We believe the successful companies of the future will be those that can bring people closer, make teamwork faster and make culture stronger – wherever their workers are located.
Even before the Covid-19 crisis, remote working, flexible working and bringing long-forgotten front line staff into company communications were all fast-growing trends.
So, Regan Collins, tech expert and CEO of Azuronaut, joined us to discuss the key remote working tools in our latest webinar. His company is both a Microsoft Gold Partner, a Workplace from Facebook partner and long time Slack user.
We looked at the core criteria you need to run a company remotely, both in a time of crisis and in the future. From building community and engagement remotely, all the way through to practical criteria like video conferencing and document collaboration.
Our review criteria:
We took a look at how Microsoft Teams, Workplace and Slack compare against:
Overall communication + top down communications
Video calls, internal and external
Project management and collaboration
Community & engaging staff
Learning and training
Ease of implementation and integration
Our key learnings from Regan
Do a full assessment of your current tools and working processes
A tool can only take you so far, the way you implement makes a difference
Think about employee experience, not just features
Stop to examine what sort of organisation you want to create
Broaden your criteria to take account of organisation purpose
Don’t be afraid to review your licensing costs – it’s not as complex as you think
Microsoft and Workplace working together can provide you with the best in class
300 helps companies choose and use their remote working platforms. Our technical partner Azuronaut empowers you with the technology to connect your systems and people together. co Get in touch at email@example.com
Two years ago I made the permanent transition from office-based to home-based. To be honest, it hasn’t always been easy, and despite the upsides, there is only so much office banter you can have with your dog (sorry Benji).
Now, most of us are “work from homers”, so I thought I would share my top 10 tips for staying sane and productive in these times of isolation. It’s a good time to relook at your routine and see if we’ve fallen into bad habits…
Start and finish at the same times you would in the office. Ditto for lunch and breaks.
Put on your game face, get dressed in your normal work clothes and get out of your sweatpants (unless they used to be your work clothes).
Tidy your workspace – clutter will distract you, set yourself up to focus. It’s worth stopping for 15 minutes and having a reset – even if you’re very busy you’ll feel the benefit.
Make sure you have access to the tools you need to do your job. If you’ve been putting off upgrading your internet connection and getting a decent-sized computer screen, now’s the time. Even with the end of lockdown in sight we’re all going to be doing more flexible and remote working.
Use video meetings whenever possible. It’s so important to see your team. If you’ve been putting it off, make the change today.
Make sure everyone else in your team is on the same page and agree on how you are going to work together. It’s good to check in and see how everyone is finding the current set up.
Use a platform like Workplace to collaborate and access essential documents.
Schedule in a video team chat at least once per day. Find out how your colleagues are doing, check in to see if anyone is struggling, share some jokes, your Spotify playlist, etc.
Don’t be afraid to share your feelings. You may love being at home, but it still may also be the worst thing that could happen to you. Don’t keep those feelings to yourself, you will be surprised just how many people feel like you.
Connecting with all your employees can be tricky in any business but in the recruitment process outsourcing (RPO) industry it can be nigh on impossible. With staff at client sites, service centres and increasing numbers of desk-less & mobile workers, getting the simplest of messages to staff is so hard that it often remains a source of frustration for years.
That was certainly true of our experience at one of the world’s leading RPO providers. Until we came across Workplace by Facebook: a communications and collaboration tool built for the future of work.
Ok, so here’s my twelve reasons why you should put Workplace on your shortlist:
Reason 1 – it’s mobile-first
Every client site is locked down in a different way, so finding a platform that works at multiple, often geographically dispersed locations is impossible. Workplace’s mobile-first design and delivery means you needn’t be held back by client firewalls.
As long as staff have a smartphone they can access all communications, documents and even the org chart, bringing your onsite workers into company culture for the first time. Crucially, the mobile experience is seamless.
Reason 2 – staff don’t need an email address
In our experience, many RPO staff use their client’s email, so connecting them to any new tool is a hard slog. Workplace setup can be done without email as a unique identifier and is simple to deploy.
Workplace is typically adopted by 80%+ of users within 30 days and the launch experience is straightforward. So you need less of IT’s time.
Reason 3 – find all of your people all of the time
No more: “where’s Linda today” and no more detective work to search for Linda’s latest landline or email. You can simply see when she’s online and easily message, voice dial or even video her direct.
Workplace lets you keep pace with change, regardless of client desk moves or how many times you switch staff between sites.
And the built-in organisation chart allows you to see what staff do, where they are in the hierarchy and who reports to who.
“Safety Check is a great feature that allows you to check that all your staff are safe in the event of an emergency, regardless of location.”
Reason 4 – create and build community
It’s easy to feel a little lonely and disconnected if you’re in a service centre in a remote location, far from headquarters. Workplace allows your staff to feel part of a much bigger, dynamic organisation. Staff can connect to a number of communities: the whole business, everyone at their client site or service centre and / or their team. Or slice and dice to aid the collaboration you need e.g. connect all service centres around the world.
“Reach all your staff, create community, build affinity with your brand, better serve clients.”
Reason 5 – collaborate, share, save time
With such a spread-out workforce, often geographically diverse, it’s all too easy for staff to reinvent the wheel. Workplace by Facebook provides a forum to ask for help, enabling everyone to share knowledge and best practice. Many answers to frequently asked questions and processes can be automated too e.g. HR policy questions or client onboarding.
Reason 6 – virtual leadership
Workplace enables senior leaders to create engaging communications; from simple posts to Live Video broadcast, extending visibility and reach to the whole business – making sure important messages are heard. For example, your CEO can update everyone on the way back from strategic client visits.
Reason 7 – share documents
Don’t be frustrated by staff who can’t access your intranet (if you’ve ever tried to give staff access to your intranet from a client site we sympathise!) use Workplace to easily give everyone access to the latest pitches and proposals.
Reason 8 – streamline staff onboarding
Manage staff on-boarding and connect people to your culture from offer to acceptance. Create forward-thinking HR strategies to support staff through their career, automating processes for better experiences. And with more of your clients using Workplace, you’ll need to be the expert in using Workplace for your clients’ recruitment processes.
Reason 9 – bring all of your apps together
Workplace gives countless possibilities for off the shelf and custom integrations, allowing you to bring all your apps and services together in one place – e.g. logging help desk calls, integrating leave request systems and CRM tools. Like Salesforce and Hubspot.
“With 30,000+ organisations already on Workplace, increasing numbers of your forward thinking clients are using the platform too.”
Reason 10 – improve client service levels and experience
By facilitating collaboration across the business you can better serve clients. Engaged employees who work together have the information they need to go the extra mile for clients.
And by creating a “multi-company group” between you and each of your clients you can streamline communication, aid collaboration and create a different dynamic to your client relationships. Your client doesn’t need to be on Workplace by Facebook to collaborate in this type of group.
Reason 11 – connect wherever you are in 46 languages
With voice, video and chat your staff can easily keep in touch whether they’re in the office or travelling. And auto-translate ensures communications reach everyone – that’s more languages than Microsoft Teams and Slack.
Reason 12 – build employee affinity with your brand – not just your clients’
Keeping your brand’s mission front and centre is hard when your on-site staff are immersed in your client’s culture. The ability to easily create engaging posts, articles and video brings your brand to life and really does foster a sense of belonging.
Find out more about my personal experience rolling out Workplace for recruitment process outsourcing companies and how Workplace can transform your business – contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me on 07946 524 304 for a chat.
“We won Best Workplace Launch in 2018 for our rollout of Workplace at the Robert Walters Group, of which Resource Solutions, one of the world’s leading RPOs, is a part.”
When making technology choices that influence communications and the way people work together, we advise companies to consider the sort of organisation they want to be and the future they’re planning for.
Many businesses assume that the future of work will be rooted in technology. And it’s true that technology – from cloud-based software to AI, 5G and the Internet of Things will play an important role.
But when we think about the future of work, we’re doing it through the lens of people. More important than technology will be our ability to unlock human potential by putting the needs and expectations of our people at the heart of all we do.
Generation Y demands work tools as sharp as the tech in their personal life but more importantly, they have a completely different expectation of work itself. They expect to be able to connect and communicate seamlessly without seeking permission, they expect to have a voice and be heard. A new ‘authorised generation’ has grown up with Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram and Messenger. They’ve also grown up with mobile and come to PCs later. We believe the tech choices organisations make have to begin with their needs and expectations.*
Don’t focus on features
Rather than focusing on features, it’s important to consider what you want out of your solution. For example, a Poodle and a Pit Bull offer the same features but they offer quite different dog-owning experiences.
Questions to consider:
Is really putting people at the heart of process key to your business?
How important is collaboration? Do your people need to work together better?
How important is creating an open organisation where people can have a say?
Do you want to work in a transparent way?
Is your business responding to transformation and change quickly enough?
Are you preparing for greater innovation?
Does the future of work matter to the business?
Do you think it makes sense for people to communicate and collaborate in one hub?
Do you want a seamless solution that empowers people to make a difference?
Do you want to create an engaged workforce who are truly connected to your culture?
Are you preparing for the future of IT where all your apps talk to each other?
If the questions above are resonating with you, or you’ve not thought about how the future of work might affect your business, you should consider Workplace in your selection process.
In our experience, many companies choose tech on a tick box functionality exercise without thinking about where the business is headed. We believe in selecting platforms that match your mission.
Comparing Workplace v Microsoft Teams
One puts people at the heart of business v technology at the centre
Workplace is built around connecting and empowering people to make faster and better decisions, with the needs of future workers in mind. Microsoft Teams was created in response to Slack, Slack was designed by developers for developers to write, deploy, and debug code. Use the right tools for the outcome you want.
A hub for all communications, collaboration and community v multiple tools
Workplace not only enables collaboration, but it is a centralised communication platform that allows you to integrate applications and BOTs to automate work processes seamlessly. It’s a platform to unify your organisation and create a more open community and culture. Whilst Microsoft Teams/Yammer offers a newsfeed and chat, it’s a completely different experience.
“Today and in the future, experience is everything.
The employee experience is going to become a real point of competitive advantage
Familiar v low awareness of Teams among ordinary business users
Facebook is one of the most used apps globally, with over 3B users and 1.15B daily users, making Workplace adoption more seamless. Microsoft has traditionally sold its software (O365) to IT professionals and while Teams is a part of the O365 offering, usage and awareness of the solution by traditional business users has been very low.
Optimised by the business v optimised by IT
Workplace needs a very light touch from IT to set up, whereas Teams, Yammer and Sharepoint can only be configured and updated by IT. Microsoft offers a tech solution for a traditional way of working. Workplace empowers the business to create what it needs, from groups to innovating business process. You don’t have to wait for IT, making businesses more agile. The Microsoft suite is designed for IT professionals, Workplace is designed for everyone. Putting power in your people’s hands is key in the organisation of the future.
Mobile first v PC first
Workplace is designed for mobile-first, it’s a seamless experience, important when we consider that future workers will be increasingly mobile and using phones more than desks. The experience makes a huge difference to engagement and while a mobile app ticks a box, its the experience that counts.
No training required v training to get started
Workplace’s familiarity means no training is required, and if you aren’t a Facebook user, the platform is intuitive and simple to use. Workplace is typically adopted by 80%+ of users within 30 days. In our experience of using Sharepoint intranets as marketers, we couldn’t make the changes we needed to without IT help and every marketer worldwide used WeTransfer to share documents, internally and externally because the experience was so frustrating.
71 percent of Gen Y and Z say they face challenges using their company’s collaboration tools.
Ease of automation v walled garden
Integration of Bots for Automation of repetitive tasks is a key benefit of using Workplace. Unlike Teams/Yammer and Slack, the only limiting factor in automation is your imagination. If you can think of a business process that needs improving, there’ll be a best in class product available or you can easily create one. Bots in groups are great for sharing information among teams in different countries or time zones. Bots in chat can facilitate real-time interaction among groups or for specific individuals. For instance, a chatbot can be used to send important reminders or notifications to someone based on an upcoming event like an interview, meeting or task.
In the workplace of the future it’s important that all tools work together, enabling flexibility rather than locking people into a walled garden.
Built for business transformation v tools built to fulfil one function
Workplace enables enterprise change management by putting power in the hands of the business. Ease of integration leads to improved business processes which are quick and efficient to implement. From HR and people processes like onboarding to IT and finance. All the way to advanced integrations like CRMs and other critical business tools. It puts the future of the business in the hands of the business.
Open by default v siloed
Open by default is a key principle for the future of business. Not only does being open help break down organisational silos and boundaries, providing quicker access to needed information, it also better connects people to their company’s mission and to their co-workers.
To find out more about Workplace, please get in touch with me at email@example.com or give me a call on + 44 (0) 7946 524 304
*Thank you to Simon Cross at Workplace for the second two paras of this article. Expressed so beautifully I couldn’t say it better. Read his full article on the future of work here. (published by the v friendly PR people at Brunswick who are keen Workplace users.)
70 business leaders joined us in March for an informal breakfast seminar hosted by Workplace by Facebook in partnership with the 300.
During the seminar, co-founders, Caroline and Phil discussed the unstoppable trends shaping the world of work and how modern leaders are changing the way they engage and communicate to meet the needs of their people.
Rachel Clacher, co-founder of Moneypenny, a regular in the Sunday Times Best Place to Work, talked about how placing people at the heart of business strategy has informed the success of her company.
A Workplace customer, Rachel told us how the innovative communications platform has enhanced community, culture and the bottom line.
Ruth Dance, Managing Director of the Employee Engagement Alliance also joined us on the panel for a debate with the Workplace by Facebook team.
Some of our guests were also treated to an exclusive Oculus demonstration, Facebook’s virtual reality technology.