We all know that remote working is on the rise.

In many countries, it has been something thrust onto companies because of lockdowns and other restrictions.

Businesses have had to find ways to make remote working work – for bosses and employees alike.Is this remotely interesting?

The figures speak for themselves.

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the number of workers in the UK who are remote working has increased by almost a quarter of a million in just over a decade.

The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the trend.

ONS figures for April this year showed almost half of adults in employment were working from home.

A number of surveys have indicated that despite bosses’ fears, productivity levels of staff have either remained about the same – or even increased.

Research suggests employees are happier, more motivated and enjoy the sense of freedom working remotely and from home.

That may account for the positive impact on productivity.

Instead of commuting and doing the ‘9 to 5’, people have largely enjoyed more flexibility in their working week.

Studies into internet use and remote-working hours have revealed a shift in the way many employees are getting stuff done. Larks are using earlier morning hours to tackle tasks, night owls are on their laptops at 9pm, 10pm, 11pm, midnight and even into the early hours.

Business bosses are beginning to see that as long as the work gets done when the work gets done is not so relevant. Some companies have created core hours, when the whole team works, with staff allowed to choose when they work the rest of their hours.

Communications and how to collaborate without meeting in person is still a challenge for many organisations.

Platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have seen huge increases in take-up since the pandemic began. Remote working is now the norm.

It’s why you may well hear phrases like “I’m all Zoomed out” from employees, freelancers and entrepreneurs – because almost all meetings now seem to take place online.

Globally, Microsoft said in April that Teams usage had increased 70 per cent to more than 75 million daily active users.

What was a relatively little-used feature of Microsoft 365 has now become the application of choice for many businesses.

The tech giant says two in every three Teams users are interacting with or collaborating with files inside the app.

The number of organisations integrating other apps with Teams has trebled, says Microsoft.

It’s possible you might not find all these statistics, surveys and trends very interesting. But they are important because they will impact on your VA business.

Companies will expect you to know how to use Teams. In fact, because they are relative latecomers to being users of it, they will assume you’ve been using it from the start and can be their ‘go to’ expert on it.

Is this remotely interesting?You may even find you are asked to deliver training on aspects of Teams, by firms that don’t know how to get the most out of the application’s powerful array of features.

One of the reasons businesses are turning more to Teams is because it is a communications hub and collaborative tool. You don’t have to have an app for this and an app for that – it’s all available in one place.

Also, Teams allows you to make online calls and hold virtual meetings. This means there is no need to pay extra for a service like Zoom (or you can choose to integrate Zoom with Teams).

If you’re new to Teams or feel a little bit overwhelmed by it, you may want to take a look at my online course on How to Use Microsoft Teams.

It covers all the essentials you need to know as a VA.

How to create teams and channels, add guest users, arrange meetings, make calls, work with files, add apps to Teams and customise your settings.

You can use Teams for your own business and add credibility when talking to prospects and clients.

Set up ‘channels’ for projects and tasks so everything goes in the right place first time, every time.

Keep your posts, messages, images and files in one place so you never lose the thread – or your patience.

Access a complete audit trail of your conversations. So much easier than searching for ages through your inbox to find out who said what, when. Work collaboratively on documents for smoother editing, instant feedback and fast changes.

Schedule online meetings with clients without having to use Skype or Zoom (or integrate with Zoom if you prefer).

You can also add Microsoft applications, like Planner, or external apps to Teams. These include MindMeister for mind mapping your ideas and Hive for improved workflow. Work with these apps without ever having to come out of Teams – it all works inside the app.

You can see the whole content plus view a lovely video testimonial for my How to Use Microsoft Teams online course here.

Teams is the new norm. Are you ready for it?

Shelley Fishel

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