With the light at the end of the tunnel from the pandemic, a lot of life will go back to normal, and some will remain changed forever. One of those changes is likely how we work. Since we now have about a year under our belts of remote work, many companies had to make adjustments that were more conducive to working from home. For that reason, remote work, or hybrid work, will likely be more accepted moving forward.
Microsoft Work Lab
For that reason, Microsoft has created a Work Lab, a collection of helpful articles that explore the science of work and ingenuity, particularly when it comes to hybrid work. In introducing the Work Lab, Jared Spataro, the leader of Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams had this to say,
“The first truly digital workforce needs technology that empowers people in every dimension of their lives by amplifying human ingenuity.
That’s why we’re launching WorkLab, a new digital publication devoted to illuminating the future of work, grounded in research and the lessons of the pandemic a year in. Amplifying ingenuity requires marrying technology to people’s fundamental needs, including focus, community, creativity, and wellbeing. We need tools that not only keep us “always on” but that help us stop and consider. Organizations need processes to free their teams from distraction and interruption so they can immerse themselves in the work that creates real value.”
We recommend bookmarking and checking out Microsoft Work Lab, but in the meantime, here are some of the lessons that can be learned from it.
What We’ve Lost and What We’ve Gained from Working Remotely
It is no surprise that working remotely has been an adjustment for everyone: the companies as a whole, their staff and their customers. On the one hand, the ways in which we communicate have changed drastically, according to Microsoft, we can see this communication breakdown:
The above chart highlights many drastic changes, most drastically is the 65% decrease in feeling socially connected to their teams.
But a lot was gained as well, in fact, in one study, “75 percent of workers felt being closer to family improved feelings of wellbeing.”
In fact, in this chart, we can see how far we’ve come since the beginning of the pandemic:
There were some challenges created as a result of working remotely, but so much gained and achieved as well. Read more about what was lost and gained during the pandemic on Microsoft Work Lab.
The Importance of the Employee Experience (EXP)
With so much of the last year being remote work, the employee experience has shifted. In the past, the physical office and time within it used to define the employee experience. Now, everything is online.
So how does a company keep their culture and a positive employee experience when everything is online?
To address this need, “Microsoft built its EXP, Viva, to reflect a core belief that the foundation of the employee experience should be helping every employee do and be their best. Viva is the next step in centralizing the employee experience—a system of shared understanding and connection that ensures everyone’s in sync about what they know, what they’re doing, and why they’re doing it. The goal is to help keep teams from getting mired in the incessant back-and-forths of top-down approvals. Instead, they should self-organize to solve problems both small and large. Employees gain autonomy without losing the sense of shared purpose.”
This is another great example of Microsoft identifying a need and filling the gap with technology. Read more about The Case for EXP on Microsoft Work Lab.
How to Focus in an Economy That’s Always On
Working from home has led to some significant at-home benefits in terms of spending time with family and loved ones (and let’s not forget: comfortable clothing). But working from home certainly has its downsides as well.
In fact, according to Microsoft, “Since the pandemic, people are sending an average of 49 percent more Teams chats per person each day. This number jumps to a 69 percent increase for chats between 5 p.m. and midnight.”
When your home is your office, how do you create a healthy work life balance and truly shut down for the day? Since we are now connected when we are at home, it’s difficult to resist the siren song of contact notifications. That’s why Windows 10 introduced Focus Assist. Focus assist is a tool that allows users to turn on specific kinds of notifications, such as alarms or priority messages, but leaves off others.
Balance has also impacted meetings (people have noted a 55% increase in meetings since the pandemic started) and feeling of inner focus (1/3 of remote workers noted that the lack of separation of work and personal life has negatively impacted their well-being). To learn more about these issues and recommended solutions to them, check out this article in Microsoft Work Lab.
Hybrid Work is Made Most Successful by the Tools You Use
When it comes to a successful hybrid working environment, it all comes down to the tools you use. That’s why we’re proud to be a Gold Microsoft Partner. If any one company has truly stepped up to make life easier – not only for the companies paying the bills, but also for the well-being of the staff – it’s Microsoft. If you’re not using the right tools, we don’t know how it could be possible to create the right environment for successful hybrid work.
Whether you’re already using Microsoft products and not sure if you’re using them to their ultimate capability, or ready to make the switch over to Microsoft, Calibre One are here to help. Learn more about what we can do for you.