Working from home with Office 365

March 24, 2016

With the continued innovations and progress of mobile devices and apps in the world of business, working from home is not as unusual as it might have been ten, even five years ago. These days the range and power of connectivity means we are rarely unavailable when it comes to accessing our work. In fact, according to numerous surveys and predictions, the traditional office may well be on the way out.

Indeed, as the above link suggests, remote work seems not only to be the wave of the future, but more and more the current trend. A survey at the Global Leadership Summit in London suggested that 34% of those asked believed that more than half of their colleagues would be remote by 2020. 25% of those queried thought that the amount would actually be closer to three-quarters of their company’s workforce. According to the Wall Street Journal, more than half of the businesses registered in the U.S. are now home-based.

So, for a primarily office-based employee, does working from home make a difference to productive output? How can you tell if someone is working as hard or getting distracted by home comforts? What if you need to access to your files but you can’t make it in to the office? What if you are are working remotely and the Internet goes down? This could open that all too familiar can of worms labelled ‘OneDrive for Business sync issues’. In this post we’ll explore whether working remotely is worth it. And if you currently do work away from the traditional office how to make the most of it.

OneDrive for business sync issues

The great reach of Office 365

With the power of Office 365 – the number 1 deployed app in enterprise – working from anywhere is a reality for many. It enables us to collaborate on the same projects from all corners with multi-functionalities that increase productivity in a remarkable way. But then, what happens if you lose access to the Internet? Not being able to connect to your data is a serious stumbling block, especially if you are away from the local, on-premises company servers. How often does the worst happen when you can least afford it?

A great way to ensure you are covered if your connectively is low/non-existent is to employ a solution that allows you to sync your files to your home computer/laptop or tablet – this is, in fact, pretty essential to avoid being caught out by ‘Sod’s Law’.

OneDrive for Business: all or nothing

Syncing files is a big part of the power of OneDrive for Business. On the surface it seems like just the solution you need to keep access to your files no matter what the situation or where you find yourself. But as we investigate a little further we’ll find certain nuances that are important to be aware of.

• OneDrive for Business syncs all files when it comes to Team Sites but does not allow the selecting of individual files or folders.

• The next gen sync client doesn’t actually work with Team Sites yet, but that is another topic altogether, covered here.

If you are looking to sync your files from a team site to OneDrive for Business you can, but you’ll have to take all the files within the site and sync them too! We’re not joking.You might ask yourself what’s the problem with syncing all the sites. Well it’s the somewhat small and arbitrary limits. Think that these limits make no difference? Consider this analogy….

Let’s say you are just leaving for a trip abroad and you are allowed to take any 2 items out of the following three choices; 1. Passport; 2. Driving licence so you can hire a car; 3. Foreign Money. Just to make it fun, you don’t know what you’ve left behind until you get to where you’re going. That’ll put a bit more buzz into the start of your holiday. Nothing like a bit of suspense.

Well, you can get the same ‘frisson of excitement’ with OneDrive for Business syncing those important files. You never know what you’ve left behind!” Not so incidentally, here’s a link to a pageful of OneDrive for Business sync issues.

OneDrive for business sync issues

So, we gather that there are major shortcomings with OneDrive for Business when attempting to work remotely:

Borrowing everybody else’s work

Taking the entire team site with you to work on one file clearly isn’t very efficient.   It’s not just the extra sync download, it’s opening up the opportunity to end up collaborating on files that you really hadn’t intended to touch in the first place.  You’ll end up uploading them all again if you ‘touch’ any of them while you’re out and about.

Arbitrary file limits

Downloading files for no good reason certainly won’t help with this next point.  Reaching file size and number limits which results in error messages, forcing you to leave your data behind, is incredibly frustrating, and more importantly very unproductive.

Recent activity alerts

Let’s say your Internet is working, how do you keep track of what your colleagues are working on so that you don’t step on toes? It’s frustrating when you’ve spent considerable time on a document only to find that a co-worker has already completed the task without your knowing, or while you worked on the same task. Office 365 can set alerts but then comes the issue of email streams crowding your inbox that you have to continuously set and unset.

Another way with Easier 365

With Easier 365 you can achieve ‘business as usual’. By simply copying key files and folders – select those individual files and folders you want to sync when working with your Team Sites. This solution gives you the ability to synchronise specifically without the imposed file or size limits.

With Easier 365 you can also put an end to the frustration of duplicate work as well as endless email streams. Using the Recent Activity tool, you can simply check the last 50 files, in one go, to see what has been updated. You can set this for any given location: Site, Library or Folder.

Talk to us at Digilink to find even more ways in which we can help you with your SharePoint, Office 365 and OneDrive for Business sync issues solutions. Start your trial of Easier 365 now and see how we can help take the tedium out of your remote work and insert a boost of productivity.

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