With the world changing in unexpected ways, American workers and employers are on the lookout for a whole new set of work tools, technologies, and even daily rituals to stay on their game. All of us, certainly, will need new methods of coping and staying productive as we navigate uncharted and often choppy waters. Remote work, and especially digital tools for remote meetings, are top of mind for most folks.
And that means Zoom—or does it?
Most of us have probably used Zoom at least once, but since the spread of coronavirus and the overnight universalizing of remote work, the brand suddenly saw a rise in consumer interest and sales. But that reversed just as suddenly, however, as millions of people confronted the platform’s gargantuan flaws—the company’s tendency to sell users’ personal data plus the rise of an awful phenomenon known as “Zoombombing.”
Enter Microsoft. In short order, they rapidly introduced a version of their Microsoft 365 bundle that made remote video conferencing available to all consumers. And what was the result? In a recent blog post, they wrote: “We have seen a 775% increase in Teams’ calling and meeting monthly users in a one-month period in Italy, where social distancing or shelter in place orders have been enforced.” This would explain why, during an economic crisis, Microsoft saw their stock jump by 7%.
Think about that—775% in a one-month period plus 7% value growth. Truly unbelievable. But could Microsoft have architected rocket-ship growth like that? I tend to think not. What they were, however, was prepared and in the right position for when the market shifted, and when it did shift they pounced immediately. Preparedness like that can be the best kind of marketing there is.
Also important, of course, is a video conferencing tool that is functional, trustworthy, and responsive. For all that reliability, the world is now leaning to Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft productivity tools. And it all comes as a matter of necessity and planning: Microsoft has shown us that necessity and change can only really work in your favor when you’re truly ready for it.
Here are the best features of Microsoft Teams:
- Total Integration. Teams is fully integrated not only with Office 365, the popular email service, but also Skype, OneDrive, and SharePoint. This has made our remote team meetings at TopRight indescribably fast and functional. In addition, integrating any other third-party tools is easy and fast.
- High Accessibility. Teams is applicable to all devices, including your iPhone and tablet. You can easily set it up and begin using it right away on Windows, Mac OSX, and Android. Set up, by the way, is automatic across all platforms.
- Encryption. All data exchanges and meetups are end-to-end encrypted for top-of-the-line security, making hacking and “bombing” an irrelevance. Their cyber security (using ISO 27001 and SSAE16 SOC, for just a few examples) is also top notch and works to prevent phishing scams and viruses.
- Chat and Slash Commands. Communicating to others during a meeting is super simple with slash commands and chat. If you need to see files, literally type “/files” and they pop up. Or if you need a moment away you can type “/away” or “/busy” and the platform changes your settings automatically. Teams also features an “@” command, just like on Twitter for when you want to shout out to a particular participant.
- Enhanced Collaboration. With private and standard chat channels, chat rooms, various dedicated channels, and a bots gallery, communicating with teammates or Microsoft itself is seamless. The bots gallery helps with everything from analytics to reporting to stats and FAQ, so you can learn the answer to questions and get back to work in a snap.
Above and beyond all this, communicating via Teams is also smooth and free of the kinds of audiovisual flaws you saw with Zoom (that is, as long as you have a decent connection on your end). As with most things about Teams, it’s effective and simple. If you’re not using Teams now, I can tell you that I’ve helped clients get on board with it in an hour. Much of what Teams does, on top of being secure, is extremely intuitive.
Just as during past crises, I believe the world we’re headed toward is going to be markedly different from the one we see today, and I have a feeling that that has everything to do with the prevalence of remote work. Personally, I think things generally will largely be better on the other side of this crisis. It’s been fascinating to see in recent weeks just how quickly people can adapt. Such radical new things don’t actually have to take months or years—but just days. Especially when a company is as prepped and ready to embrace the shift as Microsoft was.
Before anyone else, and long before coronavirus, Microsoft saw the necessity for safe, trustworthy, high-quality remote video conferencing and they knocked this one out of the park.
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