Phoenix Volunteering Days – Emma Taylor

At Phoenix we have recently introduced the opportunity for all staff to take a day out of the business to volunteer for a charity or charitable cause of their choice. Here Emma Taylor the Training and Development Manager at Phoenix reports on how she spent her Volunteer day…

“I decided to use my volunteering day to help a local charity get the most out of their recent investment in Office 365.

Community Counselling is a local charity based in Malton, providing a number of different types of counselling and psychotherapy services to people living in Ryedale, Scarborough Borough Districts and North Yorkshire. They rely on grants, donations and various fund-raising activities to be able to deliver these much-needed services.

After hearing they had been recording training videos on an iPhone and distributing them to all the counsellors via WhatsApp, I felt the need to offer some help. They have the full Office 365 suite of applications, but only knew how to use Word, Outlook and Excel, a situation we come across far too often. They didn’t have any budget for training so the little icons they saw each time they logged into remained a mystery to them!

David Brown, our Modern Workplace Specialist, very kindly offered to spend a couple of hours showcasing the products to them to give them a high-level overview of the main applications. He covered a lot of ground and totally blew their minds! I could see their excitement and hear the cogs turning as they were thinking about the ways they could simplify and streamline so many of their processes.

After David left, we spent some time brainstorming as a group to work out which of their standard, often very manual procedures, could be replaced or improved by using any of the Microsoft Ofice 365 applications.

I showed them how to use Teams for collaborating, video calls and recordings and instant messaging. We even set it up on their phones and they had some fun with the available GIFs! I took them through how to use OneNote and ToDo, but the application that stood out most, where they could see instant time and costs savings from, was Forms.

Currently, they send an evaluation form to every client after their final counselling session in the post with a stamped addressed envelope for the client to send the completed form back in. They are going to replace this with an electronic form that they can email to the client just before their final counselling session and ask them to complete it. They will also include a link on the form for any clients who wish to donate to the charity. They are looking at other ways they can use Forms to speed up their internal administration.

They will also be using Microsoft Teams video calls and recordings to train the counsellors on how to use Dynamics 365, their new CRM system. They were particularly excited about being able to take control of each other’s desktops when demonstrating the product.

All the staff at Community Counselling were thoroughly grateful that we chose them to help by using our volunteering day and I certainly came away feeling like I’d given something back to my local community!”