The coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on the traditional ways of working. Most businesses were faced with only 2 choices – shut shop or work remotely. Epidemiologists were certain that the only way to curtail the spread of the pandemic was to foster a work from home culture, where physical interaction was limited, thus becoming a step in the right direction to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. However, this was easier said than done.
Those that were already at the cutting-edge of technology and had invested in software development services and modern IT environments and infrastructure had a head start on the rest.
The rest that tried to succeed in the changing competitive landscape were forced to look for technological solutions to ensure that business productivity and success were not compromised.
Many employees that weren’t used to working remotely found themselves in unfamiliar territory – having to learn and use new apps and technologies while still optimizing their time and delivering on their commitments.
Fortunately, the work from home culture was boosted by technological advances, and Microsoft solutions were, and continue to be, at the forefront of this digital work from home revolution.
Using Microsoft solutions, employees found that they saved significant amounts of time that they would otherwise spend on commuting back and forth to work. Quality also got a boost as employees were more focussed on their work.
Simultaneously, some data showed that businesses saved an average of $11000 per part-time worker per remote worker. The number of employees missing work also drastically reduced.
So, what was Microsoft’s role in helping vast workforces to seamlessly work from home? Below we list out some software development services that helped in the transition to remote working.
- Microsoft Office 365
Many firms that transitioned to a work-from-home setup used Microsoft Office 365 to aid in the transition. Office 365 enables users to gain access to all the applications they are used to and trust, including:
- MS Outlook – this provided employees with substantial email and calendar capabilities
- MS Word – this hugely successful document creation and processing app was a boon to those developing content
- MS Excel – this provided users with powerful spreadsheet and data analysis capabilities
- OneDrive – with MS Office 365, users got a free 1TB of free storage
- PowerPoint – this was highly useful to those looking to make presentations
- OneNote – this provided powerful note-taking capabilities to users
- MS Teams – this was a gamechanger and provided powerful video conferencing capabilities
- MS Publisher – this was lapped up by those publishing content or documentation
- Microsoft Intune
Microsoft Intune has powerful capabilities and allows relevant stakeholders to manage both employee-owned and company-owned devices from the cloud. A variety of devices can be managed, including mobile devices, laptops, and tablets. Several operating systems can also be managed. These include iOS, Android, and Windows. Microsoft Intune can also be integrated with other services, including Azure Active Directory or Microsoft Office 365, to ensure greater control of access abilities. The way it works includes:
- It allows users to set rules for company- and personal-owned devices used to access data and networks
- It can be used to deploy and authenticate applications on all devices, whether on-premises or mobile
- It keeps apps and devices secure and compliant with industry-specific regulations.
- Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams was a gamechanger that fostered enhanced collaboration among employees, vendors, suppliers, and other stakeholders in companies. It did this by providing advanced video conferencing capabilities, which transformed the remote workforce. It is, at the fundamental level, a chat- and video-based workspace that has all the tools, communication capabilities, and documents to enable teams to work from home. Being easily integrated with other key apps and services, it allows for:
- Creating communication channels around specific projects or teams
- Assigning tasks
- Editing documents
- Creating tags to track projects or work as they’re being done
- Accessing the platform from a wide range of devices with automatic integration and syncing.
- Microsoft Virtual Desktop
This useful solution allows employers to give their employees access to their work computers. All the settings, apps, and data can be accessed from home through the cloud. Together with Microsoft Cloud App Security, employees can be given conditional browser access to ensure greater security of apps and data against threats.
It is clear that the pandemic has irreversibly changed the way we come together and work. The concept of an office workspace has been transformed into a digital one, where digital solutions and tools and used for collaboration and communication.
And Microsoft has been leading this digital work from the home revolution with a suite of highly useful and valuable solutions and tools. Businesses that invested early on in technology were able to ride the wave of disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic while those that weren’t ready faced severe hardships.
The lesson might be to continually invest in new technologies and software development so that you are better positioned to deal with disruptions to normal operations.