4 things you didn't know about virtual collaboration and working spaces

Or - you didn't pay much attention.

These days, having a good virtual working environment is more important than ever. Work from home has become a norm for businesses and organisations, which is not likely to change any time soon. Our Goran Sepic, an MS Teams aficionado, yesterday gave away some of the secrets to setting up great virtual collaboration.

Infosit, a software company with clients and partners in several countries, had been using MS Teams since 2017, when it was first launched. We have amassed lots of experience on how to put it to use in ways that boost clarity, focus and collaboration. We've used it while working from home, from different countries, and our favourite relaxation spots, we are now using it much more frequently. We've guided other companies as they implemented virtual collaboration.

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1. Odds are you can start doing it at no extra cost

If you use Microsoft tools and you have 365 licences, you may already have Teams in your package. In this scenario, virtual collaboration is something you can start setting up at no extra cost. Work from home and work from anywhere becomes a matter of understanding what the tool can do and investing time and effort in introducing it into your business processes in the best way possible.

2. Security is king, and so is your IT team

Some users might first experience MS Teams as a tool for video calling and chatting, but the fact is, it's much more than that. While working remotely, it allows teams to share confidential documents, transfer their email conversations into Teams spaces, keep their interactions organised by tying them to particular channels and spaces. Different types of teams will accommodate different security requirements. Private teams are for invited members only; this kind of structure is often used in organisations with high security and confidentiality demands. On the other hands, Public (open) teams allow easy access. They are often used for education purposes. An important thing about virtual collaboration is that we need it available on different platforms and devices, including smartphones. This can be a nightmare for our IT people. MS Teams is well connected with user identification inside the 365, making your IT admin life tremendously easier, which is an essential aspect of your organisation's technical setup.

3. Focused work is paramount

A thing with MS Teams is that it will improve groups and individuals' focus if you set up your spaces and processes well. Infosit created teams and channels by replicating business processes already existing in the company. By doing that, key focus areas were conveniently reflected in the virtual workspace. This led to significant work streamlines, and we saw valuable improvements in focus and efficiency.

4. Supporting an event, creating a cantina

At Infosit, we've gone as far as creating a team that allowed our people at the HQ to support the crew at an event in London with information, documents and diagrams in real-time. Obviously, the dislocated crew used public networks and hotspots available in London. Still, security was maintained at the highest level, and we had no concerns over potential breaches or data theft. Last year, when the coronavirus first hit, we used MS Teams to recreate those precious, spontaneous office interactions which happened during coffee and tea breaks. We created a Cantina team for informal chatting and connecting during lunchtime. It was a quirky space with very little rules and great value for people. In Goran's words, MS Teams is a piece of software constantly changing for the better. It emphasises knowledge sharing and helps eliminate silos, which are detrimental to organisations regardless of where they work from. It can integrate with 3rd party software such as CRM, social media or analytical tools to streamline your work and processes.

If you would like to hear more, get in touch with Goran at goran.sepic@infosit.com.

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