improve productivity.

Powered by Office Graph, it uses AI to rapidly search through all your documents across your Office 365 applications and present the ones you’re most likely to be looking for at any given time.

It does this using messaging and calendars to identify which documents you’ll want to access and when.

Delve also lets you create boards for specific projects and assign documents to them so they’re always ready for you to access.

Many people don’t seem to be aware of Delve and how much time it could save them instead of rummaging around in cloud storage folders.

Are you getting the most out of Microsoft tools while you’re working at home?

If your company is one of the million-plus businesses subscribing to Microsoft Office services worldwide, can you truthfully say that you’re getting the most out of this package?

Hopefully this article can open your eyes to the Microsoft applications you might not have been using, and help you be more productive even when you’re not in the office.

These secure cloud-based Microsoft apps are also available on mobile devices like business mobile phones, making it easier than ever to work from anywhere.

Have any thoughts on this? Let us know down below in the comments or carry the discussion over to our Twitter or Facebook.

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