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 person sitting at a table using a laptop

    How to enhance traditional teaching methods with Microsoft Teams

    COVID-19 has had a huge effect on the daily routines of millions of educators and students across the world. The Microsoft Education team has remained committed to helping everyone stay connected and engaged through remote learning. And now, as countries begin to emerge from the crisis, Microsoft is helping schools shift to ‘blended learning’ – […]

  • 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. “Microsoft Teams is now established as our institution’s trusted tool for live virtual teaching. It’s also used for tutoring, conferences, etc. and complements Moodle, our LMS, […]

Government

  • Ineco

    Ineco improves employee productivity with modern tools and AI

    Struggling with software doesn’t help people get more done. Likewise, if sharing files and collaborating on documents is difficult, productivity takes a hit. Ineco, a Spanish public sector company, understands this, which is why it set out to change the way employees interact with technology and one another. By deploying Microsoft 365 to its over […]

  • a group of people performing on stage in front of a crowd

    City of Liège: Facilitating decision making in difficult times

    For many organizations, social-distancing measures brought about by COVID-19 have drastically slowed day-to-day operations – and for some, even stopped them altogether. But for local governments across Europe, like the Belgian city of Liège, slowing down hasn’t been an option.  From supporting citizens and businesses to protecting frontline workers, Liège city had to quickly provide stability during this crisis and ensure important decisions could still be made in a democratic […]

Healthcare

  • NorthWest Clinics building

    Northwest Clinics: A new era in virtual healthcare

    “I am generally quite modest – I don’t like to brag about my achievements too much. But in this case, I want to make an exception. I want to tell the world what we have done.” For Ed de Myttenaere, CIO at Northwest Clinics hospital (Noordwest Ziekenhuisgroep) in the Netherlands, breaking with tradition is becoming increasingly normal. In responding to the COVID-19 outbreak, his team have implemented a virtual consultation solution that has the potential to redefine […]

  • A smiling man wearing glasses looking at the camera

    HUS: sharing data securely to make life-saving decisions

    Illnesses and diseases don’t often play fair – an unfortunate truth that was proved by the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, heavily hitting healthcare organizations with challenges the world hadn’t seen in a century. Hospitals needed a rapid response to reduce spreading the virus without affecting patient care. A high-pressure situation for any institution, but […]

Manufacturing

  • 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 […]

  • Etex

    Etex uses modern tools to unite its business and better focus on customers

    When it comes to construction, all components must come together in a timely manner in order to produce the optimum product. While Etex, a Belgian building solution manufacturing company, helps make this a reality on a day-to-day basis, it wanted to find a way to enhance productivity and collaboration internally. With locations across more than […]

Retail