We were prepared…
We had updated our instructions for working from home, either with work laptop, work smartphone, private computer or private smartphone, because everyone has to work from home, where possible, until further notice.
We had created and tested instructions for Teams chat, calls, videocalls and online meetings, internally and externally, because of course many meetings would shift to online.
Our support team was ready to take calls and take over people’s laptops from home, our netwerk had been tested, and everyone knew we would have a lot of questions starting Monday.
We are a mental health care organization, and our psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, nurses and care-takers have chosen their jobs because they want to work with people, not with computers. We knew they would have many questions when they suddenly had to do intakes and consulting sessions online, or organize a Teams meeting for their daily handover meeting.
So, we were prepared!
…Or were we?
However, we were not prepared for the lack of digital skills of some of our work force, some of whom did not know how to download an app from the app store, how to open the Office365 start page (it is actually a button in the Start Menu), or that they have to slide their web cam cover open in order to show their face to their colleagues during a videocall 😮
We were also not prepared for the number of people that attempted to download the Teams app, while they have the F1 license (which is for web apps only). But can you blame people that they click the most visible button, especially at times of hurry or digital stress?
We have all voted in User Voice – please vote as well and help us get that “Get the Windows app” off the start page – or at least make it less dominant!
And it was a complete surprise to get an overwhelming number of Team site requests. We thought everyone had been informed well enough that a Team site is not a prerequisite for organizing a Teams meeting. But my colleague and I were flooded by requests. Even after filtering out exact requirements we still had to create tons of Team sites (we create them centrally to have at least some control over the names of Groups) and improvised a number of “Team site for owners” and “Team site for members” webinar sessions to quickly show all those new users how Teams can help them get their work done in an effective way.
Some of my colleagues were not prepared to have their whole family at home, as schools have closed as well, and everyone needed a place where they can work or learn.
This resulted in some of my colleagues preferring to do part of their work in the evenings, when children are in bed, the network is used less, and a proper seat and table does not need fighting over. Which led to a meeting in the evening and we will do some webinars in the evening next week, because many colleagues are in the same situation.
On the plus side
Although this is not a fun situation to be in, it has a few advantages:
- Suddenly all colleagues had to upgrade their digital skills, whether they wanted or not. We try to help them as much as possible, but it is ultimately up to them. For many of them it turned out to be just a small hurdle and they are becoming regular users now.
- Teams (which until now we created very sparingly) is now a standard product for the organization, which means we can move our strategy forward much faster than anticipated.
- Our online tools for therapy (non-Microsoft) are being rolled out much faster than anticipated.
- All colleagues feel much more “together” now that we have to face this crisis.
- It is interesting to see that we can improvise so well when needed.
For me, the whole situation has not made that much difference yet. Apart from staying at home for at least 23 hours of the day, it has just been a week working from home, like I do normally one day a week. But you may want to ask my husband who suddenly has a wife at home all the time 😉
But who knows how long this will last…and not being able to go outside much or visit family or friends may become rather a strain.
I am still puzzled by all those Team site requests though. The group chat may be a replacement of all the daily talk you do if you are sitting in an office. Well, we are already thinking about doing a survey to see if and how Teams has helped in these “interesting times”…
Stay safe, all!
Title inspired by “Girls, Girls, Girls” from 70-s band Sailor.