Hybrid working is a work model whereby employees divide their time between home and the workplace. Many businesses simply used it due to the pandemic, however, it is now booming in popularity and considered the ‘future’ by many. Embracing this major change may involve challenges, fortunately Microsoft 365 and Teams offer invaluable solutions.

What are the major challenges of Hybrid Working?

The last 19 months’ global work culture shift to hybrid working is one of the most impactful modern history has seen since the Industrial Revolution, and were businesses prepared for it? Largely, no. An inclusive environment where workers feel seen and heard while remote is tricky, especially without the resources to simulate conference rooms.

Office teamwork can be hard, but consider it now with various time zones, weak Wifi and poor audio. For seamless collaboration businesses must adapt to a hybrid workspace’s unique dynamics. However, research found that of 90 million meeting rooms, a mere 7.8% used video conferencing. This lack of face-to-face deprives a team of the cathartic ‘water cooler’ talk and more; causing excluded feelings that harm a company’s morale. Other issues like inefficient tools for communication and planning also worsen this setup.

Overview: How Microsoft 365 and Teams can help

Microsoft 365 features like SharePoint, Planner, and Whiteboard, resolve common issues of hybrid working:

  1. SharePoint allows employees file access to edit documents regardless of their location or device. Therefore, whether at home, the office, or a train, this repository of organisation-wide data allows colleagues to work together on shared documents effortlessly.
  2. Planner enables you to create plans, add relevant personnel and assign tasks to them. This removes email as the primary planning tool meaning requests aren’t lost in a sea of emails. It is also fully integratable with all Microsoft 365, meaning you can keep communication and productivity centralised.
  3. Whiteboard allows multiple users to collaborate remotely on a virtual whiteboard via several devices. This real-time feature means colleagues can visually conceptualise and brainstorm with their teammates, effectively simulating the workplace.
  4. Microsoft Teams, the chat-based workspace with full communication and file-sharing features, centralises a team’s virtual space to one where Office apps and colleagues are always on hand. It streamlines the hybrid working model, guaranteeing users any desired resource just a click away.

Office spaces favour all, not only those in-person

Teams simulates the workspace effectively making for inclusive hybrid meetings! New features like ‘front row’ increase remote attendees’ prominence on-screen. This enhanced immersion means that the interaction feels more natural. Other features like Whiteboard also erode the virtual barrier further, by allowing all users to observe and add to the visual collaboration on-screen even remotely.

Teams Rooms is also expanding its innovation via intelligent camera technology. AI-powered facial recognition and active speaker tracking allow the software to zoom in on active speakers while displaying profile names within their video pane. This feature means all members are seen and represented, and remote participants may view the board and content easily. A true must-have for a powerful hybrid working strategy!

Remote meetings simulate workplaces’ effectively

Presentations once delivered in the office can now be just as immersive and effective remotely. Information is best conveyed with social cues like facial gestures etc. Teams’ automatic lighting corrections will enhance your appearance on-screen (even in low-light) allowing others to absorb your presentation much more clearly. New features like Cameo also allow you to integrate your camera feed into a slideshow, customising where and how you appear within slides – this simulates movement within a room like in an office. This feature will be available early 2022.

Sound quality for meetings can also be improved to match the in-person experience; the Logi Dock station has a built-in speakerphone which is designed to work with Teams effortlessly. A simple button press allows you to adjust your audio.

Microsoft Teams keeps you in the flow of work

To remain connected to hybrid work, new Teams innovations bring necessary applications and experiences together, keeping you connected to work and colleagues. Even from your car you will be able to make hands-free calls on the road via Apple Car Play which Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Viva also brings knowledge and insights into your workflow. The Connections feature links you to company news and resources directly from Teams; allowing you to find announcements, important conversations, and resources like expense reports etc.

Using Apps in Teams meetings empowers real-time interaction and makes collaboration more engaging and fruitful. Now you can interact with shared app content in meetings, allowing for office work like real-time visual problem-solving.

Discover more about Microsoft 365 and Teams here or book a call with one of our consultants for support in transforming your business into a leading hybrid working culture.