The “Hybrid office” — the new buzzword in business since COVID-19 — combines working at the office and from home and has become the reality for many companies.
A survey released by Zippia in February 2022 revealed that transformation has accelerated at break-neck speed, with 74 percent of U.S. companies already using a hybrid model or planning to soon.
Employers and employees both experienced the benefits of remote work during the pandemic, including cost savings, more flexibility and improved employee morale while actually increasing productivity.
Playing a large role in that transformation has been Microsoft’s Office 365 suite of productivity and collaboration applications, now known simply as Microsoft 365, which helps companies pursue a “Productivity Anywhere” hybrid approach to work. In fact, 63 percent of high-growth companies follow that approach now, according to the Zippia study.
Below we list how Microsoft 365 can optimize a productive hybrid office. Note that some features are already out, while others will release later this year.
1. Microsoft Teams & Expanded Features
Microsoft Teams might only seem like a messaging app or that annoying thing that starts up automatically when your computer starts and slows down your ability to get to work, but it combines the best features of virtual video meetings and messaging channels. It brings them together in a platform designed to be a secure online work hub.
MS Teams has come a long way in the last five years and the company continues to add more features to enable hybrid offices, including:
- The ability to do 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
The challenges of employees working in different locations include knowing when and how to “clock in” and “clock out” and determining if colleagues are available or working at home next week or the office.
To help hybrid teams better coordinate, Outlook will soon allow users to RSVP to meetings. This lets team members know if they will be attending virtually or in person.
3. Better Framing for More Engaging Meetings
We’ve all been horrified to turn on our cameras for an online meeting and find something embarrassing in the background. Camera positioning can also be problematic. One person’s face might take up 80% of the screen.
A new Surface Hub 2S Smart Camera will allow for better face framing in Microsoft Teams meetings. Features include adjusting the room view so people’s faces will be clearer and providing consistent sizing.
The video display will also automatically adjust as people join or leave a physical room.
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 engaged as in-person meetings.
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.
An upcoming feature for Teams called Cameo will allow you to seamlessly integrate PowerPoint with MS teams. You can decide exactly how you want your video feed to appear in relation to your presentation.
Another addition, Recording Studio, allows you to record professional-looking on-demand videos in PowerPoint. You can do it right inside the app.
5. Get Help With Your Presentation Skills
Microsoft has poured a lot of AI capabilities into Microsoft 365. One that will soon help deliver better virtual presentations is Speaker Coach.
This private and personalized coach can help hone your presentation skills. This improves your transition between online versus in-person presentations.
Some of the feedback it provides includes:
- Use of repetitive language
- Use of filler words
- Speaking pace
- Pausing for input
- Speaker overlaps
- And more
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 an expert to navigate these capabilities. Contact FlexITechs today at 302-537-4198 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how Microsoft 365 can help your business grow.
For more information on Microsoft 365 products and capabilities, follow these links:
- Three Ways Teams and MS 365 Meet Hybrid Workforce Expectations
- Mesh for Microsoft Teams
- Cameo in PowerPoint & MS Teams