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Microsofts physical stores are closed worldwide but nearly 2,000 retail employees have virtually trained 65,000 people in government, health care, education and finance on using remote meeting platform Microsoft Teams in the past month.
With many organizations forced to work remotely during the pandemic, the need for virtual training and support has been greater than ever.
Microsoft Store employees have transitioned to serving customers remotely as part of the company's Emergency Remote Operations plan.
"Nearly 80 per cent chose to work from home in a new Emergency Remote Operations model covering five areas: serving small and medium-sized businesses and education customers; training enterprise customers; selling Surface, Cloud and Microsoft 365; supporting customers of all types; and delivering virtual community workshops," Microsoft said in a blog post on Friday.
Demand for the programme, called ‘Customer Success Trainings', has surged among customers wanting to transform their remote work environments with the collaboration tool, including medical center Cleveland Clinic, accounting firm Ernst & Young and transportation and logistics company CN (Canadian National Railway).
"From training thousands of customers to work productively in a remote setting with Microsoft Teams, to helping school systems get up and running on Microsoft 365, to getting small businesses the devices they need to successfully operate remotely, our team is offering their expertise," said Microsoft corporate vice president of stores, David Porter, in a separate LinkedIn post.
Microsoft Teams platform has seen demand increase rapidly, from 32 million daily active users on March 11 to 44 million daily active users on March 18. On March 31, Teams set a new daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes.
Microsoft shut its physical stores on March 16.
The transition to work-from-home environments has been a logistical challenge for many businesses including Microsoft Store, which reaches more than 2 billion customers from 190 global locations via its physical locations and online stores.
"The global disruption has led to a broader platform to live out that mission in the face of a crisis. We've got energetic, excited folks with expertise helping businesses and organizations work remotely and transform quickly," said Scott Pearson, enterprise business development manager for Microsoft Store.
Store associates have also helped school districts teach remotely with Microsoft 365 and are rolling out virtual coding workshops for kids.