In this 15-minute video blog post, Velosio’s Chief Human Resources Officer shares her perspective on enabling, supporting and motivating the remote worker. She discusses the importance of communication, accountability, training and maintaining personal and professional connections with employees who seldom, if ever, come into an office.
“We have always had remote workers, but like most companies the percentage of our team working from home has risen dramatically since the pandemic,” says Liz Corey, Chief Human Resources Officer for Velosio. “Water cooler talks, stopping by someone’s office and other positive collisions are no longer part of the equation so we have to be creative and intentional in how we leverage technology to close the communication gap”.
The interview is hosted by Keith Goedde, Director of Cloud Services at Velosio, as a part of the ongoing “Velosio ViewPoint Series” where Velosio’s employees, partners and even clients share their perspective on key business and technology topics.
“It’s all about leveraging the technology you have, from payroll and benefits systems to video, email and mobile communications to create the best possible employee experience,” shares Liz.
What are the Best Technologies to Support a Positive Remote Worker Experience?
As one of Microsoft’s largest cloud services partners worldwide, Velosio has a stronger grasp than most on how to leverage tools like Microsoft Office 365. Velosio helps clients to stand up and manage their cloud infrastructure, individual productivity software, collaboration and even core sales, ERP, marketing, analytics and other business management solutions.
“I thought we had a lock on taking advantage of the Microsoft cloud, but even as a company made up of software experts, we had room to grow,” stated Keith. “This seemed like a great time to share a list of helpful communication and collaboration tools for those just starting or looking to accelerate their digital journey”.
Microsoft Office 365 is a Bottomless Pool of Value to Remote Workers
Office 365 is a deep, deep pool of resources for the modern office worker, so we won’t try to cover them all. You can head out to office.com and pick up any number of articles to do that. Below are just a few of the tools a company might leverage daily to improve communication and collaboration with a newly formed remote workforce.
Perhaps the most powerful solution to unite a distributed organization, Microsoft Teams offers just about everything a company needs to stay connected. It provides everything from video sharing and calling to file sharing, calendaring, chat and task management under a single interface. Most importantly, Teams helps companies to build a more collaborative culture.
With online meetings becoming the norm, it helps to train team members on how Microsoft Stream can be used to share video content and recorded meetings on any device. Many companies rely on Stream to increase engagement and knowledge retention for training and education. Everyone can contribute content with peer-to-peer information sharing.
When paired with Microsoft Outlook, OneNote can become a remote worker’s best friend. When your next meeting begins, right-click on the calendar item in Outlook and select “Meeting Notes”. This will open a new page in your notebook linked to the meeting and automatically add the names of everyone on the invitation list. It even lets you check a box next those who show. Take your notes and choose to “share with the group” or keep to yourself. Voice recording, drawings, screen-clips from your online meeting, audio commentaries are all available and can be tagged with categories or due dates.
Microsoft Whiteboard is a freeform, digital canvas where people, content, and ideas take shape online. You can use Whiteboard for collaborating with your team when spread out over multiple locations. There are even a variety of templates available from the menu, like Brainstorming, SWOT, Project Planning, Persona Builder, Sprint Planning and many more.
Not all companies grounded in Office 365 take advantage of Yammer, but for those who do it can provide a fantastic way to improve corporate communications. Yammer is a unique take on enterprise social networking and is designed to operate similar to cloud services like Facebook, only the audience is made up of employees only. It was first launched as part of Office 365 in 2014 and is now leveraged by nearly all of the Fortune 500.
Microsoft Viva, which is new to Office 365 in 2021, is an employee experience platform that brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights. With Viva, foster a culture where people and teams are empowered to be their best when working remotely. Microsoft Viva Topics helps people put knowledge to work, using AI to surface expertise in the apps they use every day. Viva Topics automatically organizes content across apps and teams with built-in security and compliance features. To learn more, check out this 10-minute overview of Microsoft Viva by Satya Nadella.
Microsoft Power Apps
Power Apps are part of the Microsoft Power Platform, which includes a number of solutions that help businesses create solutions to unique challenges without resorting to the complexity and cost of traditional software development. Companies can create slick, easy-to-use mobile apps and make them available to employees working from home, traveling or providing field work.
Of course, there are a lot of steps involved in securing licenses, rolling out solutions to the team and ensuring a safe, secure experience. Velosio can work with your company to create a digital roadmap that will help to maximize the value of your investment.
Below are a couple of resources to check out:
Empower Remote Workers Poster (produced by Microsoft)
Remote Workers Like Fun too…
Again, these are only a few of the resources available to remote workers as part of the Office 365 suite. The point is that most companies already have access to more than enough tools to outfit a remote workforce to communicate, collaborate and participate in corporate culture. The most important step a company can take is to be purposeful in building a culture of communication and collaboration.
Use all of this “communication power” to get feedback from your team and act upon it. Document sharing and shared whiteboards are only part of the solution. Digital Town Halls, virtual happy hours, awards/recognition and even just a quick “check-in” via chat all go a long way to helping employees know they’re valued.
“Make sure you’re setting your goals and objectives, and that accountability and a line of communication is clear with all of your team members,” says Liz. “It is up to managers to check in with remote workers, even when you think they’re ok. And have fun!”
About Liz Corey
Liz Corey joined Velosio in October 2020 and is now guiding the company’s human resource strategy with deep expertise in talent acquisition, communications, employment brand, organizational design, training, total rewards and overall HR leadership. Prior to Velosio, Corey served as a VP of Human Resources for Integrated Supply Network and VP of Global Human Resources for Pilgrim Quality Solutions. Corey graduated from Rutgers University with a Masters in Organizational Development and Human Resources Management.