5 Ways Microsoft 365 Can Enhance Your Hybrid Office
“Hybrid office” is a relatively fresh buzzword you’ll hear used in offices all across Melbourne. A hybrid office means a workplace that caters to a mix of office-based and home-based employees… and now, it’s the reality for many Melbourne businesses.
This article published by Melbourne University in 2020 predicted that more businesses would have to adapt to hybrid or flexible post-pandemic. Moreover, this study, also by Melbourne University, showed that 70% of people working from home would like to keep doing so. But of course, not every business can’t have their staff working from home permanently.
This is where the hybrid office transition comes into it. During the lengthy lockdowns we experienced here in Melbourne, employers and employees experienced the benefits of hybrid work firsthand. Of course, one of those benefits for the workers was ducking down to the local cafe for a coffee and then drinking it in the comfort of their home office! Positives like this resulted in happier staff and improved morale, for the most part.
Our lengthy lockdowns also put paid to the theory that people working at home would be less productive. But, in fact, we Melburnians were more productive when working from home! So now, businesses are looking to leverage those positive benefits by keeping employees happy and comfortable with a hybrid office and dynamic approach to work.
For hybrid teams to be productive, they need to stay connected. So no matter where they work, the right technology tools should enable them. One of the leaders in this space has been Microsoft. The company plans to add several exciting updates this year. These will provide more tools for companies to enable their hybrid teams.
Here are more ways to use Microsoft 365 to facilitate an uber-productive hybrid Melbourne office space. Note that some of these features are already out, and others should release later this year.
1. Microsoft Teams & Expanded Features
Microsoft Teams is much more than a team messaging app; lockdowns proved this! The application combines the best features of virtual video meetings and messaging channels, creating a platform designed to be a hub for secure online work.
MS Teams improved in leaps and bounds in the last five years. Microsoft continues to add more features to enable hybrid offices. Some of the recent feature updates include:
- The ability to perform registrations for webinars
- A more professional looking Presenter modes
- Better security settings through features like smart links and smart attachments
- The ability to integrate your existing VoIP phone system into Teams
- And, of course, the obligatory addition of a “metaverse”. It’s called Mesh for Teams.
2. New Meeting Options for RSVP in Outlook
A critical challenge that pops up often is keeping your managers and colleagues informed about when you’re online and jumping off. Of course, that also applies to future schedules and making sure colleagues are aware of which days you’re working… perhaps one staff member is logging off early on Friday to head to the footy.
To help hybrid teams better coordinate, Outlook is getting an update. The update will allow users to RSVP to meetings and clarify whether that meeting is in-person or remote.
3. Better Framing for More Engaging Meetings
During virtual meetings, background visuals and noise can distract employees at both ends of the connection. What’s more, getting the correct positioning on a camera can be tricky, with different team members sitting close or far from the screen.
Microsoft has developed a new Surface Hub 2S Smart Camera, which makes framing much easier when using Teams. The specific features include quickly adjusting room view and more consistent sizing. The room view will also adapt automatically, making it much easier to see colleagues.
This keeps employees engaged, making those cold winter days more productive.
4. Better Control of Your Video Using PowerPoint to Present
Presenting a PowerPoint while sharing your screen is a fantastic bit of technology, but keeping the audience engaged throughout can be challenging. On the other hand, doing so in person makes it a tad easier to ensure you have everyone’s attention.
For instance, eye contact is possible when you’re presenting in person. Physical communication is also essential; in person, you can use hand gestures and facial expressions to emphasise different parts of your presentation. However, it’s impossible to maximise these communication forms when presenting over Teams. Sometimes your employees will feel the distance… especially when your video feed is pushed into a tiny box!
Cameo is a new feature for Teams, allowing for seamless PowerPoint integration into Teams. It will enable you, as the presenter, to make sure the presentation appears as intended. That makes it much easier to keep people engaged.
Recording Studio is another feature that allows you to record professional-looking, on-demand videos, and it can be done right inside the app.
5. Get Help With Your Presentation Skills
Microsoft has continued to develop Microsoft 365 over the years, especially when implementing AI capabilities. For example, Speaker Coach is a new feature that will help remote, and office-based workers deliver improved virtual presentations.
This feature is a personalised coach, which helps you hone your presentation skills, making it much easier to sharpen in-person and remote presentations.
Some of the feedback it can provide include:
- Use of repetitive language
- Use of filler words (Ummm)
- Speaking pace
- Pausing for input
- Speaker overlaps
- And more.
With this coaching, you might even be delivering presentations at the convention centre before you know it!
Ask Us About Improving the Hybrid Capabilities of Your Melbourne Office
Microsoft 365 has plenty of features, but you’ll only get the most out of them with help from an expert Melbourne IT company. So get in touch with us today to see how we can help perfect your hybrid office and create a more productive workplace… remote or otherwise.
About the author
Yener is the founder and Managing Director of Intuitive IT. Prior to running his own business Yener worked for a number of corporate organisations where he gained invaluable experience and skills, as well as an understanding of how IT can complement and improve business outcomes.