How we work is changing, and Microsoft Teams can help you cope with the new environment.


It shouldn’t come as a surprise to any business that the way they operate will have to change in the coming months and years to accommodate the shifting attitudes and desires of their workforce.


In the wake of the enforced home working many of us have experienced throughout 2020 and 2021, there’s a growing recognition that the days of the nine-to-five office have passed.


Plus, with the government said to be planning to make it a right for employees to request flexible working from day one – as opposed to the current rules, which require them to have been in their position for at least six months – many firms may have no choice but to make provisions for a less traditional way of working.


This means you’ll need an effective communications platform to keep employees connected both at home and in the office. This should incorporate voice, video and instant messaging chats within the same system so people can get in touch in whichever way is most appropriate.


But a good solution, such as Microsoft Teams, can do so much more than this, by providing a complete platform that delivers a unified collaboration and productivity environment that can be the basis for almost all of a firm’s day-to-day activities.

A new mindset for employees


Recent research has highlighted that for many people, flexibility is their top priority, and they don’t expect to go back to the way things used to be. One study by BBC News, for example, found seven out of ten people do not believe workers will ever return to the office at the same rate as in pre-Covid times, while only 38 per cent think staying at home will have a negative impact on their creativity or collaboration.


Most people, however, don’t want a purely remote position. Instead, they’re still keen to take advantage of the benefits of the office environment – such as the social interactions, face-to-face conversations and opportunities for networking. However, they want the freedom to come and go day-to-day.


What’s more, given the record number of vacancies in the UK at the moment, employees have a lot of power when it comes to choosing how they work. Indeed, figures from McKinsey suggest that globally, up to 40 percent of workers are considering leaving their current employers by the end of the year.


This means businesses that are still stuck in an old-fashioned, office-based mindset will lose out on the best talent and struggle to keep up with more productive competitors.


Meeting the challenges of hybrid working


For many firms, however, moving to a hybrid working strategy is likely to raise a lot of challenges – more so than if they were switching to a fully-remote workplace. There are a wide range of issues to consider, from meeting the technical requirements to ensuring that everyone has the same opportunities available to them.


Getting communication right is a key challenge. Workers in conference rooms, home offices and more informal settings need to be able to collaborate together on the same level, with equal access to resources. They also need to be heard clearly and be able to present without difficulty, no matter what device they’re using.


As well as better communications tools, the right hardware tech at all levels is also vital. Recent research by Barco, for example, found more than a third of British office workers (34 per cent) said their company does not currently prioritise the investments they need for better hybrid working. This includes 76 per cent who stated all meeting rooms need to be equipped with video conferencing technology, while 47 per cent want their employers to invest in equipment such as cameras and speakers.


Clearly, there’s a lot to think about to make this a success. However, by basing your collaboration strategies around a single, comprehensive platform, you can take much of the effort out of these activities – and this is where Microsoft Teams comes in.

A complete productivity tool


Teams provides a comprehensive solution for your firm’s collaboration needs, enabling you to easily participate in text, voice and video calls. But it also serves as a platform for your entire business. Indeed, as Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella puts it, Teams can be viewed as an “organising layer” that’s as important to the functioning of a business as a web browser is to a PC.


But what does this look like in practice? It means, for instance, being able to manage all of your communications through a single solution, whether this is connecting with colleagues, speaking with suppliers or taking inbound queries in your contact centre. By connecting Teams to your phone systems, either through the inbuilt solutions or other technologies like Direct Routing, you don’t have to leave the platform, so switching between systems or hunting down information becomes easier.


A huge selection of applications also lets you connect it to many of your key tools. While integration with Office 365 is a given, you can also find add-ons for a range of key productivity and business management tools, so you can run almost all your activities through Teams, regardless of where you are or what device you’re using.


Teams isn’t just a communications tool. It’s an entire ecosystem that can sit at the heart of everything your business does. Therefore, a deployment needs to be about more than just software. It’s also the hardware, connectivity, added functionality and supporting infrastructure you need to make the most of it.


Find out more about this in our new ebook.

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