The view from the train(er)

I was over in Manchester a couple of weeks ago learning about the latest Azure infrastructure technologies, with an opportunity for me to brush up on my own skills and observe another trainer delivering a course that I myself will need to deliver to our internal teams.
My journey, a two-hour train ride over the Pennines, gives me time to reflect on the last couple of weeks. Our office at Team Valley was in the middle of a refurbishment as we were moving desks, adding new carpets, painting – it was a chance to declutter. Additionally, our new ‘MyLearning’ portal was due to go live.

The way the refurbishment has been organised is a minor miracle, as there were a number of elements to consider. We had to uproot our call control and support teams and move them across to our head office in Newcastle, while other staff were able to work from home (poor telecoms preventing you working from home? Read our blog). We arranged subcontractors to do the work and then put it all back together – sounds a nightmare, doesn’t it? At times the office looked like a scene from Alien, with cables hanging from the ceiling and furniture strewn everywhere.

With offices across the UK and with 41% of our staff regularly working from home, we know how important it is to stay connected. Our experts are here to help; find out more about our WAN infrastructure solutions here.

The truth is our internal teams had already planned for times like this. All TSG colleagues have laptops so they can already work from anywhere. Our systems are largely cloud-based, [INFOGRAPHIC: Benefits of cloud computing] so it really doesn’t matter where we work from thanks to the flexibility and mobility offered by the cloud.

Being at head office, our support and call control teams had to be on their best behaviour of course, but the service given to our customers was undisrupted. Even when the contractors overran with the carpets, we just delayed the move by a day – no problem, no major dramas – our customers weren’t even aware. Imagine how graceful a swan looks moving through the water – all the hard work is done behind the scenes underwater with legs kicking like crazy – that’s how our internal teams were able to make it all work.

Team TSG uses Office 365, a brilliant tool used business-wide that allows us to work together effectively anytime, anywhere. When one of our offices was unavailable and the team wasn’t in the same room or even the same building they could still work together, sharing documents, ideas and more. We could do that through a mix of innovative tools.

Our individual teams could communicate in a secure, ready-made digital workspace in Microsoft Teams. We could hold cross-team conferences on Skype for Business, as well as make quick video calls or drop colleagues an instant message at the drop of the hat through this medium. We could collaborate on the same document at the same time using a number of tools – OneDrive, Planner, Teams – that are underpinned by document management powerhouse SharePoint. We weren’t tied to one office server thanks to the cloud-based utilities of Office 365. It’s revolutionised the way we work.

So how did this office outage affect me? Well, I spent a couple of days working from home preparing for the go-live of our new ‘MyLearning’ portal. This is a learning management system that integrates into our Office 365 system for our 350+ staff, allowing us to collate and manage microlearning in one location. I’ll be blogging about microlearning and our ‘MyLearning’ portal in the coming weeks – watch this space.