If you work with people in the corporate and business arena, they’re going have hybrid working on their mind.

As a professional assistant, you are in a strong position to offer value.

Organisations and employees have undergone what’s been described as “the biggest working from home experiment in the world”.

Giving people secure laptops, time tracking apps, and access to Zoom and Microsoft Teams, was all part of the first phase of widespread remote working.

The next stage is all about what the future model of work life is going to be.

Big Brands are Split on the Way Forward

Whilst the likes of Google appear to be in favour of bringing employees back to the office, other big tech companies (including Facebook, Amazon and Salesforce) seem to be embracing the hybrid approach.

Spotify are continuing to offer their people the chance to work from anywhere they would like.

The most likely scenario is that hybrid working will become the norm. Some days in the office. Some days working remotely, typically from home.

According to Cisco, 98 per cent of all future meetings are likely to have at least one person participating remotely.

Whilst sole traders and much smaller businesses might be making do with Zoom alone, the typical SME or larger brand organisation will be making use of Microsoft Teams.

If they’re using Microsoft Office, they already have it. And they can hold virtual meetings and calls with Teams – with or without the use of Zoom.

Many Organisations are Not Making the Most of It

It’s one thing to have the hardware and the software in place. It’s another thing, entirely, to have all your people using it productively, efficiently and for smooth collaboration.

This is where the smarter-working assistant can step in and support.

If the organisation has not provided training in Microsoft Teams for its employees, perhaps this is something you could help with – or maybe you could assist them in finding a reputable trainer.

Because if people lack competence or confidence in how to use the tools, it will affect their ability to work. It creates inefficiency, weakens communication and hinders the flow of collaboration.

Microsoft Teams Icon

Investment in training in Teams will repay itself many times over.

Highlight the Functions and Benefits

As an assistant, with knowledge of how to tame Microsoft Teams, you are in a position to help colleagues, bosses and clients maximise the power of the tools.

During the past year, for example, Microsoft has seen the number of active users of the Whiteboard feature in Teams increase 12-fold.

People can use it to share ideas, brainstorm and keep adding to it. There’s none of that “Can someone take a picture of the whiteboard and share” anymore. It’s all saved automatically and everyone has access to the latest version.

Sometimes it can be useful to prepare the whiteboard in advance of a meeting. Is that something you could do, might be asked to do or can suggest is done?

And, if you know Teams well, you’ll know that a whiteboard can be added to a ‘channel’ – for a specific project or longer-term discussions by relevant team members.

It’s Easy to Forget How Much Teams Can Do

If there is a large meeting using Teams, there is scope to use virtual breakout rooms to allow for smaller group discussions and conversations. Each ‘room’ can have its own interactive whiteboard.

Microsoft Teams also allows you to run polls during meetings. This is a simple and effective way to secure feedback – either on ideas, presentations or training sessions.

And, of course, virtual meetings have presented an additional challenge for leaders, presenters and trainers.

When you are in a room with people (remember those days?) you can see their expressions and how they are responding to what you are saying and sharing.

That is much more difficult online.

One of the ways Microsoft addressed this issue was to create PowerPoint Live in Teams. It allows the speaker and the audience to have an enhanced experience.

Presenters can review notes, engage in chats and actually see their audience – all in a single view – and allow a smooth transition to another presenter. None of that clunky switching.

Meeting attendees also enjoy a better experience. They can use hyperlinks and interact with videos, taking content in at their own pace, and ask questions via chat message.

Your colleagues or clients may not realise the full capabilities of Microsoft Teams. You can give them the heads up and lap up the thanks for making it easier for everyone to be more collaborative and productive.

No Longer a ‘Good to Know’

If you are a professional assistant, you may already have a good working knowledge of Microsoft Office and 365. (If not, it will pay you to explore online training options).

But Microsoft Teams is a relative newcomer to the tech giant’s stable of powerful apps.

It maybe you have been getting by without using it or learning how to use it to the full.

However – and sorry if I am the one who has to break this to you – Microsoft Teams is no longer a tool that’s nice to know. It is a ‘must know’ for any aspiring and higher-level assistant.

Organisations and clients that use it will expect you to not only know it but to know it better than any of their people. Most probably, they’ll look to you for setting things up before meetings and to have an eye on training options.

If you are already au fait with Microsoft Teams, you have a head start on the rest. If this powerful tool is still a mystery to you, better get to know it sooner rather than later.

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn.

It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney

Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.

Sarah Clements – Inuous

Absolutely superb course, easy to follow and to refer back whilst putting it all into practice! I was unaware of the extent you can customise a presentation and it’s just made me want to know more – what’s next Shelley?

Denise Williams

I thought I had a pretty good grasp of Outlook until I did this course! In her videos, Shelley is clear and concise, and the language she uses is straightforward and jargon-free. Each module is broken down into manageable chunks, which helps keep your attention and means the course is easy to fit in around other commitments. I’ve created email templates and implemented rules that are already saving me time, and as all the other things I’ve learnt start to become second nature, the positive impact on my efficiency is fast becoming clear. This course has been incredibly beneficial and I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to strengthen their skills and boost productivity.

Pip Doleman VA

I thought I knew Powerpoint really well, but I wanted to specifically learn how to use Powerpoint to create better infographics, easily and quickly. Shelley explains everything in a very logical and clear way, so I understood everything the first time I heard it. The most useful thing I learnt was that Powerpoint can do so much more than I thought it could. By also using the short cuts that Shelley showed me I am much quicker than I have ever been and I thought I was already quick!

Susan Marot

Shelley Fishel of Tomorrow’s VA has a wealth of experience in Microsoft Office. I met her in person 2 years ago at the PA Show in London. I also saw her in action in a fab workshop and knew she was the whizz that everyone had told me she was. I have since bought a lifetime access to her HUB and all the courses in there are a MUST if you are a VA on a mission. The courses will give you confidence in all the Office 365 components and will catapult you to dizzy heights

Alex Hughes