Housing Tech Conference 2023
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Phew, the Beast from the East was quite the snow storm. Many parts of the UK came to a standstill, trains and planes were cancelled, sad abandoned cars were left by the roadside and Tesco ran out of bread!
The day the storm hit I was filled with false and unfounded hope, deciding despite the amber weather warning I would set off and begin my 25-mile commute to TSG’s HQ in Newcastle. Not all heroes wear capes. “It might be fine once we’re on the main roads”, I pre-emptively said upon departure – wrong. One hour after leaving my house I wasn’t even 3 miles away. An hour later after slipping, sliding and getting stuck in the snow a few times (and overtaking 6 abandoned buses on a hill) I decided turning back would be a good call. The image depicts the snow globe that was County Durham on the day in question.
Three hours after my initial attempt to leave I was back home, colder, frustrated and without my laptop, wondering exactly how I was going to work. To give some context to this blog it’s worth mentioning I work in the marketing team at TSG; this means that around 99% of my work is digital, writing blogs, news releases, and of course managing TSG.com amongst a ton of other channels.
I don’t own a laptop or an iPad, other than my iPhone I’m pretty device free – If I can avoid looking at a screen I will!
My options were limited; my first thought was to go old school with a pen and paper. I have a pipeline of topics to write about for the blog and we’d just had our Sage event at the Shard which I could write a news piece on.
No laptop – no problem! *cough*
On second thought, I wondered if I could write on notes within my iPhone. Then it struck me, perhaps my usual apps were available to download on iPhone… Sure enough they were, roughly 5 minutes later I had a neat little productivity folder with all my usual applications.
Once logged in to Office 365 I could see the recent spreadsheets I’d been working on, all my documents etc. – fabulous! I don’t know why I found this surprising, given that Microsoft is all about helping people to work and stay connected anywhere, anytime. The entire suite of Office 365 applications was available. I had Word to write, Excel to plan and schedule, Outlook for my email and calendar and Teams to file share and stay in touch with my very geographically-splattered team. All available via my iPhone.
In the three days I was snowed in I was able to contribute at around 90% of capacity; it was as if I had my laptop in front of me. I was able to stay in touch with colleagues, join a conference call, there were no real blips to my daily routine other than of course I was on my sofa with an iPhone. My colleagues were all pretty impressed with the level and quality of work I typed out. Because all of the documents I had been working on were available, my little productivity folder felt like a familiar space and I was able to hit the ground running.
TSG has adopted Office 365 across the board and we help and support our customers to supercharge their Office 365 investment. As a cloud application, Office 365 means all you need is an internet connection and a device – in my case an iPhone!
The wider team at TSG also had the advantage of working from home while the weather was bad. 41% of TSG’s workforce are homeworkers so as an organisation, we’re pretty savvy when it comes to the best way to manage output, productivity and stay connected and motivated – Office 365 for us and many other organisations we work with is the backbone of how we do this.
With this being said, working via iPhone wasn’t ideal! Just in case you’re ever stranded and are working via your mobile device I’ve put a little pros and cons list together:
In my case it meant I could work with minimal disruption to my productivity. 25 miles from the office with no laptop left me in somewhat of a pickle.
I was able to access all of the documents I use on a day-to-day basis, the main one being our marketing schedule, so I could keep up to date with the to-ings and fro-ings of the marketing team and ensure that we still continued the momentum of the week.
Instead of trying and failing to drive in the snow, I was able to spend my time wisely on scheduled work. Certainly the winning choice for me.
Squinting. After a while I found my nose was almost pressed up against the screen – didn’t help that I also keep my glasses at the office!
It’s a struggle to be on a conference call and take notes – this is where the aforementioned pen and paper came in.
When my work day ended it didn’t really feel like it, checking Facebook/texting/scrolling all felt like work!
Final word: If thumbs had dress sizes I would have dropped 3.
Did you know that Office 365 is so much more than your email and the core Microsoft suite (Word, Excel etc.)? We’re working with businesses across the UK to uncover the different components to Office 365 that deliver real value.
For example, the workflow automation tool Flow, that sits within Office 365, eliminates manual time-consuming tasks, improving productivity and efficiency on a large scale. PowerApps also sits within O365 allowing you to build mobile apps (minus the code!).
Skype for Business is the new Lync enabling your colleagues to have voice and video calls with colleagues, including large-scale calls with multiple attendees. The functionality within Skype for Business also means you can share screens and instant message to improve collaboration.
Last but not least, I can’t write a blog about Office 365 without name dropping the single most utilised tool within TSG’s marketing team – Teams. Dubbed ‘The digital workspace’, Teams is a communication, sharing and collaboration hub that allows colleagues to share information, make announcements, share files, have conversations, keep track of documents, make calls, send messages – the list is long.
Teams has the ability to completely surpass email, it certainly has gone this way within the marketing team and is so valuable as a source of knowledge and communication.
Of course, one blog couldn’t possibly do Office 365 justice – that’s why we’ve added a whole new section to our website for what is an immensely popular tool for our customers. Take a look at our brand new Office 365 section.
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