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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

Digital communication and collaboration tools

Because you're working remotely, most of your communication won’t be in person. These are number of collaboration tools you can use to connect and work with colleagues.

Skype

You can use Skype to:

  • make phone calls
  • send instant messages
  • set up virtual meetings
  • deliver presentations
  • work collaboratively on a document
  • create chat groups

Ask your manager for guidance on how to use Skype if you need it.

OneDrive and SharePoint Sites

OneDrive

OneDrive for Business allows you to store documents ‘in the cloud’, allowing you to access them from different devices, such as a mobile phone.

In addition to storage, it gives you the ability to share documents quickly and easily with colleagues, whether they are part of your immediate team or not.

SharePoint

SharePoint is a collection of collaboration sites. Like OneDrive, SharePoint is cloud-based and allows us to share documents and have discussions. They can be accessed from any device.

Some sites are used by a small group of people; others can be seen by anyone across the organisation. By default, anything in a SharePoint site (documents, pages, lists and libraries) are only accessible by those who have been given permission for the site.

OneDrive is best suited for storing your personal documents, whereas SharePoint sites are better for teams and project groups to share their collective documents.

Office 365 (O365)

Microsoft Office brings all your tools (also known as applications) together in one area. These include PowerPoint, Word and Excel and ones that may not be as familiar such as:

  • OneDrive
  • Microsoft Teams
  • OneNote
  • Yammer

Office 365 can be accessed from any device, so you can use it to access your applications from a personal device or network.

You might find that certain apps such as MS Teams will not work on your personal device if you try opening the app directly. If you open your Office 365 homepage, you can select the app you’d like to access from your homepage menu and open the app in a browser window.

Ask your manager for more information on:

  • how to access Office 365 from a personal device
  • using Office 365

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams, or MS Teams, allows you and your team to work together in one place and gives you the flexibility to work from anywhere on any device at any time.

You can use Teams to:

  • make phone calls
  • send instant messages
  • set up virtual meetings
  • deliver presentations
  • work collaboratively on a document
  • create chat groups
  • store files
  • create live events to deliver training
  • create and track team/project plans and more

Yammer

Yammer is a private social network that helps you get connected to the right people, share information across teams, and organise around projects.

Yammer is for internal use and works in a similar way to other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. You can share updates, ask questions, show photographs and link to useful and interesting information on the intranet or the wider web.

Although the default is for messages you share to be public, you can also have private conversations with just a select group.

Take ICT equipment home

To make it easier to work from home it may be helpful to take a monitor home during the recommended period of social distancing or self-isolation. In a small number of cases it may be necessary for individuals to take a desktop PC home.

Email: ICTRequests@dorsetcc.gov.uk and provide the inventory number for the equipment you're removing from the office. You should be able to find the inventory number on a sticker, usually placed on the back of the device.

Colleagues with accessibility issues

Please consider your colleagues who may have accessibility issues when collaborating online, so they can also fully participate. You can help by:

  • using headsets during Skype meetings and speaking through the microphone; this makes it much easier for people with hearing impairments
  • using video calls as this can be helpful for people who have a hearing impairment and depend on speech reading
  • making your documents user accessible
  • finding out what communication tool is most suitable to the person you're trying to reach

What to think about when using digital communication

These are more things to think about when using digital communication:

  • consider the best technology for each situation; is there a better tool you could use? What are the benefits of switching or keeping your existing tool?
  • wear a headset when joining an online meeting or event; this makes it easier to hear and prevents feedback noise
  • mute your microphone when you join a meeting and whenever you're not speaking
  • test out a new tool or method of working, before you use it with a wide audience or in a formal meeting
  • try sharing your screen in Skype to show someone what you are working on
  • embrace new technology; new apps and websites might seem scary at first, but you’ll only learn to use them by giving them a go!

Want to learn more about any of these tools? Speak to a digital champion or try watching an online tutorial. Ask your manager for more information.

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