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How I use Office 365 and Outlook to supercharge my workplace productivity

Posted June 05, 2017
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Office 365 provides me with most of the tools I need to get my work done efficiently. The complete integration with Outlook means that everything runs smoothly, whether I’m in or out of the office.

By Nick Hughes, Client, Solution and Strategy Manager

Are you looking for a way to make your workday more productive? Microsoft Office 365 for Business is packed with features that are designed to make your workday more productive. Here are a few of the ways I use Office 365 and Outlook to make my day run more smoothly, whether I’m in or out of the office!

Office 365 enables mobility

As a Senior Client Manager, my weeks are usually filled with client meetings, which means that I spend a good portion of my time out of the office. The features of Office 365 ensure I am on top of my work, no matter where I am.

With Office 365 and Outlook, I don’t need to be at my desk to read and reply to emails or to edit and present documents. Everything is at my fingertips and accessible on multiple devices, including my laptop, phone and iPad. This makes it simple to access important information when I’m travelling, and ensure I’m always prepared for a client meeting.

Setting up Office 365 is quick and simple. This video demonstrates how to set up Office 365 on your Android device and briefly shows you what you can do with the solution.

Skype Meetings

Skype is an amazing app that lets me chat with colleagues anytime, for free! I use Outlook to schedule Skype meetings with just a few clicks, check everyone’s availability, add attachments for the meeting and set up meeting requests to automatically include the phone number and conference ID for everyone to join with.

It is easy to join Skype meetings by clicking the link in my “Outlook event details view,” and even those invited who don’t have Skype for Business can click on the link and join the meeting.

This tool has saved me a significant amount of preparation and scheduling time, particularly with those last-minute meetings. If I’m in a rush or need to discuss something quickly with a colleague, I can choose the “meet now” option, saving the time of emailing or calling the person, discussing a time to meet, finding a meeting room, etc.

Check out the video below to learn how to use this feature:

SharePoint OneDrive Synchronisation

At Bremmar, we often work on shared documents. Each team member is responsible for adding their input and keeping their sections updated, as required. Without SharePoint and OneDrive, we would all end up with different versions of the file – it would be a complete mess! OneDrive and SharePoint sync between each other, and Outlook lets us collaborate on the same file concurrently. We can even see who is currently editing the document.

This video shows how to add attachments to emails from different sources, including SharePoint and OneDrive.

Important to remember: If you have worked on a document recently and want to attach it to an email,  you will see a list of recent documents from the attachment button and you’ll have the option to choose between two versions of the same doc – the one saved in OneDrive (editable) and one saved in your filing system (not editable).

Another useful feature is that if you have a bad internet connection or want to work on your documents during a flight, you can get access your working files through SharePoint OneDrive Sync. While connected to the internet, simply click the sync button in your SharePoint library and all the files within that library will be downloaded to your computer or laptop so you can work on them when offline.

Real-time Chat

A key part of my job is putting together proposals and solutions for clients. In order to do that, I need to ask questions and constantly collaborate with our Technical Client Managers (our client account managers). When I’m working with colleagues on a document, sometimes it’s useful to have a quick chat about what we’re doing. Office 365 makes this easy.

In Word or Excel Online there is a blue chat button. It’s as simple as clicking it to initiate a multi-party conference with anyone else working on the file. In Outlook, I can click the Skype icon to access contacts, search my company directory, and begin a conversation by clicking the call button on a colleague’s contact card.

My favourite chat feature? If I miss a chat message on Skype it sends me an email with the chat history, and I also get notified on my phone. There’s no way I can miss anything.

 

Automated Workflows

Microsoft Flow is a tool that lets me build and automate workflows across multiple services and applications, without needing to engage a developer. To create a flow, I specify the action that should occur after a specific event takes place. Even better, the flows aren’t restricted to Microsoft products only – I can also hook into services like Dropbox, Twitter, Salesforce and MailChimp. For example, when I receive an email from a client, I can have MS Flow automatically save any attachments to Dropbox and send me a push notification. This makes my work routine so much easier!

The workflow options are almost endless and they are super easy to set up. Watch the video below to see how workflows work. You’ll probably get some ideas to add to your daily routine!

Office 365 Groups

Another way I boost my daily productivity is through Office 365 Groups. A group is a set of users who share a virtual workspace in which to collaborate, chat and share documents. Public groups may be joined by anyone within or outside the organisation, while private groups are restricted to selected members only. Private groups can never be made public (and vice versa), so whatever happens in the group, stays in the group!

I use Groups for specific projects and find they are a great way to keep everyone on the same page and across the project’s updates and documents.

OnePlaceMail

Bremmar recently partnered with OnePlace Solutions to enhance the SharePoint and email experience. OnePlaceMail provides an intuitive interface that makes it easy to transfer documents between Outlook and SharePoint. It is easy to drag and drop emails and attachments between the two systems, unlocking important information stored in my individual inbox and making it available to the rest of the team!

OnePlaceMail assists with avoiding file duplication due to multiple people saving the same attachment. If there are two people receiving the same email with an attachment and one saves the attachment, the other person can see that it was saved when they click on the email. See how it all works:

I hope you found these insights useful, but keep in mind they’re just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Office 365’s productivity enhancing features!

If you’d like more advice on how to make your workday run efficiently, just give us a call on 1300 991 351 or email help@bremmar.com.au. One of our team members will be happy to help!

Did you find these insights helpful? Would you like to find out more about Office 365?

Office 365 guide what you need to know!

By Nick Hughes, Client, Solution and Strategy Manager

Result-driven professional with over 10 years’ experience in the IT industry specialising in process optimisation, strategic alignment and driving continual improvement.

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