Greetings from Dubai: Kickstart to remote working

It didn’t go as planned. A sentence uttered by a lot of people this year, with almost everything being cancelled, be it conferences, festivals, holiday trips or smaller things like birthday parties or just going to see football matches. (As I write this, I ‘should’ be in Copenhagen getting ready for Finland’s first ever European Championships outing against Denmark.)

When making the official change of residence from Helsinki to Dubai at the beginning of March, I expected to spend my spring exploring Dubai and the UAE, as well as the Middle East in general. Workwise, it was going to be active participation in events, networking and making new connections with lots and lots of face-to-face meetings. Instead, we had a lockdown for almost three months. However, instead of wallowing in disappointment, acceptance and adaption were needed as ‘it is what it is’ became the favourite phrase, and work continued from home with a different approach.

The same has applied to millions of businesses all around the world. Restaurants and retail have had to switch to delivery mode, banking and other services have moved online, airlines from passengers to cargo, etc. For knowledge workers, in countries like Finland the transition was not necessarily too hard, as remote working has been readily available for years for most industries and people. That was not the case here in the UAE, where the cloud journey is at an earlier phase and office work was still prevalent back in February.

Now that I think of it, if we ignore the tragic reason for it, it has been a privilege to see the remarkable transition of a country moving from strict office work to remote working and distance learning almost overnight. It has been truly impressive how quickly both the public sector and companies reacted to the new situation and worked day and night to find the solutions. It also means that the UAE has rushed through years of development journey in a matter of months!

For Sulava, whilst it changed almost all our plans, it allowed us to use our experience and expertise in helping customers deploy and learn to use Microsoft O365, and especially Teams. As we still involve our experts in Finland for some tasks, suddenly some customers’ requirement of onsite work disappeared, and we were able to show that in most cases it really doesn’t matter where the consultant is sitting.

However, the journey is really just beginning! Even though we are returning to offices (safely with Sulava’s Back to the Office solution), the changes are at least partially permanent.

Even more importantly, now that Microsoft Teams and other collaboration and communications tools are available, it is time to ensure that you make the most out of them! Teams is incredibly versatile as it offers many out-of-the-box add-ons, and with the open API’s almost anything can be added, making it a one-stop-shop for all users, whether it is HR, Sales, Operations, Manufacturing or any other business unit!

Listen to our webinar ‘The Possibilities of Teams as a Platform’ to hear more, or contact me and we can talk more.

And of course, take care and stay safe!