Remote work became a new reality in the blink of an eye for the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium. “The pandemic expedited our adoption of technology usage as we sent everyone home on a Thursday in March and by Monday we were meeting on Microsoft Teams,” recalls Kim Rometo, Vice President, Chief Information Officer at the Miami Dolphins. Nine months later, this year has been full of key learnings, new realities and diverse methods of team collaboration for the sports organization.
From stadium events canceled to concerts postponed, due to the pandemic, Miami Dolphins – a team with more than 4 million Hispanic fans – has had to adapt and pivot to virtual alternatives to what once was always done in-person. This includes everything from meetings to planning flagship League events.
TEAMS ON TEAMS
Avid Microsoft users even prior to the pandemic, using Microsoft Surface, Microsoft 365, Azure, Power BI and DevOps, the Miami Dolphins organization has since adopted Microsoft Teams which has proven critical to inter-disciplinary communication. “We created Teams channels for specific cross-functional efforts,” expressed Rometo.
Finding new ways to replicate the office, in-person experience has been essential in maintaining productivity and operations. “The pandemic has made us much more reliant on collaboration tools. We meet, call and chat daily.” Currently, all senior leadership meetings are conducted over Microsoft Teams, while “we planned for our virtual draft and return to sports using Teams and specific channels,” Rometo asserted.
According to the Microsoft Work Trend Index Report from September 2020, there was a 48 percent increase in Microsoft Teams chats per person overall and 55 percent increase in number of meetings and calls per week. This data shows that even though people aren’t interacting in person, connections are still being made.
In addition to becoming resilient and creative in how employees communicate without missing a beat, Rometo shares that, “previously we never collaborated on files online, now it’s all we do.” Working from home, the office, the car or even the football field, Microsoft Teams as a platform has allowed for continuous and live collaboration and communication. “The Teams mobile app is also highly adopted and has become the go-to for collaborating on game days,” she expressed.
REMOTE, BUT CONNECTED
Interestingly, the July 2020 edition of the Microsoft Work Trend Index Report showed that the move to more remote work is also making work more inclusive. Over half of people surveyed feel more valued or included as a remote contributor because everyone is now in the same virtual room.
But virtual rooms are not only a place where employees have been able to connect and collaborate, but also a place that’s helped foster their wellbeing remotely. Rometo shares that, “human resources ran two official virtual wellness challenges to include more on-demand fitness classes with prizes.”
They also partnered with their healthcare provider to offer at-home biometric screenings that could be mailed to the lab. Ongoingly, individual departments also host book clubs, trivia, and coffee chats with leadership via Microsoft Teams to keep the morale up. And have adopted the use of Microsoft Forms to virtually record employee health screening responses in three languages. “Our staff is reflective of the South Florida community. In order to make sure we could make a new process as efficient as possible for all staffers, we utilized Microsoft Forms to deliver the health questionnaire in English, Spanish, and Creole. The staffer could then select to receive a confirmation via email or text using a Forms plug-in,” shared Rometo.
The Miami Dolphins’ digital transformation and continuous investment in technology have equipped the organization to be more resilient during times where the lifeline of sports was put on hold. Technology empowered them to increase their collaboration, drive productivity and help employees to be more effective at omnichannel communications. As a leader, Rometo advises sports organizations to leverage technology as a platform in order to thrive, “the best piece of advice I can offer is to get the Microsoft stack into your organization sooner rather than later.” As such, the Miami Dolphins are using technology to navigate this new reality, keep their eyes on the ball, and ensure no play is missed.