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Teams give Friluftsfrämjandet more time in the forest

Friluftsfrämjandet is much more than just Skogsmulle and the preschool I Ur och Skur. With the aim of improving public health through skiing, as a counterbalance to long working days and monotonous tasks, Friluftsfrämjandet was founded in 1892 under the name Föreningen för skidlöpningens främjande i Sverige (Association for the Promotion of Skiing in Sweden).

A lot has happened since the first ski trips. Friluftsfrämjandet has expanded its range and now offers a wide variety of outdoor activities such as skiing, kayaking and nature parkour. Membership has grown to over 100,000 members, led and inspired by 7,000 leaders, a large organisation that demands communication and cooperation.

Friluftsfrämjand's members and officials are spread over 316 local branches throughout Sweden, with a national office in Stockholm. Erik Ehrner works there as CTO, and he knows that effective cooperation in the office means more time for value-creating work and space for more time in the forest.

A new way of working

The IT department is working to digitise as much as possible of Friluftsfrämjandet's activities in order to, as Erik says: "Give more time in the forest and less time in front of the screen". With such a geographically dispersed organisation, all types of collaborations and meetings have their challenges. Who does what? Status of projects? It's not just peeking over the screen wall and asking.

- Every year we make a business plan of what to do in the coming year. It can be about 30-40 people working together. In our old environment, they stood on a digital line and waited their turn to get the document, but this resulted in many people working in parallel. It all ended up in a flurry of versions and corrections that had to be compiled, which took an incredible amount of time and effort. Now everyone is in the Teams in the same document and working at the same time, which saves an incredible amount of time and headache," says Erik.

Savings that add value

The fact that physical meetings take time, cost money in travel and impact the environment is nothing new. Moving meetings to Teams saves time, money and the environment, but also frustration. The ease of connecting compared to many teleconferencing systems has opened up a new type of meeting. Teams has not only replaced many face-to-face meetings with digital ones, Erik has also seen an increase in short, more spontaneous, meetings.

- The digital workplace allows us to be more reactive in our meetings. Instead of planning weeks or months in advance, you can have a spontaneous meeting or book a meeting the next morning. It is now incredibly easy to share your screen with anyone.

The savings in pure money for the Outdoor Promotion has been great. Very big. The reduced costs for telephone calls and conference systems alone are around 100 000 SEK. On top of that, there are even bigger savings on travel and hotels.

- The benefit to members increases when we can spend money on ski schools, Skogsmulle and other fun things instead of administration," says Erik.

Teams is a platform that includes

With legacy IT, there is a high risk that employees are excluded, that an email address is not in the chain, that documents are stored in the wrong place or that conference equipment is missing in a small local department. With Teams, it's much easier to keep work and employees together, allowing collaboration and ideas to flourish.

- Now I can take a meeting from the shelter between Storulvån and Sylarna. As long as there's mobile coverage, I'm part of the digital community.

Partners in Microsoft and AddPro

Friluftsfrämjandet is looking for partnerships that can deliver more, preferably with someone who is as passionate as they are, which they found in Microsoft and AddPro. With Microsoft's Office 365, and Teams in particular, the Outdoor Federation has moved into the cloud and is taking full advantage of the flexibility it offers. AddPro helps with implementation and training while ensuring all systems are working as they should. Microsoft Dynamics has become an essential tool for understanding the organisation and its members, it has made it easier for officers to organise activities. The new tools have improved internal and external communication and membership numbers are increasing. With increasing membership comes the need for even more leaders. A growth that is largely driven by digitalisation.

Fruliftsfrämjandet works actively with employer branding

Erik explains that employer branding is important for an organisation that works so much with volunteers. Salary levels at advocacy organisations are not usually what attracts new employees. But by applying modern tools like Teams and flexible working, Friluftsfrämjandet is building its employer brand and has found it easier to attract talent.

- For the third year in a row, we are at the top of the Kantar Sifo Reputation Index*. We're not your typical eight-to-five office. Our business starts when most people go home from the office. Technology has to work when it's needed, where we are - out in the woods," concludes Erik.

You can either read more about the Outdoor Association's collaboration with Microsoft or book DiscoverIT workshops and see for yourself how you can improve collaboration and efficiency using Teams.

* Appearance index measures the public's trust or impression of an organisation, as well as the quality and success the public attributes to the organisation