How Businesses in Rhode Island Can Leverage Microsoft Technologies in A Hybrid Work Setting
Indeed, hybrid work is the future. That suggests that reliance on eight-hour workdays will cease going forward even as companies adopt a new operating model for hybrid work. Additionally, the shift in employee expectations implies that most managers will probably expect more flexible work from home policies after the current health crisis. How can Microsoft technologies be used in a hybrid work setting?
There is a high possibility that more workers will be willing to leverage these policies. Therefore, embracing flexibility regarding how, when, and where people work in today’s world is paramount. The ability to handle tasks any time with solutions that allow room for synchronous and asynchronous collaboration is also becoming a necessity.
That requires leaders’ involvement across an entire company since the process entails a complete organizational shift in such functions like IT, HR, operations, marketing, and manufacturing. So, how can your firm in Rhode Island take advantage of Microsoft technologies in a hybrid work environment? Here are a few tips for achieving that.
Consider Acquiring Technology That Connects People
In addition to physical spaces, your flexible working approach should incorporate technology that facilitates teamwork. That, in turn, will create a new digital employee experience your workers can leverage despite their physical location.
As the pandemic pushes individuals globally to shift to remote work in the first quarter of the year 2020, video conferencing becomes the primary tool to connect and keep operations going. Although video conferencing is a necessity, using this tool alone means that you will have a resource that cannot power hybrid work communication and collaboration infrastructure.
The solution is opting for Microsoft Teams. It combines meet, chat, call, and collaborate on one platform and integrates all that with Office apps and business process automation tools. Microsoft Teams also fosters collaboration between knowledge workers and frontline employees while blending synchronous and asynchronous work naturally.
As such, Microsoft Teams provides an organizing layer that supports workflow across an enterprise. Teams has over 100 new features that focus on extreme flexibility, and you can expect more in the future. As much as that is the case, you need to support emerging patterns of distributed work as well. Microsoft Viva is designed for hybrid work and is the first integrated employee experience platform.
A combination of Teams and Viva delivers a technology platform that helps individuals navigate the new reality.
Empower Employees for Extreme Flexibility By Implementing The Right Policy
It is worth mentioning the choices you make today will affect the future of your organization. In that case, a clear vision is a necessity since the plan and policies you adopt should prioritize extreme flexibility. The reason is that such decisions will impact everything, including future innovations, how you shape culture, the way you respond to environmental changes, as well as how you attract and retain talent.
Some of the firms with solid stances on flexible work include Microsoft, which is now allowing workers to work from home up to 50% of the time. Twitter says its workers can work remotely “forever.” Additionally, Spotify is hoping to lure talent with San Francisco and New York-level salaries for remote workers anywhere in the world.
Additionally, Dropbox says it plans to eliminate office space for focused work by transforming physical locations to attend to collaboration and meeting requirements. Some of the questions you need to answer when empowering individuals for extreme flexibility are:
- How will employees collaborate?
- Who can work from a remote environment?
- Where will workers do focused work?
- Who should access the office and for what amount of time?
Preparing to address sudden changes is critical in today’s world, where health crises, natural disasters, and geopolitical events are part of the new normal. New flexible policies codify answers to the questions above and provide workers with clarity and guidance even as they experiment.
Re-imagine Physical Spaces
Your policies for extreme flexibility should inform your approach to physical space. In the future, physical spaces will not be the only option for connecting, building social capital, and collaboration, but they will still be valuable. Humans want to experience the energy of in-person events, get together, and bounce ideas off one another because they are social beings.
So, office space will need to balance between the physical and digital worlds to meet each team’s unique requirements. That is possible by adopting the following strategies.
a) Connecting The Physical to The Digital
Bridging the gap between remote and in-person experiences promotes extreme flexibility. Beyond the familiarity of working together in the office, employees now appreciate that they can still deliver even when working from home. The challenge here will be ensuring everyone’s involvement in situations where some are physically together while others join in via virtual platforms.
Microsoft Teams Rooms provide state-of-the-art technology, including video and high-quality audio, to ensure that everyone is visible and audible. Additionally, meeting room cameras deliver high-definition video streams and optimize the view by framing the individuals in the room or following the active speaker.
Intelligent speakers will identify the person speaking in the room, and the presentation of their names and profiles will be in meeting transcripts. Also, such features like chat, live captions, raise hand, and live transcription, allow participants to follow along and avail opportunities to chime in non-verbally to avoid interrupting the speaker.
Individuals can also access digital whiteboards at home and in the room, which fosters co-creation and collaboration. That implies that you can draw on the shared digital canvas from your laptop or phone as a remote participant, and those onsite can ink directly on the Surface Hub.
On the other hand, Intelligent Capture cameras can capture, focus, resize, and enhance analog whiteboard images and text for remote attendees to see brainstorming clearly and in real-time even when someone is in front of the whiteboard. You can access all that from Microsoft Teams Room.
b) Embracing Purposeful Design
Surveying employees and considering everything, including employee traffic patterns and social graphs, are part of Microsoft’s priorities. Consequently, that aids in understanding how to equip teams with necessary spaces while appreciating that these requirements will evolve with time. As such, sales teams can use a hoteling model to book workstations for the day or hour when they need to use the office.
That is not the case for engineering teams because they will probably need dedicated collaboration workstations and spaces. Microsoft is exploring hybrid work and offsite co-working hubs to accommodate remote workers drawing from the understanding that the evolution of how work will continue. For that reason, building flexibility in every space is paramount.
Extreme flexibility is the new operating model. As such, every enterprise will require technology that binds everything together, new policies, and a re-configuration of physical spaces. Technology Advisory Group (TAG) can ensure that your Rhode Island business has the right Microsoft technologies for working in a hybrid environment through:
- Cloud services
- Managed IT services
- Business continuity strategies
- IT consulting
- Co-managed IT
If you need more information on leveraging Microsoft technologies in a hybrid environment, contact us today!