Being Creative with Technology Remote Working Tools during COVID-19

COVID-19 has impacted the lives of people around the world. Travel restrictions and new rules on large public gatherings have changed the daily routines of millions around the world.

What was clear at WPP AUNZ this week was the first priority of our staff and their wellbeing, and doing what we can to mitigate the impact of the virus on our communities. The second was meeting our responsibilities to our clients and our colleagues by continuing to do great work.

WPP AUNZ is open for business. Subject to government policies, our offices will remain open for some employees. However, the majority of us will be working remotely in some shape or form.

In these circumstances, the term remote working means doing your job in your usual working hours from a location other than the office, producing the same high-quality work as you would typically, collaborating with your colleagues using technology, and being responsive to requests from clients, your manager, and your team. But doing this with a healthy body and mind.

Our clients need our creativity, skills, and resources more than ever right now. We are focused on continuing to focus on outstanding client service.

In my role as WPP AUNZ Executive Director Marketing Technology I am working with our agencies and Technology partners to provide support to our clients in keeping the business community going through our Martech Centre of Excellence.

Technology can and is playing a vital role in reducing the impact of COVID-19 on our people and our client organizations.

The WPP people work with a myriad of cloud technology tools that drive media, strategy, creativity, production and marketing technology solutions.

We use Microsoft Teams, as our company’s preferred collaboration software to stay connected. We use Microsoft Teams calls, video and webchats, as well as phone calls and video conferencing all powered alongside the Office 365 applications and services that the majority of our people and clients use every day.

Teams pull together in the cloud Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, and Power BI, Adobe, Salesforce, Sitecore and Google applications, and it an excellent enabler to help remove repetitive tasks to focus our time on more creative ideation to help our clients through what is a tough time for business.

Microsoft Teams, which launched worldwide in March 2017, passed 32 million daily active users (DAUs) earlier this month. This week it has in part to COVID-19, usage spiked to 44 million DAUs. That’s up from 20 million daily active users in November, a 60-110% jump in just four months.

Microsoft Teams is the WPP company’s Office 365 chat-based collaboration tool that sits on the Azure cloud platform.

We do use Slack (12 million DAUs as of October 2019), Facebook’s Workplace (3 million paid users as of October 2019), and Google’s Hangouts Chat (no user number able to be found) which we have create practitioners in these application across our WPP offices and into our clients. We don’t mind what your tech flavour is we just want to be creative with it.

If you also use Microsoft applications so and check out the top 9 ways Microsoft IT is enabling remote work for its employees on the Microsoft 365 blog. Other useful resources are the  Microsoft Teams Adoption Toolkit as well as the Enable end-user training with Microsoft 365 Learning Pathways and the Microsoft Teams Customer Success Kit

To another technology partner, Google this week announced it will allow free access to the enterprise version of Hangouts Meet to all G Suite and G Suite for Education users. That plan includes up to 250 users per call, the ability to record meetings, and livestream capabilities for up to 100,000 viewers until July 1, 2020.

If you prefer Google Cloud to enable your business, that is fine with us. Wherever your files are stored in one secure and centralized location such as share documents, spreadsheets, and slide presentations we want to help you be creative and make them actionable for what is a new way of working. What we like about Google Cloud is it can be used for reporting on weekly metrics which is a key area of our media business.

Google has also stated that it has now made its video conferencing app, ‘Meet’ free for all G Suite users until at least July 1, 2020. Other platforms such as YouTube have put together a YouTube Learning Hub and webinars in a bid to continue distance education, as social distancing steps are adopted globally to break the viral spread.

In response to the COVID-19 changes to working conditions, another partner Salesforce has offered free access to their base level of Quip for six months to help businesses to continue collaborating in the new fully-remote environment.

Quip is the Salesforce selected productivity platform that combines into one place document, spreadsheet, checklist, live salesforce data, and chat.

The Quip Document Lightning component lets you work with fully functional Quip documents, spreadsheets, slides, and chat rooms directly within Salesforce records. All of your favourite Quip features are there—comments, @mentions, Live Apps, and more.

Here is the quick 1.22 min video overview.


Make no mistake, these are stressful times. Negative headlines, worrying about sick or elderly loved ones, and fighting the urge to go panic buying for toilet paper can all put remote work and emails on the back burner.

But the more effort you put into communicating with colleagues using technology, the better chance you have of avoiding feelings of isolation and better chance of being active and productive.

Build wellbeing into your remote working space and schedule and make sure you take regular breaks. If possible, separate your working space from where you relax within your home – even if that’s just using a different chair or table.

Stay safe while in isolation, so reach out for marketing technology advice, invite me to a House Party for a social video chat and meditate often.

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