Spain has been one of the countries hit hardest by COVID-19. Famous for their crowded cafés and lively streets, the social Spanish spent March and April under one of the strictest lockdown ordinances in the world. But it wasn’t enough to keep them apart. “Being in close connection with our families and our customers is part of our DNA,” says Miguel Ángel Cervera, who leads Microsoft’s team in Madrid. During the lockdown, Cervera’s team met each morning for virtual coffees, often reconvening in the evenings for online yoga, meditation, and even chess competitions.
The team also helped customers around the country move to remote work with Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams. Even the Royal Family of Spain has been using Teams to connect with leaders and experts during the crisis. This month, as the Spanish government has begun lifting restrictions across the country, our customers there reflect on what they have discovered while learning and working apart. Here are some of their stories.
Royal Family of Spain in a Teams conference with Juan Roig, CEO of Mercadona.
In and around Madrid, there are an incredible 35,000 teachers and 650,000 students using Teams every day. That’s about 92 percent of public schools. “Since day one, we’ve seen the Microsoft team committed to helping our community continue school,” says Enrique Ossorio, Education Counselor for Madrid. “Microsoft Teams helps our teachers and students to meet face-to-face virtually, meeting our privacy and security requirements and providing simple ways to follow up after class with tasks, easy-to-find files, and chat conversations all in one place.”
Damian Quiralte, Principal at another Madrid-based elementary institution, CEIP Claudio Moyano, says Teams has given the school the opportunity to embrace a digital model while helping teachers and students to continue classes. “They feel like part of something bigger,” he says. Quiralte creates daily conversations in Teams with the tasks of the day; each student uploads their assignment to the thread. Then they schedule a video meeting where students pitch their work to the class. “It’s really funny to see six-year-old students continue engaging with each other as if nothing changed,” says Quiralte.
In Spain, the public sector has been slow to make digital advancements, still conducting most business in person. But the Council of Lleida, a small town in the northeastern part of Spain, has led the pack. “We have been working on a contingency plan for years,” says Carles Giné, Computer and Information Systems Director for the Lleida City Council. Since the stay-at-home measures were announced, the council has shifted 1,600 employees to remote work with Windows Virtual Desktop. Each civil servant can now access all internal resources directly from a web browser window on their PC to provide public services to more than 130,000 citizens. And the town hall has used Live Events in Teams to hold important meetings and maintain city operations throughout the lockdown.
City of Lleida.
Cosentino, a global manufacturer of kitchen counters and flooring, has been operating for 80 years in Almería, in southern Spain. For a little over a year, they’ve been working with Microsoft and partner Encamina to adopt Microsoft 365 and Teams. This helped them quickly move 2,000 employees across 41 countries to Teams during the outbreak. Gemma Hernández, the company’s CIO, says the remote work experiment has proven that even traditional organizations and industries can run remotely. She says she’s also learned the power of video for remote teams. “People feel closer if they see each other. The use of Teams video calls is playing a key role in this long confinement to help us share and collaborate in a very effective way.”
Microsoft Day in Cosentino with Microsoft 365, Teams, and Cosentino Surfaces.
In just a few short weeks, across education, government, and commercial business, our customers in Spain have rapidly transformed themselves to keep business moving throughout COVID-19. And now, as the Spanish government begins lifting restrictions across the country, they will adjust to a new world of work and learning—one that combines remote work with in-person experiences. We are proud to work alongside these organizations and look forward to helping them find new ways to stay productive in the days to come.