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  • January 08, 2019 12:48:59 PM
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A Little About Us

Onestop IT Solutions provides IT services to your business. Established in 2003, OnestopIT has grown to a staff of 9 with 3 offices covering Edinburgh and Glasgow. The team offers IT support, IT strategy, IT security and IT compliance support. At Onestop IT we care about understanding the specific needs of your organisation and translating these needs into action plans to support and develop your business.

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    5 Reasons To Invest In SEO & Crucial SEO Best Practices

    SEO stands for search engine optimisation, a digital marketing practice that improves your online visibility and helps get more eyes on your business’ website, spreading your reputation far and wide.  Talking about SEO can get complicated and technical very quickly. That’s why we’ve put together the guide below with a simple overview of what SEO Discover more The post 5 Reasons To Invest In SEO & Crucial SEO Best Practices appeared first on Onestop...

    SEO stands for search engine optimisation, a digital marketing practice that improves your online visibility and helps get more eyes on your business’ website, spreading your reputation far and wide. 

    Talking about SEO can get complicated and technical very quickly. That’s why we’ve put together the guide below with a simple overview of what SEO is, why it’s important for your business and what some of the best practices you should follow are. Read on to discover what SEO is and how you can start improving your company’s online presence with it.

    What is SEO?

    SEO is all about improving your visibility on different search engines people use to find information, products and services they need. It’s also important for improving the quality of your website, making it more user-friendly, faster to load and easier to navigate. While there are a number of search engines out there, Google is by far the biggest and most important one, which is why improving your status in the eyes of this internet giant will be the main focus in this article. 

    In order for your business’ website to rank highly in Google search results, your website has to meet certain technical and creative standards that search engine bots are trained to look for. To think like a search engine, you’ll need to consider two things: your website’s authority and its relevance to the search query. In this instance, relevance means how closely your website content matches search queries relevant to your business. Quality inbound content will help you build your website’s relevance. 

    Authority mainly refers to backlinks to your website from other authoritative sites – this shows you’re seen as an expert in your field. Link building campaigns can help you build high-quality backlinks, though these should start appearing organically if you post enough useful, inbound content to your site on a regular basis and promote it through things like social media, email and PPC.

    Five Reasons Why SEO Is Important For Your Business 

    1. It can drastically improve your website visitor count

    When’s the last time you navigated to the second page of your Google search results? We can hardly remember, either. The reality is that the first five results receive 67.6% of clicks, so this is where you need to be if you want more website visitors, leads and customers. SEO is the thing that can get you there. 

    2. It builds your brand’s credibility

    Good SEO helps grow trust in your business. That’s because appearing high up in search results conveys to users that your site is trustworthy and a source for high-quality information relating to your industry.

    3. It makes your website more user-friendly

    As we already mentioned, improving your SEO will also improve your website user experience. An SEO-friendly website means users find the information they need with fewer clicks. This means they’re less likely to exit out of your website out of frustration over not having found what they’re looking for.

    4. It’s relatively inexpensive

    Compared to many other digital marketing services, such as PPC advertising, SEO can be very affordable. Naturally, small business SEO services can vary a lot in price depending on the scope of the service and who’s offering it. That being said, while with PPC, you pay for every click you get on your ads on top of the fee you’re paying your digital marketing agency to create and optimise your ad campaigns, with SEO there are usually no extra fees like this. 

    If you’re interested in learning more about the difference between SEO and paid search, come back next week, when we’ll talk about this in our Monday blog post.

    5. It can help you recognise new opportunities

    Investing in your business’ SEO also means you have to think tactically about the content on your website and what your competitors are doing. This can help you recognise opportunities for new content for your website – or even new products or services. It can also help you come up with ways to expand on resources you’re already offering.

    The most important SEO best practices

    1. Build your website with visitors, not search engines, in mind

    When you start learning about SEO, you might be tempted to stuff your website with as many keywords as possible, leading to clunky and unnatural text. Practices like this put off the people who visit your website, and at the end of the day, it’s people, not search engines who bring revenue to your business. 

    Not only that, but Google has developed to be sophisticated enough to favour user-friendly content and to see through obvious tactics to try and win their favour. Because of this, they’ll penalise your website with lower rankings if it’s clear that the people navigating to your site are not finding value on it.

    2. Optimise your site for mobile

    With more and more Google searches being made on mobile devices rather than desktop computers, Google now indexes and ranks websites predominantly using the mobile version of their content. As a result, if your website doesn’t work properly for mobile users, providing them with an intuitive user experience, your Google ranking will suffer.

    3. Define some relevant long-tail keywords to rank for

    By now, you’ve heard how it’s important to be one of the first websites in Google search results. That’s all good and well, you might think, but how on earth are you going to manage that for popular searches in your industry?

    You’re right to have your hesitations about this – ranking highly for very generic keywords like “cybersecurity” or “accounting services” is incredibly difficult simply because there’s a huge amount of competition and content on the internet built around these keywords.

    That’s why you should set your sights instead on longer, more specific keywords that don’t have as much competition around them, such as “cybersecurity awareness training Edinburgh” or “online accounting tools for freelancers”. These are known as longtail keywords and they should be at the heart of your SEO strategy.

    4. Create quality content on a regular basis

    Great, keyword-optimised content published on your website regularly has a hugely positive impact on your SEO. It helps you rank higher for your chosen long-tail keywords and makes website visitors spend a longer time on your site – a fact that will also raise your website’s relevance in the eyes of search engines.

    In conclusion

    Search engine optimisation should be a key part of your digital marketing. Check out our marketing blog posts for more information on how to get business. Our blog is updated weekly on Mondays with new insights on technology, business and IT security.

    The post 5 Reasons To Invest In SEO & Crucial SEO Best Practices appeared first on Onestop IT.


    How To Use Digital Marketing To Get More Business

    The word ‘marketing’ might make you think of sleazy sales tactics or glamorous 50s ad execs straight from Mad Men, but in reality, modern marketing is neither. Marketing is vital for any business that wants to make a name for itself and these days, focusing on all things digital is key. In today’s blog post, Discover more The post How To Use Digital Marketing To Get More Business appeared first on Onestop...

    The word ‘marketing’ might make you think of sleazy sales tactics or glamorous 50s ad execs straight from Mad Men, but in reality, modern marketing is neither. Marketing is vital for any business that wants to make a name for itself and these days, focusing on all things digital is key.

    In today’s blog post, we’ll go over three essential digital marketing practices you should be taking advantage of: SEO, content creation and reputation marketing. We’ll also touch on inbound marketing, a strategy that puts your potential customers first and draws – rather than pushes – them towards your business.

    What is marketing and why you need it

    In a nutshell, marketing is a practice that helps you better understand your target customers and what they want and need. Modern marketers achieve this through research into your existing clients, your business and its competitors in order to identify industry trends. Then, they start applying these findings to different marketing activities like the ones we’ll go into in this article. They also continuously optimise marketing campaigns to reflect changes in the industry, search engine algorithms and digital advertising platforms.

    Digital marketing is, simply put, all the digital aspects of marketing combined. These days, it makes up most of any given company’s marketing. Instead of billboards, we now have PPC ads and instead of leaflets, we have marketing emails. Digital marketing can be more personalised and reach a wider audience, making it a better investment than traditional marketing in most cases.

    You need marketing for your business because otherwise, no one will know you exist. And even if you don’t have a marketing department and haven’t hired a digital marketing agency to help you get your business on the map, chances are you’re already doing some digital marketing for your business yourself. Every time you update your business’ Facebook page, send out a client email or add new content to your website, you’re marketing your business. 

    The trick is to get more tactical with these activities so that even more people find their way to your business. This is where your marketing strategy comes in.

    Why your marketing strategy should be inbound

    To be successful in your marketing, you need a plan. We recommend making yours inbound. Inbound marketing is a concept created by Hubspot, a marketing software company, and it focuses on creating marketing campaigns that serve your audience before they serve you. Inbound marketing relies on drawing customers to your business more organically rather than trying to push them to it with salesy, often outdated tactics that are about you, not them. 

    What this means in practice is that the campaigns you create offer value to those exposed to them, even if they don’t end up being clients of yours. This could be creating a blog full of helpful articles, posting social media updates that entertain and educate them or sending well-timed emails that anticipate their needs by offering the information they need to move closer to purchasing from you. 

    We’re big believers in inbound marketing because it puts your customers first, anticipating their issues and adding value to their interactions with your business. This will help you create a brand people love. It’s also cost-effective and SEO-friendly – what’s not to love?

    Utilising SEO for greater online visibility

    SEO stands for search engine optimisation, and it’s one of the key parts of any modern digital marketing strategy. SEO is all about making your website more visible on search engines so that more people find your business when they’re searching for products or services like yours online.

    Search engines like Google find the most relevant results for their users by crawling websites to find information they think will be relevant to the searcher. The goal of SEO is to add signs online to your business as a legitimate, high-quality source for information and consists of three different aspects you need to address in your SEO strategy. 

    Technical SEO is the first one and it makes sure search engines are able to effectively “read” your website so that your site can show up in search results. Most of this is in the form of settings on your website you have to configure properly. The good news is that once you’ve done this, you’ll likely not have to think about technical SEO again.

    Onsite SEO is all about optimising the content on your website. This starts with finding relevant keywords for your business. These are terms you think your ideal customer would search to find your website – for example, “cheap hairdresser Glasgow”. You’ll need to find keywords with people searching for them each month but ones that aren’t so competitive you’ll struggle to ever reach the first page of search results. 

    This is why you should go for longer, more focused keywords, known as long-tail keywords. These could be something like “Aveda hairdresser Glasgow student discount”. Then, you use these keywords strategically across your website in things like product descriptions, blog posts and meta tags. This way, search engines come to see your site as being knowledgeable about these subjects.

    The third and final form of search engine optimisation is offsite SEO. This consists of getting other reputable websites to add links to your site so that search engines start to see you as a source for authoritative content. This happens organically and over time if you create quality content for your website on a regular basis and promote it online. However, you can also take on more active link building activities, like writing guest blogs.

    Why create quality content for your website 

    In order for you to rank for your target keywords and offer valuable, inbound content for your would-be clients, you need great content on your website. Informative product descriptions and high-quality blog posts help with your SEO and build trust in your website visitors, making them more likely to convert.

    Great content helps with every step in your sales funnel. It helps bring new leads into your business through keywords, gets their attention with useful content that answers their questions and warms them up with more informative content until they’re ready to purchase from you. Once they’ve become a paying customer, you can continue to delight them with things like blog posts and marketing emails that make them more likely to become a repeat customer and an avid promoter of your business.

    You might be tempted to just stuff your website with keywords to appeal to search engines, but this isn’t a good idea. First of all, it’ll put off the human visitors to your website. Second of all, these days, search engines are smart enough that they see through tactics like these and penalise sites for things like overusing keywords. Search engines want to provide their users with the best possible search results, so they want to make sure the websites on the first page of their search results are written with humans, not search engines in mind.

    The importance of reputation marketing

    Managing your online reputation should also be an important part of your marketing strategy. We’ve talked about the importance of online reviews on this blog in the past: they’re vital for getting your business in front of more people on search engines and review websites and offer the information your would-be clients need in order to convert.

    Reputation marketing means actively monitoring and responding to customer reviews, taking proactive steps to get more online reviews from your customers and using positive reviews in your other marketing efforts throughout your website, emails, social media and downloadable guides. In short, reputation marketing takes things a set further from simple reputation management: it uses reviews strategically to get more business.

    Our recommended tool for online reviews management is Ratings & Reviews Optimisation – read more about it here and get in touch with our experts for your quote.

    The post How To Use Digital Marketing To Get More Business appeared first on Onestop IT.


    Your Guide To Changing To A Flexible, Remote Business Model

    Remote and flexible work go hand in hand, and together, they present the future of work. As we mentioned in last week’s blog post, we might soon see half of the UK’s workforce telecommuting at least some of the time. Meanwhile, having some flexibility over the hours you work is a very attractive perk, especially Discover more The post Your Guide To Changing To A Flexible, Remote Business Model appeared first on Onestop...

    Remote and flexible work go hand in hand, and together, they present the future of work. As we mentioned in last week’s blog post, we might soon see half of the UK’s workforce telecommuting at least some of the time. Meanwhile, having some flexibility over the hours you work is a very attractive perk, especially for millennials, 75% of whom said they’d choose flexible working hours over a pay rise.

    But how do you actually make the shift from a traditional, office-based 9-5 business to a flexible, location-independent one? In today’s blog post, we’ll go over this process step by step, from hiring the right people and easing existing staff members to the new way of working to managing accountability, trust and work-life balance within your teams.

    Is your company suitable for remote or flexible work?

    Not all businesses or teams suit a fully-remote business model. Some areas of work require a brick and mortar location from where you serve customers and have employees work together on projects. However, that doesn’t mean that all businesses can’t adopt some degree of flexible and remote work. 

    For example, hairdressers can’t really telecommute to the salon for their appointments, but they could have some team meetings virtually and do admin work like ordering more products from the comfort of their home. Similarly, they could take bookings for 6 am or 9 pm to suit their own schedule and serve people who can’t make it into a salon during the day. So in short, with a bit of imagination, most businesses can adopt aspects of flexible and remote working into their business model. 

    Easing your business into remote working

    Making your company fully remote isn’t an overnight transformation. It’s a business decision that takes time to plan and implement. Maybe instead of having all of your staff go 100% remote at the same time, you could have certain teams start working from home a few days a week. Treating this as a bit of a trial period and asking participating staff members to give feedback and suggestions based on their experience will enable you to make more informed decisions if you do make the shift to a fully remote business – though this doesn’t have to be your goal!

    Working from home allows for a more flexible business model, which is something we recommend you take advantage of. What this means in practice is that your employees won’t be tied to a strict 9-5 schedule: they can go pick up their kids from school or hit the gym in the middle of the day, completing work on a schedule that works for them. Being able to get to work at the crack of dawn or tackling your to-do list late into the evening means your staff is able to reap the benefits of working at a time when they’re naturally most productive. Just make sure people don’t overwork themselves.

    Creating new routines is also an important part of the shift to remote work. The daily commute is an important routine for office-based people, allowing them to make the mental shift between work and home. Encouraging your staff to find a routine that works for them and promotes a healthy work-life balance is key, whether that’s setting up a home office in the spare room or walking the dog before and after their working day.

    Hiring the right people for remote work

    Telecommuting works with some people’s personality types better than others’. Someone who is self-reliant and internally motivated is more likely to be able to hold themselves accountable and complete work independently – both of these capabilities are vital for people who work from home. Meanwhile, someone who loves the watercooler chat and being able to walk over to a coworker’s desk for a quick question or a bit of a natter several times a day might struggle with remote working.

    A good candidate for remote work is also great at both verbal and written communication – this is key to good online communication and helps avoid misunderstandings and hurt feelings. They should also be confident with the technology that makes remote work possible for your business, or willing to learn. 

    Fostering company culture and work-life balance

    Running a remote business doesn’t mean you can’t have great company culture. It’s also important to shield your employees from burnout and other mental health issues even if they work from home, as a remote business model presents its own challenges. 

    While the ability to work from a setting you feel comfortable in and on a schedule that suits you can be very beneficial to avoid burnout and similar issues, some people can find working from home isolating and struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance. 

    That’s why fostering a company culture where people feel like they can talk openly with their coworkers and line managers is very important. We recommend you host one-on-one catch-ups between managers and their employees regularly – at least once a month. These can take place in person or via a video conferencing tool. 

    Having regular, informal hangouts with other members of the team is also important. Remote companies like Buffer and Toptal bring their staff together regularly for both themed virtual hangouts like cook-offs or virtual yoga classes and in-person company retreats. While large, multinational companies can afford to fly their staff out to a villa in Thailand on a regular basis, small businesses with a UK-based staff can all get together in a city that’s easily reached by all for a day or two of coworking and mingling.

    When you work from home, it’s easy for the line between your work and home life to get blurred, meaning that you’re checking emails at night while your personal life takes a toll. So encourage your employees to set working hours they stick to whenever possible and that they turn off notifications at other times. They should also let their coworkers know these hours so that they can respect them. 

    Trust and accountability in a flexible business

    Offering remote and flexible work requires you to trust your people. Shifting to this business model means you need to take a look at how you evaluate performance and productivity at present and how that might need to be adapted to suit your new way of working.

    If you currently think time spent physically in the office is a good indicator as to who your most productive staff members are, you’ll need to rethink this. Showing face isn’t a good indicator of the quality or quantity of work being completed and if you want to offer your employees the chance to work from home, you have to be able to trust them to get the work done even when there’s no one “watching” them. If you find yourself unable to make this mental shift, you need to consider if the fault is with you or if you have the wrong people on your team.

    Remote working means your employees have to be self-reliant and able to complete tasks without too much hand-holding from their managers. That’s why adopting a more flexible organisational structure can help with productivity and communication within remote teams.  When employees are able to make suggestions for the projects they’re working on and complete tasks without needing to get everything approved by their manager, their confidence grows and they’ll start feeling more comfortable working independently and from home.

    In conclusion

    If you’d like some more information on the pros and cons of remote working, check out our article on whether working from home is right for your business. Our recommended suite for remote companies is Office 365 – read our article on how its cloud-based tools support location-independent collaboration here.

    The post Your Guide To Changing To A Flexible, Remote Business Model appeared first on Onestop IT.


    Remote Working – Is It Right For You & The Tools You Need

    Remote working is definitely a trend on the rise. As much as 50% of the UK workforce will be telecommuting by 2020 if this practice keeps growing at the same rate as it has in the past decade.  Whether you’re simply curious about working from home, are interested in offering the option of telecommuting to Discover more The post Remote Working – Is It Right For You & The Tools You Need appeared first on Onestop...

    Remote working is definitely a trend on the rise. As much as 50% of the UK workforce will be telecommuting by 2020 if this practice keeps growing at the same rate as it has in the past decade. 

    Whether you’re simply curious about working from home, are interested in offering the option of telecommuting to your staff some of the time or want to shift into having a fully remote team, this article is for you. Here are some of the positive and negative aspects of remote working as well as a description of some of the digital tools that can help you with the switch.

    The pros of offering remote working to staff

    The benefits of remote working for staff members are clear: without the commute, they can work from a setting they find most conducive to productivity during the hours that suit them best. As a result, they can enjoy a better work-life balance, with more time for hobbies and taking care of kids or family members needing special care.

    The above benefits aren’t limited to the employees, though: a happy and fulfilled staff equals greater productivity, a higher level of job satisfaction and a lower employee turnover rate. Your team members won’t be tired or stressed by the time they get to the office, but rather, can get to work right when they wake up or take a short walk to their favourite coffee shop with their work laptop. 

    It’s no surprise that people working from home also get more done: a Stanford University survey found that homeworking people were 13% more productive than their office-bound peers, while another survey found that remote staff self-evaluated their productivity at 7.7/10, while people in offices rated themselves at 6.5.

    Offering your staff the option to work from home is a very welcome perk, especially for Millennials who are very accustomed to electronic communications and are now starting to have children. Remote working is also a way for smaller companies to compete with bigger organisations who might be able to offer larger salaries and better name recognition. In fact, one survey found that 36% of people would prefer the option to work remotely over a pay rise. 

    Remote working also means you can hire the best talent with less focus on their geographical location. And if a key player in your business moves from the city you’re based in, you don’t have to go through the trouble of finding a qualified replacement as they can keep working for you.

    Remote working also lowers your operational costs. You’ll need a smaller office, even if you’re offering people the option to work from home a few days a week and operating a hot-desking policy the rest of the time. By saving people from the commute and operating from a smaller office, you’ll also be a more eco-friendly business.

    Potential pitfalls of allowing staff to work from home

    So clearly, there are numerous advantages to allowing staff to work from home at least some of the time. That being said, the shift to remote work is not all plain sailing. Some of the problems you might run into when shifting your business towards flexible work are around accountability, communication and culture, while IT security should also be given special attention to avoid data breaches.

    While studies show that productivity increases when people are allowed to work from home, there’s always the possibility of someone taking advantage of this flexibility and trust to shirk their duties. That’s why it’s important to have a process in place to allocate responsibilities and holding people accountable for the progress of the projects they’re working on.

    Problems can also arise in your company culture and communication if you don’t take a strategic approach to this when introducing remote working. Especially if part of the team works in the office, remote team members can easily feel isolated and left out. 

    That’s why it’s important you organise regular social get-togethers for all staff – face-to-face when possible and via video if your staff all live far apart from each other. Similarly, having specific digital channels to chat about work projects and using the ‘@’ function to tag people into messages are important rules to follow to avoid miscommunications.

    And finally, to avoid IT security issues, you should implement a strong BYOD policy, use VPNs and encryption and make sure devices your staff use for work are always protected by anti-malware software and a firewall. Investing in some cybersecurity awareness training is also a good idea.

    What tools you need for a remote team

    There are a large number of intuitive digital tools out there that promise better communication and productivity to remote workers. Investing in some of these means your company culture is less likely to suffer from a move to flexible working. It also means that work continues to be done on time, with minimal issues rising from things like missed emails and meeting invitations as well as general miscommunications.

    First of all, your staff needs to be able to access relevant files wherever they are, be it their home office, the train or their favourite cafe. That’s why you need a cloud-based storage system where people can add files and make comments and edits without needing to download files to their device, creating multiple versions of the same file. 

    A productivity tracking tool like Asana or Teamwork allows you to assign tasks to specific people and track their progress, making sure deadlines are met. This means it’s easier to keep people accountable and ensure the same work isn’t done twice or, worse yet, not done at all because someone missed an email or thought someone else was doing the work.

    Chat tools like Slack and Telegram allow staff to have the kind of casual conversations that would take place in the kitchen or break room in a traditional office. Channels in these tools can also be used to communicate about specific projects and within specific teams. A video conferencing tool like Zoom allows you to host virtual meetings wherever your staff are. Video conferencing tools can also be used for virtual hangouts, where homeworking colleagues can get to know each other and their office-based coworkers in a more casual setting.

    How Office 365 can support remote teams

    As you probably gathered from the above, a successful remote team depends on flexible digital tools. The cost of subscriptions to a number of these can add up pretty quickly, not to mention that it can be difficult to get staff used to a whole bunch of new tools and know which one is used for what. That’s why we recommend Office 365 for remote teams.

    Office 365’s tools are familiar to everyone, making the move to this cloud-based suite easier. Apart from classic favourites like Word and Excel, your O365 subscription also gives you access to a number of tools that can be hugely beneficial to remote teams.

    You can host video meetings and chat with coworkers on Microsoft Teams and collaborate on files using SharePoint and OneDrive. You can also schedule work and send emails using Outlook. Office 365 is fully cloud-based, meaning that your staff can work from anywhere and comes with robust cybersecurity.


    All of this comes with just one, monthly subscription. If you’re interested in learning more about how O365 works and whether it’s right for your business, read our series of articles on Office 365 here. To talk to our IT experts about getting started with your subscription, get in touch with us.

    The post Remote Working – Is It Right For You & The Tools You Need appeared first on Onestop IT.


    4 Ways Office 365 Can Help With Your Team’s Collaboration

    Collaborative work is key to greater productivity and a more satisfied staff and with today’s digital tools, teamwork is easier and more agile than ever. In recent years, Microsoft has added new collaborative tools like Teams to their repertoire as well as building new functionalities for better teamwork to existing applications within Office 365.  In Discover more The post 4 Ways Office 365 Can Help With Your Team’s Collaboration appeared first on Onestop...

    Collaborative work is key to greater productivity and a more satisfied staff and with today’s digital tools, teamwork is easier and more agile than ever. In recent years, Microsoft has added new collaborative tools like Teams to their repertoire as well as building new functionalities for better teamwork to existing applications within Office 365

    In today’s blog post, we’ll go over how you can use Office 365’s cloud-based tools for better collaboration within your organisation as well as sharing tips for better communication using Office 365 so that you get the most out of your subscription.

    Why collaboration is so important

    Effective collaboration is vital for any organisation that wants to harness the full potential of their staff and increase their productivity. In fact, a study by Stanford University found that people who worked collaboratively to complete a project stuck to their task 64% longer than their solitary peers while also reporting higher levels of engagement and lower levels of fatigue. The participants working in groups also had a higher success rate.

    Teamwork also supports business because it allows a diverse group of talents to come together to brainstorm creative solutions to problems. They can all add their own ideas and specialist skills to a project and get support from other team members where their own skills are lacking. This way, collaboration also allows your staff to learn from each other on the job and helps individuals have a more complete and objective view of their own professional strengths and weaknesses.

    Working together towards a common goal means projects are completed faster and also increases a sense of belonging and purpose, contributing to a better corporate culture. Shared victories especially bring teams together and help staff members feel like they’re working towards something that matters.

    Benefits of using Office 365 for collaborative work:

    Benefit no. 1: Work on a document with others in real-time

    Microsoft Teams and OneDrive allow you to collaborate with others seamlessly and in real-time wherever you are. You can start working on a document privately until you’re happy to share it with others: you can share your document with the relevant people and ask for their input and edits. You can see any edits and comments these people make in real-time, allowing multiple people to work on the same file simultaneously to complete work faster. 

    Using @-mentions help draw the right person’s attention to a specific part of a file and the built-in document chat allows you to talk over any issues. Once you’re happy with your work, you can share it with the entire team and external stakeholders to spread the fruits of your collaborative labour. You have complete control over the files you have created and can stop sharing at any time.

    Office 365 offers a central, cloud-based location for all your files, conversations and calendars, making it easy to find whatever you’re looking for quickly and without the need for multiple versions of a single file.

    Benefit no. 2: No more email fails

    Have you ever forgotten to CC someone important into an email – or perhaps worse, accidentally CC’d someone into an email they definitely shouldn’t have seen? Have you ever spent a good chunk working on a document that was forwarded to you only to find that that wasn’t the latest version and that your hard work has effectively been pointless? You’re not alone.

    It’s easy to point fingers and cause hurt feelings when email communication fails. But with Office 365’s collaboration tools, email blunders like this could become a thing of the past. Using Planner inside Microsoft Teams, you can assign tasks to people and use @-mentions to draw someone’s attention to a specific message, file or meeting invite. This means that you can track progress, assign accountability and avoid the dreaded accidental ‘reply to all’ – simply reserve email for company-wide announcements.

    Benefit no. 3: Easily schedule and share meeting invites

    It’s easy to get more people involved with meetings when you use Office 365. You can easily create meetings and share them with the right people using different Channels in Teams. Your coworkers can then easily RSVP with just a couple of clicks. You can also share your calendar via Outlook so that your colleagues know your availability to avoid diary clashes.

    Video meetings using Office 365 mean you can record your conversation, while Microsoft’s AI automatically timestamps and transcribes it, making sure you can easily share, search and index your meeting after the fact.

    Benefit no. 4: Work collaboratively from anywhere 

    With no one around you other than your cat, remote work can easily feel cumbersome and lonely if you don’t have tools that easily and instantly connect you to the rest of your team and to the resources you need to complete your work. Working from home doesn’t have to mean feeling isolated from the rest of your team when you use Office 365. 

    With Office 365’s cloud-based applications, remote work is easy. You’ll always have access to the resources you need, wherever you are, have the latest version of a file and see changes your other team members are making to it in real-time. You can also rest easy knowing all information is securely stored in the cloud. 

    You can also take part in video meetings wherever you are and chat around a virtual watercooler using the appropriate Channels in Teams. This allows you to build great company culture even for remote teams.

    Tips for better team communication in Office 365

    To get the most out of Office 365’s collaborative tools, you’ll have to educate your people on how to use them; otherwise, you’ll risk them continuing to use their new, cloud-based applications like they would their boxed-in desktop tools.

    Having company-wide guidelines for using Office 365’s teamwork features is also key in avoiding miscommunications and simply missing communications. To avoid specific people missing important updates, ask people to tag these key stakeholders into any relevant messages they send and files they upload. 

    Make sure people also feel empowered to ask clarifying questions when necessary and that they let all stakeholders know of any delays and mistakes that pop up to allow for more transparency and less confusion.

    With about 70% of the communications we use being non-verbal, it can be easy to misunderstand the tone of a written message. That’s why it’s important to remind staff of this fact for when they’re collaborating online with their peers. 

    It’s also a good idea to outline what kind of comments are acceptable on collaborative channels and have a policy in place for the use of emojis and GIFs. You should also add video meetings to your repertoire if you have any staff members who work from home to allow them to have a more complete picture of their coworkers.

    If you want more information on getting the most out of your Office 365 subscription, check out more articles on the subject here. We publish new blog posts on IT strategy, business and cybersecurity weekly, so make sure to come back to our blog for more informative content.

    The post 4 Ways Office 365 Can Help With Your Team’s Collaboration appeared first on Onestop IT.


    Office 365 & Telephony – A Match Made In Heaven

    These days, most of our messages are delivered via the internet: from emails to texts, calls and voice memos sent via free services like Messenger and WhatsApp, there’s no longer a need to worry about your monthly text allowance since WiFi and 4G have irreversibly changed the way we communicate with each other. And why Discover more The post Office 365 & Telephony – A Match Made In Heaven appeared first on Onestop...

    These days, most of our messages are delivered via the internet: from emails to texts, calls and voice memos sent via free services like Messenger and WhatsApp, there’s no longer a need to worry about your monthly text allowance since WiFi and 4G have irreversibly changed the way we communicate with each other. And why should business calls be any different?

    In today’s blog post, we’re taking a look at how IP telephony – or more simply put, calls made via the internet – can support your business, drive down costs and generally simplify the day-to-day life in your company. We’ll also go over how VoIP (voice over internet protocol) works in Office 365.

    What are telephony, VoIP and PBX?

    Simply put, telephony refers to transmitting voice calls and voice data through IP networks – in other words, over the internet. Different telephony options have become increasingly popular in recent years due to advantages like competitive pricing and easy setup, but more on this later. For now, we’ll take a look at two common types of telephony: VoIP and PBX. 

    A VoIP (Voice over IP) setup is very simple: all you need is an internet connection and a computer or IP phone. Despite this, it can offer a complete service that takes care of all of your company’s calls, both internal and external.

    PBX  stands for Private Branch Exchange and it offers a private, company-wide phone network. A PBX can utilise various systems, including traditional, analogue phonecalls and VoIP to offer a complete solution. This means that you can have a physical phone line, but also leverage the benefits offered by telephony, such as free IP calls. 

    Because a PBX system is internal to your company and doesn’t have to rely on your internet connection, your call quality won’t be affected by external factors. A traditional PBX is run on your business premises using your own hardware. A typical setup will consist of a computer server, a control board and multiple lines connecting to the public system. A PBX that leverages VoIP technology, on the other hand, usually doesn’t need any additional hardware.

    Benefits of using VoIP telephony for business

     VoIP services are attractive to all kinds of companies, but small businesses especially can find great value in telephony due to its unique benefits. Alongside the typical calling features you’d expect – like call waiting and voicemail – you can find many extra features that offer value. Here are the six best ones:

    1. It’s cheaper – You can usually make free calls using VoIP –  international calls are typically also extremely cheap. There’s no need to pay for a line dedication like with traditional phone systems, and there’s usually just a single, small monthly payment to make.

    2. It’s easy to set up – Because there’s no need for extra hardware with a VoIP system and they can be managed from your computer, they’re easy to set up and reconfigure without expert knowledge.

    3. Scaling up is also easier – If your company is expanding quickly, you need a telephone system that can be easily scaled up to support your needs – and VoIP offers you just that. You can add new lines and numbers very easily without expert knowledge or calling in a specialist technician.

    4. It supports remote working – Because VoIP services are cloud-based, it makes working from anywhere a breeze. Your staff can make and answer calls using their computer and a headset wherever they are, as long as there’s an internet connection.

    5. It’s flexible and additional features make your life easier – You can set up your VoIP system to automatically transfer calls to another number based on specific conditions like the day, time and the number of the caller. You can also have voice mails automatically transcribed into text.

    6. Your customers get a reply quickly – Since you can automatically transfer calls to other team members and work from anywhere using VoIP, you can serve your customers quickly and around the clock. This raises customer satisfaction and your business reputation – both are essential for a successful company.

    Using telephony with Office 365

    Telephony is also available for Office 365. Currently, Office 365 VoIP calls are delivered through Skype for Business. However, Skype for Business is currently being phased out, with VoIP functionalities currently being integrated into Microsoft Teams. Here’s what you can expect from Office 365’s VoIP service.

    Apart from traditional voice calls, you can also easily add video or file sharing to any VoIP call made through Office 365. You can also sign up for notifications for other team members’ availability take calls and answer calls on their behalf. All calls are recorded in your call history, making it easy to refer back to any conversation after the fact to offer the best possible experience for your clients and business partners.

    Meetings are also a breeze thanks to the AI functionalities Office 365’s VoIP service utilises: before a meeting, Teams will find you the relevant documents and information about participants to help you prepare. During the meeting, you can set Teams to record, transcribe and timestamp your conversation – so there’s no need for any of you to keep minutes! 

    Due to the software’s voice recognition capabilities, Teams can also accurately attribute remarks made to the right participants. After the meeting, you can add the recording and transcript to the relevant Teams Channel so that everyone in your team can review the information.

    Internet telephony in Office 365 also offers the same strong level of cybersecurity you can expect from all of their products: your calls are encrypted by default with no need to subscribe to a VPN.

    Why not check out some more weekly articles on business and IT strategy on our blog? We have a number of great articles on getting the most out of Office 365 products. To talk to our experts how to get started with VoIP, get in touch with us.

    The post Office 365 & Telephony – A Match Made In Heaven appeared first on Onestop IT.


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