Office 365: top tips and tricks.

Microsoft Office 365 is a revolutionary tool, helping businesses across the globe achieve more through its comprehensive software suite housing over 20 applications, intelligent email hosting and cloud storage space, plus world-class security infrastructure.

Offering a host of collaborative, state-of-the-art features in one seamless, consolidated experience, the tool plays an integral role in the day-to-day operations of over 1.5 million company users worldwide. Not only do Office 365’s cloud capabilities remove geographical constraints – allowing around-the-clock access no matter where or when – they also present an abundance of cost and time-saving efficiencies for IT teams and finance departments by automatically issuing updates for products, patches, and new releases.

But while organisations large and small are continuing to invest in the subscription, a limited number of these are truly maximising its potential – with many business owners, and teams as a result, being unaware of some of the key features on offer.

That’s why, here at Central, we decided to put our tech-minded heads together to come up with 5 simple ways you can use your Microsoft Office 365 software to boost ROI – improving productivity within your teams, creating significant time efficiencies across the board, and spearheading creativity.

1. Anytime, anywhere access

Ok, so we’ve already touched on the fact that Microsoft Office 365 enables teams to access files at any given moment, but let’s delve a little deeper.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re working remotely or in the office, on a laptop or smartphone – as long as your device is connected to the internet, the cloud-based model allows users to keep important files up to date anytime, anywhere. Whether you need to tap into a fellow staff member’s document for important information, or finish a piece of work at a later date, this is a key feature that SME’s should not overlook. And with the remote working surge over recent years dispersing teams across different parts of the country – and often world – the value of instantaneous, flexible access is truly indispensable.

2. Creative collaboration

Offering a foundation to share, edit and collaborate through OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, and more, Office 365 crucially unlocks contemporary ways of working.

Gone are the days of one in, one out document editing, constant link sharing to access files, and rushing around to be in five places at once. No matter your location, you can be confident that you have the tools to help you adapt – with the ability to share Office files both internally and externally, co-author in real time, attend meetings virtually, and be productive from anywhere.

Not only does this create a shared understanding across your organisation, but it bolsters the team dynamic and encourages innovative ideas into fruition.

3. Productive email management

With almost 320 billion emails estimated to have been sent and received globally throughout 2021, we know that staying on top of your e-correspondence can be a stressful experience to say the least. But from contact grouping to clutter management, Office 365 has a myriad of features to make managing your inbox a whole lot easier.

The ‘Distribution Lists’ feature presents a simpler alternative to painstakingly typing each email address into your recipient list when sending a group email. With the click of a button, you can send direct mail to organised segments of your contact list – such as an entire marketing department or type of client – and even automatically forward to multiple addresses. Excellent for project work and seamless communications within your department.

What’s more, with Office 365’s ‘Focused Inbox’ feature, there’s a more convenient way to declutter your inbox and streamline workflow. Separating emails into ‘focused’ and ‘other’ category tabs, Focused Inbox brings your most important emails to the fore, whilst any remaining communications are filed out of the way – but still easily accessible.

4. Data loss prevention

Thanks to OneDrive, file accessibility and recovery is extremely straightforward and contributes to the headache-free running of day-to-day tasks.

We already know that being cloud-based is one of Office 365’s many USPs – not least in terms of collaboration – but this model also contributes to a more secure, reliable way of working. As well as saving on local storage space, housing your company’s files on the cloud allows you to sync updates and back up files across multiple devices. Plus, with the added bonus of OneDrive’s ‘Version History’ functionality, users can easily restore older copies of files.

But that’s not all – there’s an abundance of other state-of-the-art features to explore from OneDrive.

5. Enhanced data protection

Office 365 features several built-in data encryption capabilities – which, if you’ve read our recent blog on cybersecurity best practice, you’ll know this is something that should be high on the agenda for all organisations.

BitLocker, for example, is a Windows-integrated data protection feature which safeguards against threats in case there are lapses in other processes or controls – such as access control or recycling of hardware – that have the potential to compromise disks containing data. In instances where someone gains physical access to your hardware, BitLocker eliminates the potential for data theft or exposure through a key protection chain – essentially, the management of credentials used to unlock or recover encrypted disks which requires a high-level of elevation and approvals to access.

And there’s a whole host of further data protection offerings – both default and optional – to discover, if you want to optimise the security of your firm’s data.

At Central, we know that tighter budgets and fluctuating productivity mean that processes need to add real value if they’re ever going to become a mainstay of your firm. That’s why leveraging Microsoft’s productivity suite and its comprehensive range of capabilities is a must.

Beyond these top tips for maximising Office 365’s potential, our managed IT services can help you breathe easy by providing around-the-clock, expert advice.

And you’ll never be just a ‘ticket’ to us. While we pride ourselves on providing leading, strategic support to a range of organisations, we’ve got the resources and flexibility to keep our approach personal.

So, if you’re seeking additional assistance on Microsoft Office 365 or simply want to know more about how we can help to understand and implement your business’ needs, get in touch.

And don’t forget, you can also find news updates from the Central team over on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Central Networks are a strategic technology partner. Excellent technology is a given, customer service, trust and long-term relationships are what drive our business. We support CEOs, Heads of IT, IT technicians and transformation directors to ensure technology provides an edge to their organisations.

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