It appears that for many workers, the traditional 9-5 in the office is a thing of the past, with most businesses now operating on a fully remote or hybrid basis.
A 2021 study by NUI Galway found that more than 95% of people favour some form of remote working, citing greater flexibility and an increase in productivity as two of the top benefits.
However, building and maintaining company culture inside hybrid or remote models poses a variety of challenges, including distance, time differences, connectivity issues, and a possible lack of physical team-building.
Nonetheless, it is achievable with the right tools and systems.
In a previous article, we outlined our top tips for maximising your team’s productivity with Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) for Windows 11.
Today we will discuss building good remote working culture with Microsoft 365 by using the overall suite to develop workplace culture regardless of location.
Microsoft 365 is designed with remote work in mind
A healthy workplace culture benefits you, your employees, and the organisation as a whole. But in the absence of in-person meetings and team-building exercises, how do you build a strong sense of company culture? How do you navigate language barriers and the challenges of maintaining productivity across distances and time zones?
Microsoft 365 has several features that make it easier than ever to connect, communicate and collaborate seamlessly with your team.
- Ease of use
- Multi-user functionality
- Collaborative tools
Let’s take a look at how you can leverage Microsoft 365’s powerful features to build and maintain a strong workplace culture, no matter where your employees are located.
Utilising features in Microsoft 365 to support remote working
Use Teams to communicate and stay connected
Microsoft Teams is the communication tool of choice for millions of employees, allowing them to chat, call, email and collaborate from anywhere and on any device.
A virtual meeting is also the perfect way to welcome new employees and introduce them to the rest of the team. This lays the groundwork for positive working relationships and helps to build a sense of connection in distributed teams.
Use SharePoint to communicate company values and expectations
Healthy workplace culture starts with having strong company values that everyone upholds and believes in.
In Microsoft 365, you can create a SharePoint site that outlines your company values and workplace culture, including the roles and responsibilities of each employee. You can then make this site a tab in the General channel so that it’s visible and easily accessible by everyone in your organisation.
Schedule non-work-related meetings in Calendar
Socialising is an important element of team building, but this may not be physically possible when working remotely. Use the Calendar feature for scheduling meetings and appointments as well as virtual breaks.
Virtual breaks provide an opportunity for team members to check in with each other, discuss how their day is going, and offer support to those who need it. This will help to strengthen their bond as a team and contribute to healthy working culture.
Connect on a personal level using channels
A channel is a location in a team where you can collaborate with others about a specific topic. A team can have multiple channels for different purposes, including chatting about personal things like family and hobbies.
Use Viva Insights to enhance wellbeing
Microsoft Viva is an ‘employee experience platform’ designed to foster a culture of human connection, purpose, growth, and wellbeing in hybrid work environments. Viva Insights is a useful feature that allows employees to get personal insights on their performance, have virtual commutes, scheduled breaks, and even participate in meditations and mindfulness exercises.
Teammates can send praise and encouragement to each other, helping to foster a sense of community and belonging. They can also choose an emoji that reflects their emotional state, allowing managers to see how their employees are feeling at work.
Manager and leader insights provide recommendations for improving your team’s wellbeing, productivity, and engagement. You can also see if any of your team members are at risk of burnout.
Set boundaries with notifications
One of the challenges of working remotely is feeling like you have to be available 24/7. Being on high alert all the time leads to stress and burnout, which will have a negative effect on the well-being and productivity of the entire team.
Avoid this by encouraging your employees to use the Notifications feature in Microsoft Teams. They can let others know when they are available to chat and when they don’t want to be disturbed.
Building good remote working culture with Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 offers the ultimate complete remote working solution, with powerful features that encourage meaningful connections across your organisation.
As a certified Microsoft Gold Partner, Calnet IT Solutions can offer the full 365 suite along with our dedicated support team.
Whether your business is operating on a fully remote or hybrid basis, our expertise and our services can help you to develop a positive and vibrant working culture.
Contact us today to find out more.