It’s About Time: Rethink Your Remote Work Policies

After the break of the novel coronavirus the reactions across the globe have been strong. There are limitations in travel and multiple large events have been cancelled. There was no Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and there will be Microsoft MVP Summit in Redmond later in March (that event will now be held online, which actually underlines the benefits of modern collaboration tools).

And things are getting more serious day by day. Now Italy has quarantined up to 16 million people in Northern Italy. United Arab Emirates closed all their schools starting from Sunday to stop the virus. In Finland there’s also a school closed and others with some students in quarantine.

This is a post that is not fun to write because of all the health worries across the globe. People are worried and the coronavirus and the effects are still relatively unknown. But that is also the reason I need to write this. It is time to consider where the change is needed regarding the policies when new collaboration tools make it possible to work regardless of place and time. It’s not necessary to stop working, studying and communicating with other people during these extraordinary times.

Many companies have already published new policies regarding working from home or sick leaves. Microsoft, for example, is recommending that those who are feeling sick, have a compromised immune system, or have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) should work from home.

It doesn’t have to be a coronavirus. Diseases like regular seasonal flu and influenza also spread easily when you’re starting to feel the symptoms. Or if your children are sick and you need to be at home with them. It’s usually better for yourself and better for the others to be away from the office in those situations.

Do Anything Anywhere

Hopefully the spread of coronavirus will slow down and eventually we don’t have to worry about the unknown anymore.

But maybe this will make more companies rethink their policies regarding remote work, even after the initial impact of the virus is gone. Because honestly, nowadays you can do most things working from anywhere. Most of the corporate policies regarding remote work are cultural and trust issues that date back to days when you couldn’t actually do everything everywhere.

There are huge benefits from working remotely. Most people tell they are able to concentrate better while working somewhere else than the office. You save the commute time which can accumulate to multiple hours a week. And remote work is more effective. There’s a Harvard Business Review article that suggests that the production increase from remote work is remarkable and worth billions of dollars.

Nowadays working remotely is super easy. If your company has already Office 365 and especially Teams in use, you can really do teamwork regardless of your location.
You don’t have to work from home, you can be anywhere. The only important necessity is the Internet connection.

Now It’s Time to Try the Tools for Free

And if your organization doesn’t have Teams in use, Microsoft is doing its part to help. It’s offering a six-month free premium trial of Teams and Office 365. The free version of Teams is somewhat limited in features and the premium version has better calling and meeting features. That is something every company should think of right now. It’s really important to have modern collaboration tools in place.

And it’s not only about Teams and Microsoft. Other corporations, such as Cisco and Google, are also giving their tools for free.

Be safe, and work remotely if necessary.

How to move your meetings online using Microsoft Teams?

Do you have a meeting that was supposed to happen face to face and now you need to organize it or participate to it Online?

If Microsoft Teams is completely or relatively new to you, see the recording of Microsoft MVP Vesa Nopanen’s webinar full of tips, tricks and best practices!

See the recording