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The future of work is not something that’s looming in the distance—it is happening now. A big part of the way we work that is changing is the rise of remote workforces. Whether it’s a company that’s entirely distributed around the globe, or one that allows their people flexibility to work from home or other locations when it’s convenient. There are plenty of opportunities for work to fit around life in a way that benefits employers and employees alike.

So, the concept of remote and geographically flexible work is here to stay. However, if your company or organisation is not set up to accommodate it, it can prove problematic. The right tools make teamwork over a distance easy and productive. In fact, the right tools make teamwork easier even for colleagues that are within arm’s reach of each other five days a week. There are many different options available, and we believe that Microsoft Teams is one of the best. Here’s why.

Consolidated resources

One of the most useful features of Teams is that it makes project and task management simple by offering all members easy access to the relevant documents and resources. There is huge benefit in having everything you need for a productive workday at your digital fingertips. The time that can be wasted searching through email chains for the most recent iteration of a spreadsheet—or trawling through a shared folder system for the right document—is astounding. Having the right resources all accessible in a central location saves time, frustration, and effort.

At Retrac, Teams allows us to manage projects smoothly. The necessary resources are available to everyone that needs them, whether they are in the office, at home or out and about. The ability to have all communication and all relevant documents at hand is heaven for busy people working on multiple projects.

Communication capabilities

One of the biggest issues that companies anticipate when deciding to offer remote working opportunities is that of a disruption in the flow of information and ideas. It’s true that there’s nothing quite like the conversation that can happen in person, but a good, intuitive chat platform and a video conferencing function go a very long way towards friction-free communication.

Businesses have a veritable array of communication options at their fingertips, and it’s a matter of searching out the ones that work best. Platforms like gotomeeting and Zoom offer chat and video calls, but Teams does both of those as well as the added benefits mentioned here, all in one application. It’s easy to use, it shows you when people are online so you can initiate real-time chat, and it allows you to integrate documents and resources into a conversation.

Teams makes it extremely simple to include anyone in conversations, planning sessions, and projects that are relevant to them, whether they are in the office or outside of it.

Phone System

With Teams phone system now available through Retrac, our customers can now connect their phone lines and ditch the old phone system altogether. You have the ability to take calls for reception, transfer them between staff, use hold and conference facilities. You can keep your existing phone numbers and take advantage of the teams mobile app to use the office phones when out and about.

Office integration

Not the physical office, although it integrates well there, too. We’re talking about Microsoft Office, that well-loved collection of tools for all aspects of business and personal computing. If you’re adding a communication and collaboration platform to your tech stack, it makes a lot of sense to pick the one that ties in seamlessly to existing infrastructure. Many Retrac customers are using Office 365 already, and adding Teams to facilitate remote work and better communication is a no-brainer. Teams also integrates nicely in to other applications such as Trello and Survey Monkey.

There’s more

It’s the little things that make an application great, and Teams has quite a few fantastic details—like “dark mode”. This setting makes the app easy on the eyes in low light, and for those with flexible hours who often work in the late or early hours, it’s a game changer. The app also works seamlessly across Windows and Mac operating systems and a variety of devices, which is another essential capability for remote workers who may use their own laptops, tablets, and phones to get things done.

How to implement Teams

Retrac has set up Teams for many different companies, and we have found out how to skirt any obstacles to make it smooth sailing. One of these roadblocks is getting a workforce to change their habits from using email and other systems to taking full advantage of Teams. We provide training sessions to all our partner businesses when migrating them across. Once they have discovered what the software can do, they usually take it and run with it.

Another good practice for implementing Teams with no issues is to take it one feature at a time. Often a group will start by using the chat feature, and build on that by integrating SharePoint for documents, shared calendars and then video meetings. Retrac can help businesses come up with a tailored course of action for integrating the full functionality of Teams into their workflow, depending on current habits and level of tech savviness.

The future of work is looking to be more remote than ever—and more productive at the same time. If you’d like to take advantage of Teams to bring your team together across a variety of locations, Retrac can help! Contact us to ask about getting this useful and versatile software set up and facilitating collaboration at your company.