Enabling Remote Work with Office 365
Published Mar 19 2020 09:10 AM 10.7K Views

During this difficult time, Microsoft has asked thousands of its employees to work from home. If you‘re facing a similar situation and have an Office 365 subscription, you already have access to a number of tools and resources that you can use to help people across your organization as they shift to remote work. The attached technical guidance will help you assess where you are today to make quick improvements, while you evaluate larger infrastructure moves.


Start by enabling access to email and documents on the phone

The first challenge of shifting to working remote – especially on short notice – is being disconnected. You already have access to a few mobile solutions that can help:


  • Start by helping users to set up the Outlook Mobile app to give them access to their emails, calendar appointments, contacts, and more from wherever they are. Users can download Outlook for Android or iPhone and then sign-in with their Office 365 account to connect with colleagues. Check this Outlook mobile Customer Adoption Pack to help users set up quickly. Videos, frequent questions, and tips on how to use Outlook on a mobile device are also available.

  • Once users are set up to use Outlook mobile, single sign-on makes it easy to use the new Office app. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are combined into a single app with new mobile-first features.

  • Continue to stay in control and protect your organization’s data, using the Office cloud policy service to quickly and easily enforce policy settings even on unmanaged devices. If you already have access to Microsoft Endpoint Manager (including Intune) there are additional steps you can take to manage and protect mobile devices. If you are already using Intune App Protection Policies, see our support article on targeting apps.


Continue encouraging collaboration and meetings from wherever your users are

There is no replacement for speaking with someone face to face or solving a problem together in real-time. By this point, you already know that Microsoft Teams keeps people connected and productive from anywhere. Teams is how those of us at Microsoft have continued to collaborate as we work remotely.



Recommend the browser access to get Office on unmanaged devices

You are already licensed for the full complement of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other Office apps on the web. If users are on personal or public devices, this can be the fastest way to get them productive without compromising security and control.


  • Tell your users to start with office.com and sign-in with their Office 365 account. Users will have access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Outlook and other apps as well as any cloud-based documents. Users can learn more about staying productive on the web in this article.

  • As long as users sign in with their Office 365 account, business information is already highly protected and secure. Office 365 is a user-based license, and the policies you have applied are already pulled through to wherever users access their files. You can refine and manage these policies through the Office cloud policy service (you already have access) or Microsoft Endpoint Manager.


Bring home Office productivity apps without compromising IT control

Finally, there are two options for deploying access to the full-powered desktop Office 365 apps at home. 



  • Existing Citrix, VMWare, and other solutions on-premises can burst or extend to Azure to help scale up deployments very quickly to support employees. For cloud-native solutions, you can leverage Windows Virtual Desktop as well as Citrix Cloud and VMware Horizon Cloud on Azure solutions that extend the service. Windows Virtual Desktop, including our partner solutions built on top of the service, enables Office 365 ProPlus with the new Windows 10 multi-session capability that provides a full fidelity experience to remote employees.


You can follow the technical guide (attached in this blog) to determine your starting point to enable the above scenarios.


If you need help, Microsoft FastTrack and Microsoft partners are always available to help you establish a productive remote-work environment, especially now in response to COVID-19. You can also join Microsoft 365 Remote Work community to get answers to your questions about setting up your organization successfully to work remotely.



Additional resources

Microsoft IT is enabling remote work for its employees  with the help of various technologies, inclu...

How to quickly optimize Office 365 traffic for remote staff

Lily Zheng’s “open letter to customers”

Our Commitment to Customers During COVID-19, introducing free, six-month E1 offer
Offers for helping small and medium-sized businesses work remotely with Teams

Office apps help and training for end-users

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