There has been a lot of talks lately about the hybrid workplace. What is it, and how does Microsoft Office 365 plan to make the workers’ mobile workforce life easier and more enjoyable? What is the latest Office 365 changes that will allow more flexible collaboration and asynchronous communication between teams?
What Is a Hybrid Workplace
As we peek into the future from Microsoft’s standpoint, the workforce will look very different from pre-COVID-19 days. Some workers will return to work at the office, while others will work from home, hence the hybrid workplace.
Almost every facet of working will look and feel different. According to Microsoft, “The shift to hybrid work is an opportunity to rethink everything from the employee experience and talent to digital sales and events. It starts with empowering employees for a more flexible work world.” Microsoft is a leader in being a benchmark for this new working culture by effectively using the components of people, places, and processes.
Let’s look at ten Microsoft Office 365 updates that will allow the Company to accomplish its goals for a hybrid workplace.
1. Microsoft Fluid
2. Outlook Calendar Boards
Your day will seem organized with Outlook calendar boards in Microsoft 365. Boards are not a new concept. Trello has made this feature very popular for use with project management.
3. Microsoft Teams
Microsoft has raised the bar for providing collaboration tools with Microsoft Teams. Just take a look at the list below for the recent updates.
* Chat & Collaboration
* Frontline Workers, and
An honorable mention is needed here for the addition to Apple CarPlay. “You can find a Teams icon on your Apple CarPlay screen. Use voice commands through Siri to join your next meeting hands-free. You can also lookup call history, make a call or send messages to one or more Teams contacts. Please note that this feature only supports audio mode to avoid distractions while driving.”
I get so excited seeing the many improvements updated by Microsoft Teams and Office 365. I recommend you explore its full capabilities.
4. Meeting Layouts
Remember back when video meetings featured the participants? Now, due to the latest update, the attendees look, well, human-like. If you are attending a hybrid meeting, you will appear much better in frames. In addition, you have the additional components of chat, real time, and fluid elements.
5. Video Displays
Microsoft has worked hard to make the mobile workplace workers feel like they belong to remote meetings by implementing features designed for all workers – not just those in the office. How? Office 365 has developed intelligent cameras that bring all people in a Teams room together with the advancements of Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered active speakers tracking that tracks other cameras in the room.
You can now view multiple people on more than one screen display. Instead of having two (or more) people seen as a group on one screen, you can spread the displays across multiple screens.
This advancement is in large part due to Microsoft’s introduction to their content layout called front row. This introduction gives “people in the room a greater sense of connection to remote participants and supports collaboration before, during, and after meetings.” This places the video gallery in Teams at the bottom of the screen. Room participants can view their remote counterparts face to face across a horizontal plane as if the mobile workforce were right in the same room.
The latest Office 365 changes for the mobile workplace have advanced in hardware improvements, camera modifications, and audio enhancements. One improvement is the ability of all meeting participants – the physical location, mobile, and remote locations – to see who is speaking and understand what they are saying. If someone in the physical area gets up to go across the room, outside participants can see this tracked in real-time and feel like they are a part of the meeting.
The hardware technological advances have all been made possible through the partnership of Microsoft and Neat, in particular Neat Symmetry.
7. Together Mode
According to Quest Software, Microsoft’s Together Mode is not new. What is Together mode’s purpose? Well, of course, it’s to make workers feel closer by giving them the experience of a gallery view. Teams allows any meeting attendee to switch the meeting participant gallery view from the standard per-square participant grid view to a new look. Remote workers and in-house workers can see a virtual scene view with a virtual background showing all participants in a virtual location such as an auditorium or movie theater.
To continue with our ten Office 365 changes for the mobile workplace, we have three more items on the list. The next feature update is all about whiteboards.
8. Microsoft Whiteboard
For those of you working remotely, do you remember the days of watching someone write on a physical whiteboard at a conference? Conversely, picture a whiteboard on your computer with multiple upgrades. The possibilities are endless. A toolbar is at the top of your window with all your collaboration and board-specific properties.
Colors galore, plentiful icons, and fonts to meet your fancy. Do you need help with your whiteboard experience? I’m sure that the 40+ templates that Office 365 has incorporated for the mobile workforce will significantly enhance your collaboration and communication among your teammates. You won’t be disappointed with the various other features that are available to you.
9. Microsoft Teams Recap
I looked at how Microsoft Teams is handling the all too common problem of workplace fatigue. Here is a solution that Microsoft has added to Teams. So, let’s recap (Did you catch it?). If you have to leave a hybrid meeting early or can’t attend, Teams now provides a summary of Teams meetings so the hybrid workplace can review a completed meeting. No more is there a need to ask your co-worker if they have the notes from a specific session. A recap includes the meeting recording, transcript, chat, shared files, and more.
10. Viva Insights
To summarize our review of the ten Microsoft Office 365 updates that make the hybrid workplace a winning culture, you might ask what Microsoft is doing for personal life. Does the Company plan to make the hybrid workplace less stressful?
Well, yes, Microsoft Teams has Viva Insights to help. Let’s wind up this blog post with a video to relax and enjoy the features offered by Microsoft Viva Insights. Stress can sometimes be overwhelming. Now is your opportunity to take control of your wellbeing with recommendations you can gain like focused work, taking breaks, and practicing mindfulness.Tags: hybrid workplace, mobile workforce, office 365 changes
Categorised in: Technology Information
This post was written by Pam Lokker