Utilizing Microsoft 365 for Hybrid Work

Name the lead actress in these movies: Speed, The Lake House, Demolition Man. If you grew up in the ’90s like me, then you might have heard of Sandra Bullock, who rocked the big screen with her charm, wit, and comedic… timing.

In 1995, Bullock captured me in the action and crime drama The Net. Not only is the plot intriguing, but it introduced the idea of a remote worker (at least to me). Fast forward a quarter of a century, and wireless internet is the standard. There are more screens than people, and 62% of employees aged 22 to 65 work remotely on any occasion.

Remote work increased not only out of necessity but also due to accessibility. The past year has fundamentally transformed the way we work, do business, and meet customer needs – everything. This past year has also taught us that so much more can be done remotely than we ever thought possible. Flexible work is here to stay.

Maybe you’ve already got your new work routine down, or perhaps you’re finding it clunky. Wherever you’re at, you want to be a lean, seen, remote working machine. Microsoft has the tools. I’m going to offer three tips to leverage Microsoft 365 in your Hybrid Work Model.  But first, let’s define a Hybrid Work Model (HWM).

What is a Hybrid Work Model?

In any office, there is a range of work functions that influence work location. For example, the IT Tech who configures new devices handles them best on-site. However, a Data Analyst who develops new Power BI connectors can operate with a laptop and high-speed internet. Well, an HWM blends aspects of both workers. Hybrid work is about adapting to how teams work best and creating experiences that reach everyone.

Next, what is Microsoft 365? Is that the same as Microsoft Office? Or Office 365? Again, growing up in the ’90s, there was a new Microsoft Office version every three to four years. It would be a selling point on why I needed to buy a new desktop.  Well, updates occur so frequently now that Microsoft has shifted their model from a one-time, stagnant box purchase to a dynamic subscription available 365 days a year (get it?).

In April of 2020, Office 365 became Microsoft 365. Services include mainstays such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. The new kids on the block include Teams, OneNote, and OneDrive. It’s the Cloud of OneDrive that really floats the HWM.

The forecast is always Cloudy

This is not only true because I live in the Pacific Northwest, but because I always save to the Cloud. Every organization is on its own journey to the Cloud. But the faster you get there, the faster you can adapt to the new hybrid work reality. Cloud readiness is the reason that Microsoft was able to move to remote work virtually overnight with limited impact on employee productivity. Moving everything to the Cloud enables more flexible ways of working.

Microsoft’s OneDrive keeps your files accessible whether you’re local or remote. Gone are the days of forgetting your USB or Floppy. Here are the productive times where you can always find your files saved in OneDrive. When being asked to save, make sure you see the Cloud.

Furthermore, I make sure that the ‘AutoSave’ button is toggled. This way, I can be confident that my documents are accessible to me everywhere I go. Yes – even when I am working at my favorite coffee shop. All I need is my laptop, wifi, and I can still touch the Cloud.

Hit the Links

This is not a suggestion to “work” remotely from the golf course. Instead, it’s a drive (see what I did there) to use hyperlinks (did you try clicking on that?). The Hybrid Work Model is not about being stagnant in a confined cubicle at a confirmed hour but utilizing the space you need at the time you need it. Neither should your colleagues nor your files.

I share Word, Excel, or PowerPoint files with my colleagues, allowing live updates to happen. Maybe you’re hyperlink hesitant that someone might break your perfect excel formulas. Having my file saved in the Cloud allows me to view the Version History and walk back the excel sheet to its pristine, data-validated, color-coded version.

Join the Teams

Raise your hand if you’ve missed human interaction. Going to the Innovation Station (our meeting room) with my laptop and coffee mug makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself. I need to bring my A-game because this team needs me. Okay – you can put your hand down.

Maybe meeting in person is just not possible right now. Yet, you want to be a valuable contribution – that’s why you’re reading this blog. Then make meetings work for everyone no matter where they are and get connected with Microsoft Teams. With Teams, I have a centralized hub for my files, apps, and the best video meeting features.

I often record my video meetings to recall specifics. Portions of the meetings can also be edited for training purposes. The meeting is also transcribed in real-time for accessibility. But what enthrones Teams above their competition is the virtual backgrounds. For example, when meeting with clients, I can use a polished background that masks my home office’s exercise bike. But if I am working from our headquarters office, the same background provides a consistent and professional experience.

Hybrid Work is Inevitable. Embrace the Opportunity.

Embracing hybrid work will enable your organization to meet new employee and customer expectations, attract and retain talent, and gain a competitive advantage. Whether it’s supply chain challenges, resource shortages, or a novel coronavirus, successful companies are prepared to pivot. The infrastructure provided by Microsoft and its Microsoft 365 platform equips companies of all sizes to build, maintain, and innovate their business processes while spanning across geography and time zones.

If you don’t already have a Microsoft 365 account, you can start with a free 30-day trial and explore the plans that meet your needs. The Microsoft portfolio of integrated customer solutions is built for the era of hybrid work – enabling organizations of all sizes in every industry to emerge from the crisis stronger and poised for growth.

Advisicon offers customized installations, experienced setup, and tailored training. So reach out to get started.