“Hybrid office” is the new buzzword you’ll hear used in business discussions. It is the mix of employees who both work in the office and work from home. This has become more than a buzzword and is now the reality for many companies.
There was a survey of workers with jobs that are remotely suitable. The survey found that as of February 2022, 42% of them were working a hybrid schedule. And 39% worked full-time from home.
The global pandemic triggered this hybrid office transition. It forced companies to work with teams that could no longer get to the office safely. During this time, employers and employees have experienced the benefits of hybrid work firsthand.
These benefits of remote teams include cost savings for both employees and employers. It also enabled the company to operate with more flexibility. Another benefit was another benefit.
One fact surprised many employers who feared remote working would increase productivity. It actually increased in many circumstances.
63% of high-growth companies use a hybrid work approach of “productivity everywhere.”
For hybrid teams to be productive, they must stay connected. Wherever they work, the right technological tools should enable them.
One of the leaders in this field has been Microsoft. The company plans to add several exciting updates this year. These will provide companies with more tools to enable their hybrid teams.
Here are some ways you can use Microsoft 365 to optimize a productive hybrid office. Note that some of these features are already out and others should be released later this year.
1. Microsoft Teams and expanded features.
Microsoft Teams is much more than a team messaging app. The application combines the best features of virtual video meetings and messaging channels. It brings them together in a platform designed as a secure online work hub.
MS Teams has come a long way in the past five years. And the company continues to add more features to enable hybrid offices. Some of the recent feature updates include:
- The ability to do webinar registration
- Presentation modes that provide a more professional virtual presence
- Increased security through features such as smart links and smart attachments
- A complete business VoIP phone system add-on
- The addition of a “metaverse” component called Mesh for Teams
2. New meeting options for RSVP in Outlook.
One of the challenges, when not everyone works in the same place, is how to know when to “clock in” and “clock out. As well as how to let colleagues know if you’ll be working from home or the office next week.
To better coordinate hybrid teams, Outlook gets an update. Allows users to RSVP to meetings. This can let team members know if they are attending virtually or in person.
3. Better framing for more engaging meetings
One thing that can distract from the purpose of a meeting is someone’s background at home. Positioning of the camera can also be problematic. For one person, their face can take up 80% of the video screen. Another may take up only 20% because they are further away from their PC’s camera.
A new Surface Hub 2S Smart Camera provides better face tracking. This affects when people hold virtual meetings in Microsoft Teams. Features include adjusting the room view so that people’s faces are clearer. As well as having more consistent sizing.
The video screen also automatically adjusts as people enter or leave a physical space.
4. Get better control of your video using PowerPoint to present
People often share a screen in a video call and present a PowerPoint presentation. It can be difficult to keep everyone as involved as when you present in person.
In person, for example, you can maintain eye contact. People can clearly see your facial expressions when you emphasize different things. This is not always the case with virtual presentation. The app can push your video feed into a small box.
There is a new upcoming feature for Teams called Cameo. Allows you to seamlessly integrate PowerPoint with MS teams. You can determine exactly how you want to display your video feed in relation to your presentation.
Another addition is Recording Studio. This new feature for PowerPoint allows you to record professional-looking on-demand videos. You can do it directly in the app.
5. Get help with your presentation skills
Microsoft has poured many AI capabilities into Microsoft 365 in recent years. One that will soon help you give better virtual presentations is Speaker Coach.
This is a private and personal coach. It can help you sharpen your presentation skills. This improves your transition to the differences between presenting online versus in person.
Some of the feedback it can provide include:
- Use of repetitive language
- Use of filler words (um)
- Speech rate
- Pause for input
- Speaker overlap
- And more
Ask us about enhancing your hybrid Office capabilities with Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 has a lot of useful features. But it does help to have an expert guide to help you navigate these options. Contact us today to set up a chat about how Microsoft 365 can help your business grow.