Are you moving with the times?

Recent events have shown us how quickly things can accelerate.

You only have to watch, read or listen to the news to understand that.

And one area where you are always going to see rapid change is in technology.Moving with The Times

For the forward-thinking VA, ready to absorb it and adapt, this is always good news. Knowing that bright minds are constantly exploring and developing ways to make your life easier, more productive, more collaborative and also fun.

Take Microsoft Teams, for example.

Corporates have had this communications and collaboration tool in their systems ever since it was introduced in 2017.

But it’s only now, three years’ later, that the rest of us are hearing so much about it.

Because more people have been working remotely from home, they have been looking for solutions for video calling, conference calling, and delivering training sessions, courses and programmes online.

That’s why Teams – like Zoom – has experienced an explosive increase in users.

But very quickly, many people on 1-2-1 and group video calls realised something they did not feel comfortable with. Their bedroom, kitchen, dining room, conservatory or even study does not resemble an office.

Suddenly, the whole world could see them – and what was behind them – on camera. And this made some feel awkward, a little embarrassed or perhaps ‘unprofessional’.

People would see their disorganised shelves, the colour and state of their walls and curtains, or maybe a bit of clutter in the background. They would hear people comment on their own background – or get so distracted by other people’s backgrounds that they were unable to tune in 100 per cent to the business conversation at hand.

This prompted many to look for a solution. Some even went to the expense of investing in green screens (like the ones I use for my training and podcasts).

Noticing this trend, Microsoft recently began rolling out a new feature to Teams: customised background effects.

Users can now create more than a ‘background blur’ to make things behind them less distracting. People can choose a more ‘professional’ office look or go for something a bit more silly and fun (such as a cartoon beach scene).

Have you seen that in your Teams?

Have you tried it out yet? What background is your favourite?

The aim is to make video meetings more productive and a bit more fun. And the developments are not just on the visual side.

If you are in the USA, you may have noticed what’s happened to Cortana, the ‘personal assistant’ for Windows 10.

Moving with The TimesMicrosoft is moving with the times. It is also shifting direction in some respects. For example, it has moved away from offering Cortana to consumers (and operating like Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant). The company is repositioning Cortana as a more business-oriented tool.

For those who prefer to speak instructions rather than tap some keys and buttons, the future just got brighter for you.

In the States, Cortana now offers a chat-based way to find information, check your calendar, connect with people, set reminders or add tasks to To Do.

Microsoft has also updated the Play My Emails experience in Outlook (features will appear first for iOS and then Android devices). It allows people on the go to schedule a meeting in response to a mail, add an email to their list of tasks or send a “running late” message to all participants in an online meeting.

This is only happening in the States for now, but you can expect a wider international rollout in due course.

The main point is this.

The world is changing. It’s changing fast. We have to be ready. We need to be prepared. We need to adapt. It’s important to keep moving with the times.

If others embrace the technology and we do not, we may get left behind.

The same goes if clients and companies start asking you to carry out tasks and projects for them – and you’re not up to speed with the most efficient way to do that in Microsoft 365.

There’s no need to panic if you know what you’re doing. It’s why I encourage VA’s to think smart and get to know the essentials of each application they use or may want to use in the future.

That way you’ve covered whatever clients throw at you – and they’ll be impressed with the calm, confident way you say “No problem”.

I am on a mission to help VA’s, Executive Assistants and PA’s to do more in less time – and make more money. It’s why I offer training in Microsoft 365, whether you’re on Windows or Mac.

Take your choice. Search the complete range of my online courses for a specific topic or go ‘The Full Monty’ and get access to everything.

Can’t find what you are looking for or have any questions? Simply get in touch.

You’ve got this.

Shelley Fishel



P.S. In case you were wondering… Yes, I do have a course to show you How to Use Microsoft Teams.

I’ve also created a version dedicated for trainers, speakers and coaches.

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