Remote Working For You and Your Business

Home working, remote working, teleworking, WFH – whatever you call it, working remotely is on the rise.

There are a number of reasons for this, our roads are getting more and more clogged with cars, pushing up the average daily commute time significantly. Public transport is either not an option, due to the infrequency of the service or its spiraling cost make it an uneconomic option. Even organisations are affecting the need for more teleworking as they close there regional centres meaning local office’s are simply not there.

Employees are also demanding more flexible working and many organisation are losing talented people because they are not providing adequate options around this.

Of cause giving people the ability to work away from the office has to benefit not only the employee but also the employer. Luckily recent research has shown that providing this flexibility does give businesses tangible benefits.

CanadaLife found that home workers productivity increased by 10%, while a PowWowNow survey found that more than 60% of workers were significantly more motivated. Additional research from FlexJob showed that employee retention increased by 82% for those based away from the office. While Cardiff University found that employees were happier to work additional hours if they could do this work from home.

However a YouGov report found that while most companies were open and actually wanted to implement a more flexible work place, nearly 20% said there IT systems simply did not allow this.

Our own experience backs this, even companies who have systems such as Office365 just haven’t embraced the benefits and flexibility such as system can give an organisations.

So how can Office365 help bring in a more flexible remote working policy?

  1. Communication – it’s the key to any teleworking strategy, people need to be able to get hold each other no matter where they are. Having the ability to access your Outlook email on any devices is taken for granted now. However showing people your on-line, in meetings, out to lunch using Skype for Business presence features is a great way to show your whereabouts and its ability to turn quick instant message messages to voice or video chats between one or multiple people really does make it a must have for any remote worker
  2. Access to Your Data – You need to be able to be easily access your files and data wherever you are. SharePoint and its tight integration with not only the standard Office applications such as Excel, Word and PowerPoint, but with Power applications like PowerBI, PowerApp and Flow means you can not only save files online but also build in depth analysis of your data and create workflows and mobile applications. OneDrive integration means that you can even access your files when your local internet connection goes down.
  3. Collaboration – Of cause being out of the office shouldn’t mean you lose the ability to collaborate with colleagues. Skype can be used to host conference calls, project sites can be created in SharePoint or with MS Planner and features such as co-authoring means multiple people can even work on a single document at the same time. Teams can create a virtual platform to host meetings, notes and chats in an easy to access location. While Yammer groups can help keep people involved in online conversations and be part of a community in a similar way to Facebook does.

Our hectic lifestyle means that people need more flexibility, while organisations need to become more agile and dynamic. Fully implementing systems based around the Office365 platform can help business of all size achieve this.

If you are looking to bring in a more flexible and collaborative way of working then contact us to help you on your journey.

Give Your Customers an Online Booking System

Microsoft Bookings

Did you know that your Office365 subscription gives you the ability to provide your customers with a online booking or appointment scheduling system?

It wouldn’t surprise us if you didn’t. Its one of those small unknown features that Microsoft seams to add but really doesn’t advertise very well.

Microsoft Bookings, as it is called, has actually been available since 2017, but its only recently that a number of enhancements has made it a system that people should really look at seriously.

Microsoft Bookings

The service will allows you to publish your booking calendar online, allowing your customer to see when slots are available and then book the time and service they need. They will get a confirmation email and calendar invitation, and if required they can even reschedule or cancel.

The bookings then go into your calendar were you can assign it to a member of staff if required.

One of the great features of the product is its ability to hook into Facebook, so your customers can make appointments straight from the social media platform.

Microsoft Bookings Facebook

Another neat component is that all your customer details are saved, meaning that over time you will buildup an excellent record of all your clients contact details. Its a bit like a mini CRM system and with will mean you can start to use this information to drive further customer interactions.

Recent improvements have mean’t that you can even integrate it with online payment systems.

For a large organisation it can even be used purely for internal bookings.

We’ve recently implement Microsoft Booking for a number of our small business customers who had been quoted thousands to develop a custom solution that did a very similar job.

If your a small business and looking to provide an online appointment system to your customers then give the team at PureNetworking a call and we’ll get you up and running within the day.

Will SharePoint Make you a HERO?

SharePoint isn’t known for it visually stimulating designs lets be honest. However that is changing as Microsoft recently announced a whole host of upgrades to the platform that are aimed at dragging the look and feel of the software into the 21st century.

Described by Microsoft as “modern” experience (the old look is are now called classic!) SharePoint sites are being revamped with a new more web and mobile friendly look, that makes them look much more user friendly and appealing to there audience.

One of the new enhancements is the addition of a “Hero” web part – yes it really is called “Hero”!

This web part simply adds a layout to a SharePoint site where you can easily add visual images, text and links in a very attractive way. For the WordPress users out there you may be thing this isn’t a big deal but for those that have struggled over the years to get “classic” SharePoint to look anything more than a basic web page from the 1990s, this simple web part is huge.

The layout comes with a number of built in options that can easily be changed to allow you to get the look you require.

Hovering over the image makes the tile changes its focal point slightly to make the overall feel of the page much more dynamic.

Implementing these and other improvements to SharePoint Online will have a dramatic impact on the look and feel of your Intranet and will certainly improve user adoption of the platform. You never know it might even make you a Hero!

The team at PureNetworking have created hundreds of SharePoint sites for our customers. Contact Us to discuss how we can improve your experience of the platform.

What Can I Do With SharePoint and Office 365

One of the most of common questions we get here at Purenetworking is “What can I actually do with SharePoint and Office 365?”. Its quite a strange question really because a lot of our customers have already purchased the product and many have been using it for many years.

What we find is that most people are happily running there email system through Office 365 but not really sure what they can do with SharePoint.

I searched through the internet to see if there was a top 5 things to do with SharePoint and was quite surprised how vague many of the answers were to this question. Commonly you get blogs by consultancy firms, who are obviously trying to sell their services, saying “SharePoint can be used to do anything” or “Streamline your business processes using SharePoint”. This type of answer is one of the reasons for the confusion over practically what you can do with the product.

So this is what we are finding our customer are using or want to use SharePoint to do for them:

1) Internal Document Storage
By far the most common request is for an area to be setup were users/departments can centrally store there files and folders that can be accessed both online and offline (Onedrive Pro)

2) External Document Sharing
A very close second to internal document storage is having the facility to share either a document folder or dedicate website with a supplier

3) Intranet Site
Customer that are say 100 users+ and have a number of departments want to use SharePoint as there Intranet. Each department will have its own page and have on there any policies/procedures they have, a list of people in there department and a overview of what that department does. Some departments say HR will have a form on there for say a new starter or leaver.

4) Workflow Approval
Once people get used to sharing documents and having basic forms on SharePoint, the next thing they want is some kind of approval system setting up. Typically the three areas were workflow is looked at are:

  • Purchase Orders were a PO will be raised and then it goes to someone who can approve the order
  • Expenses – Again expense claim raised and then goes for approval
  • Holiday Approval – You request a holiday and it goes to your manager to say yes/no

5) Case Management/CRM
Finally we would say that customers then want to use SharePoint to store all correspondence with a certain customer, be that emails, documents, pictures, contacts, notes, tasks etc…

It is true that SharePoint if developed can do almost any task you want it to do but to get the most out of the product we recommend doing it one step at time. Get used to using SharePoint by doing basic document handling then build on this.

If you want help in getting the most out of SharePoint on Office 365 why not contact us for a friendly chat