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5 Ways Microsoft 365 Can Enable the Hybrid Office

Worker operating either remotely or in a hybrid office environment. There is a woman in front of a computer screen engaging in a virtual meeting

How many times a week do you hear the term “Hybrid office”?

For many businesses, it’s not only a trending buzzword, it’s the new normal for employees everywhere.

In many workplaces today, employees have the option of working both in the office and from home.

But, just how common is the hybrid office?

Well, to answer that, an employee survey was conducted among remote-capable employees. The survey found that as of February of 2022, 42% of them operated a hybrid schedule, while 39% worked from home full time.

The global pandemic prompted the transition to hybrid offices. As a result, companies had to operate with teams that could no longer come to work safely. Consequently, both employers and employees began a drastic shift towards hybrid work during this time.

As it turned out, employers and workers were both able to save money by working remotely. This not only increased morale for many employees, but allowed many companies to operate with more flexibility.

While many organizations were concerned about the effects remote work would have, most were surprised to learn that remote work does not negatively impact productivity. In fact, in many cases, it actually increased.

Now, 63% of high-growth companies use a “productivity anywhere” hybrid work approach.

In order for hybrid teams to be productive, your team needs to stay connected. No matter where they work, you need to enable them with the right technology.

Microsoft has been a leader in this space for a long time, with several exciting updates due to be added this year.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can use Microsoft 365 to optimize a productive hybrid office. Note that some of these features are already out, while others should release later this year.

Remote worker operating in the digital workplace
Related: 5 Mistakes You're Making In the Digital Workplace (click image for full article)

1. Microsoft Teams & Expanded Features

In addition to being a team messaging app, Microsoft Teams offers much more. A virtual video meeting and messaging application is combined in this application. This platform combines them into an online work hub designed to be secure.

Over the last five years, MS Teams has come a long way. And, the company continues to add more features to enable the hybrid office experience.

Some of the recent feature updates include:

  • The ability to perform webinar registration

  • Presenter modes that provide a more professional virtual presence

  • Increased security through features like smart links and smart attachments

  • A full business VoIP phone system add-on

  • The addition of a “metaverse” component called Mesh for Teams

2. New Meeting Options for RSVP in Outlook

When not everyone works in the same location, one of the challenges is knowing when to “clock in” and “clock out.” Additionally, sometimes even informing colleagues whether you’re working from home or the office next week can turn into a confusing mess.

To help hybrid teams better coordinate, Outlook is getting an update.

With it, it will allow users to RSVP to meetings, allowing team members to know whether 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. One person might have their face taking up 80% of the video screen. Another may only take up 20% because they’re sitting farther away from their PC’s camera.

A new Surface Hub 2S Smart Camera will allow for better face framing, playing a major role when people are meeting virtually in Microsoft Teams.

Features include adjusting the room view so people’s faces display more clearly, as well as having more consistent sizing.

The video display will also automatically adjust as people join or leave a physical room.

Conference call - Microsoft 365 cloud security
Related: How to Strengthen Your Microsoft 365 Security

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.

The problem is that it can be difficult to keep everyone as engaged as when you’re presenting in person.

For example, in person, you can maintain eye contact. People can clearly see your facial expressions as you emphasize various things. That’s not always the case when presenting virtually. The app may push your video feed into a tiny box.

To help with this, there’s a new upcoming feature for Teams called ‘Cameo’, enabling you to seamlessly integrate PowerPoint with Microsoft Teams.

With it, you can decide exactly how you want your video feed to appear in relation to your presentation.

Another addition is ‘Recording Studio’. This new feature for PowerPoint allows you to record professional-looking on-demand videos.

The best part? You can do it right inside the app.

5. Help With Your Hybrid Office Presentation Skills

Microsoft has poured a lot of AI capabilities into Microsoft 365 over the last several years to help with the demands of the hybrid office.

One that will soon help you deliver better virtual presentations is Speaker Coach.

This is a private, personalized coach to help you hone your presentation skills. This improves your switch to the differences between presenting online versus in person.

Some of the feedback it can provide includes:

  • Use of repetitive language

  • Use of filler words (Ummm)

  • Speaking pace

  • Pausing for input

  • Intonation

  • Speaker overlaps

Ask Us About Improving Your Hybrid Office Capabilities with Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 has a ton of helpful features, but it does help to have professional guidance to get the most from your experience.

If you could use a hand navigating these capabilities, or any other assistance with the hybrid office experience, Ideal Integrations can help.

Along with our cybersecurity division, Blue Bastion, we can create or optimize the ideal setup for your hybrid office (or any work environment, for that matter!)

Simply contact us today at 412-349-6680 to set up a chat, or fill out the form below for a no-obligation conversation about your business needs.

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