a man standing in front of a television
Read Time, 4 min.

“The ongoing health emergency has led to new ways of working for organisations all over the world,” says Frank O’Donnell, Public Sector Lead at Microsoft Ireland. In responding to COVID-19, workers across all industries have been forced to adapt their daily routines.

But when the services your organisation offers are vital to people’s health and well-being, the need to adapt becomes even more imperative. This is the scenario that public service organisations the world over find themselves in.

Mayo County Council in Ireland has been using technology to continue to keep its 1300 staff able to deliver key services to its constituents, despite having closed the doors to its office in the small town of Castlebar, County Mayo.

It is in keeping with the organisation’s growing reputation as a model of how technology can be used to innovate.

“Mayo County Council is one of the most innovative organisations we work with,” says O’Donnell. “And to be one of the first organisations worldwide to integrate Microsoft Teams into their call centre is no small feat.”

Staying connected with Microsoft Teams

When the Irish government imposed restrictions on businesses and the movement of people to protect its citizens from COVID-19, Mayo County Council faced a tough challenge to continue to reach each of its approximately 130,000 inhabitants.

The organisation had to find a way to remain connected to the community and ensure the wellbeing of its residents, even while its staff were working remotely – something that seemed unthinkable even 3 months ago.

“Remote working wouldn’t have been something we would have previously considered for a local authority in County Mayo,” says Danny O’Toole, Head of Digital Transformation at Mayo County Council.

“But using Microsoft Teams we have proved that we can do it, and do it securely, resulting in a better-connected Mayo.”

A helpline for the most vulnerable

In a time when people are being asked to physically distance from one another, communication becomes even more important. For Mayo County Council, as with so many public service organisations, maintaining an open and secure line of communication with residents was a vital aspect of their adaptation.

To do this, Danny and his team used Microsoft Teams to set up a helpline that enables staff at Mayo County Council to connect with residents and communities across the county. Constituents are now able to call the helpline and connect directly with council staff on Microsoft Teams.

It has been crucial for those most at risk, such as the elderly and other vulnerable people who find themselves isolated. By linking them with essential services made available by voluntary community organisations, as well as the many individuals in the county that are lending a helping hand to ensure people have everything they need when self-isolating, the helpline allows access to crucial amenities like medical prescriptions, hot meals and groceries.

Run seven days a week, the helpline is available for everybody, although Mayo County Council have found that older citizens use the service frequently.

“The helpline has proved invaluable to the most vulnerable and isolated,” says O’Donnell.

Quickly adapting to new technology

While everyone working at Mayo County Council could immediately see the need to adapt to stay in contact with both each other and their community, adopting new technologies had proved to be a cultural challenge for the organisation in the past.

But with the local authority having to ensure that its core services such as Housing, Planning, Water, Environment and emergency call outs still remained available, as well as dealing with the impact of COVID-19 in their area, there was no room for an adaptation period when Microsoft Teams was implemented across the organisation.

To overcome this challenge, O’Toole and his team worked with other leaders in the organisation to establish policies to support the roll out of the new technology and ensure staff could work securely from home. And because the council already used Microsoft 365’s cloud-based platform and security systems, they were able to introduce the solution in a matter of weeks – compared to the many months they predict it would have taken otherwise.

With more than 400 people now working remotely, and the council still providing its vital services to its residents, as well as additional support during the current health crisis, the solution has proved to be a resounding success.

“We look forward to continuing to support local authorities such as Mayo County Council, who are working around the clock to help people through this crisis and beyond,” says O’Donnell.

Stay productive with these remote working solutions

Find out how to keep your teams connected, productive and secure

Education

  • a woman sitting at a table in front of a laptop

    3 key ways Microsoft Teams enriches higher education teaching and learning

    Whether remotely, in class or hybrid , Microsoft Teams helps to simplify and structure higher education’s day-to-day digital environment – integrating seamlessly with all the solutions you’re already using. “My teaching is now entirely based on Teams. The interaction with students and the teacher is a better level than traditional teaching” – Pasi Vahimaa, Professor, […]

  • a person sitting on a chair in a room

    Bridging the education gap in challenging times

    Across the globe, teachers, students and parents are dealing with a new reality: how to adapt to an educational environment that has moved from the classroom to the internet. As in many countries, the remote Faroe Islands, more than 300 kilometres off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea, has found the lives of […]

Government

  • a large old building with many windows

    Raad van State: Creating a virtual courtroom through a remote-working solution

    “This situation has proven that with the right means, support and trust, you can remove half of the desks in your building – and in that sense, I don’t think we’ll ever see 700 people at the same time in the office again.” Ron Lamers, Project Manager at Raad van State, is talking about the […]

  • Iceland runs on Trust

    How the cloud helped a small nation realise big ambitions

    In December 2015, the Icelandic government kicked off a digital infrastructure review. With more than 100 different suppliers managed by over 100 IT managers in each public institution, the brief was clear; to simplify operations and streamline IT for over 20,000 users. The solution: Fast forward two and a half years, and a decision was […]

Healthcare

  • a woman standing in front of a screen

    Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta: providing essential patient care from a distance

    “Telehealth was a technology we’d been planning to implement for a couple of years. But then almost overnight everything changed – it became a must-have platform the hospital needed today.” Francesca De Giorgi, CIO of Italian research hospital IRCCS Carlo Besta, reflects on the recent challenges her team faced when social distancing measures imposed by […]

  • a person sitting in front of a laptop computer

    The ‘Big Bang’ approach to digital transformation – and how to make it work

    These days there’s no such thing as ‘business as usual’. Change and disruption are the new normal. Just think of the changes affecting your organization right now, with new technology and techniques driving new attitudes and expectations from employees and customers alike. Everything is changing. And the one thing all those changes have in common […]

Manufacturing

  • a woman smiling for the camera

    Etex Group: Future-proofing employees to work anywhere across the world

    When COVID-19 spread across Europe in early 2020, businesses entered a new digitally-dependent age. Social distancing measures had asked offices of all shapes and sizes to close their doors, sparking organizations to quickly find other virtual ways for colleagues to meet and collaborate remotely. But for Belgium building material specialist Etex, this was a step they were ready for – having already implemented a cloud-based infrastructure and collaboration tools […]

  • Mais on a sunny day

    COFCO International: How cloud technologies ensured business continuity during challenging times

    “I have worked at COFCO for 12 years, always in an office. But I have spent the last 63 days working from home.” Marcus Seelbach, Chief HR Officer at global agribusiness COFCO International, is talking from his home via video call about the transition he and all his colleagues have undergone since COVID-19 led to the closure of the company’s offices worldwide. “But thanks to the preparation and […]

Retail