As a nation we are in an unprecedented situation, with many people having no choice but to stay at home in order to stop the spread of Covid-19.

For many businesses this has meant migrating workforces to home to carry on working. Those businesses with cloud-based ERP solutions are benefiting from its flexibility and also the scalability that Microsoft is able to provide, with more people relying on its remote working features.

Microsoft Office 365 is coming in to its own right now, with Microsoft applications and productivity services all enabled via the cloud.

Microsoft announced this month that they will be providing a free 6-month trial of the premium version of Microsoft Office 365 to help businesses work from home during the current pandemic. Each license can accommodate up to 1,000 users.

A hugely beneficial service included in Microsoft Office 365 is Microsoft Teams. It can help you create a virtual office space where you can access and collaborate with online documents, store files securely, and share screens; and where colleagues can access key information and join meetings and calls.

One of the biggest challenges of working apart from your colleagues and managers is keeping track of progress. A way to overcome that is by posting updates and insights within a channel – which you and your team can return to later on to search for content. You can create different channels for different departments or areas of the business.

With much of office life already being facilitated by online software and email, businesses can continue to function outside of the building very seamlessly – but collaborating in a meeting is something we will sorely miss.

Online meetings with your team go along way to keep you connected, and this is really easy on Teams. Remember to allow the ‘join option’ to re-create your conference room. For larger meetings where its hard for everyone to get their comments across, remind team mates to use the window chat to share their thoughts. You can even record the meeting for attendees who aren’t able to join so they can catch up later, or they can read the automatically created transcription.

If individual working hours have been shifted due to childcare or other commitments, employees can easily communicate their availability with colleagues by updating their status on Teams. It is important to create boundaries when working at home, to you allow yourself down time as well.

Of course not all communication at work is as formal as a conference. You will be missing catching up in the office kitchen or checking in with workmates in passing. By using ‘chat’ you can talk in an informal way with emojis and GIFs.

There is also video calling, which is more personable than a telephone call so you can see and hear your teammates. And if you miss your brainstorming sessions you can use the Microsoft Whiteboard app, which is a digital canvas with infinite use.

It isn’t an easy time to run a business right now, but with Microsoft’s help hopefully you can keep your team connected and empowered with these awesome tools.

If you would like any advice on Microsoft services or ERP solutions, please get in contact by emailing

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