Adapt. Innovate. Compete.  |  Advice, IT Security, Support

Adapt, Innovate, Compete – Managing People

Managing people and tasks

In the post-COVID world of work more businesses than ever before are wrangling with the challenges of people management due to the increase in remote working.  

Managing people and projects are easier when teams are together in the same office, however businesses some sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, transportation, and retail has never known the luxury of having a close-proximity team sharing an office space.  

Logistics often necessitates solitary work, factories can be large meaning teams are dispersed, retail often involves small branches coordinating with head office and transportation (for obvious reasons) often involves staff working in isolation, often a great distance from the main office.  Dispersed, fragmented teams can be highly productive, but it helps if they have access to the best tool to ensure their efforts are coordinated and effective.

Many firms in these sectors rely heavily on traditional means of communication; think paper payslips, written notices, letters, fax, traditional telephony and perhaps email (for the more adventurous).  While there is nothing wrong with these methods of communication, they make the business of organising work, scheduling meetings, and coordinating individuals a serious challenge.  

Thankfully, Microsoft has people management all sewn up thanks to some of the features of their offerings specially tailored for frontline workforces – Microsoft 365 F1 and F3.

Microsoft Planner

The planner is included with both F1 and F3 meaning you can benefit from this intuitive productivity tool for as little as £3 per month, per user.

Planner lets you manage tasks and keep on top of work progress so that nothing slips through the net. Compatibility with the rest of the Microsoft 365 family means sharing files is effortless and the platform is designed to be ‘learning curve free,’ so your team can start using it straight away without the need for training.

Planner requires users to interact with the app to update task progress as they work.  This takes away the strain of having to constantly chase-up tasks to see what’s been completed and what’s still to be done. 

Microsoft To-do

Yes, this is exactly what you think it is!  To-do is the simplest task management application from Microsoft.  It’s included with MS F1 and F3 but it’s also available as a completely free, standalone application, so there are absolutely no cost barriers to taking this app for a spin and see if it could work for your business.

To-do lets users create tasks, categorise them, set due dates, configure reminders and more.  You can also share task lists and individual tasks to individuals – this means you can set up tasks and effectively assign them to other members of your team.  They can then access their To-Do list from any device they might be using, a smartphone, tablet laptop etc.

OneNote

OneNote is part of the Office Apps family and is available with Microsoft 365 F3. OneNote is the indispensable tool you don’t know you need.  It is essentially a virtual notebook where you can brainstorm ideas, create To-Do lists and more.

At first glance, it looks like a word processor, but that’s not really its purpose.  A word processor like the word is designed for producing a document for publishing, whereas OneNote is a gathering space for ideas. So how does OneNote help with work management?  OneNote can be integrated within Outlook. 

This lets you create basic tasks in Outlook, assign them to members of your team and direct them to OneNote notebooks where they can access all the relevant material to help them with the task.OneNote’s notetaking tools are extensive, allowing users to create an immersive body of material relating to a particular topic.  For example, you could create a notebook relating to health and safety. 

In that notebook, you could attach links to websites, embed audio recordings and video or include photos of good and bad health and safety practice.  This can then be shared with all staff concerned and they can access it on their smartphones, tablets, or laptops.  

Bookings

This useful tool is not specifically designed for frontline workers but is an invaluable application for anyone in a role where meeting scheduling and time management are an important consideration.  It is available with some 365 business plans or as a standalone product. 

How does it work? Bookings take the hassle out of meeting scheduling by letting you publish your schedule online, allowing clients, suppliers and staff to select an appointment time that suits both parties – crucially without an endless game of email ping-pong.  This saves time and energy for all concerned.

In the modern working world, meetings are increasingly being conducted through video and audio-conferencing platforms – bookings have that covered.  Thanks to seamless integration with Teams and Skype, attendees can book virtual meetings and attend using a link from any device.  This article barely scratches the surface of the task-management and organisational potential offered up by Microsoft 365.  The Calendar in teams, task creation feature in Outlook and SharePoint lists are a few more of the many features embedded withing the MS 365 family designed to make managing your team easier than ever before.

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Onebyte is an IT service provider that specialises in providing strategically aligned, compliance-driven, managed IT services to SMEs in London, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire.

This different approach to managing information and technology is guaranteed to find and eliminate risk, increase efficiency and empower our client's businesses to leverage technology which will provide a real return on the investment they make in their IT and help realise their vision.