The hybrid work trend is translating to the business software world, with Microsoft announcing that its Teams platform will be getting a few new features aimed at easing the transition from home to office.
With vaccines rolling out and the pandemic slowing down, businesses have begun experimenting with hybrid work, allowing employees to work from home for part of the week, while heading into the office for the rest. As you can imagine, this kind of flexible schedule will require some unique adjustments to existing technologies.
Fortunately, Microsoft Teams is up to the task, as the collaborative platform has added some new features aimed at making hybrid work a bit easier for everyone in the office and at home.
Microsoft Teams Adds Hybrid Work Features
In a company blog post, Microsoft announced that Teams would be getting a hybrid work update. More specifically, Teams Rooms — the meeting-specific arm of the platform — will add a feature called front row. This new feature prominently displays remote employees on the bottom of meetings, so the communication process is a bit smoother.
Additionally, Teams Rooms will add a few personal Teams features to the platform, including live reactions and spotlighting/pinning multiple streams.
The unveiling of the new features came from a Microsoft post titled The future of hybrid work, which laid out a wide range of offerings the company will provide to businesses to make the transition to hybrid work a bit easier. It showcases the new features from Microsoft Teams, as well as a lineup of hardware — like cameras and displays — aimed at businesses transition to hybrid work.
The Hybrid Work Trend
During the pandemic, remote work was a bright spot for a lot of employees. While stay-at-home orders were obviously hard to manage for more than a year, being able to offer workers the flexibility to work where they want was huge for hectic pandemic schedules and mental health moments.
With cases falling though, business owners have been making decisions about what the future of work looks like. Some businesses have decided to go back to the office full time, but stats have shown that the majority of workers (54%) want some kind of flexible arrangements if they're going to return.
To make matters worse, many employees have insisted they would rather quit, while others are merely asking for the same flexibility to work in the office and at home, particularly after a year of proving it can be done.
Fortunately, many company are on board with this kind of hybrid work schedule. Google, Facebook, and a wide range of other businesses have implemented programs to provide flexible options for employees when it comes to working from home.
Tools for Hybrid Work
As you can imagine, shifting to hybrid work is going to take some getting used to, for business owners and employees alike. There are a lot of small nuances and big changes that come with this transition, but having the right tools can go a long way in assuaging any concerns.
Microsoft Teams is honestly a great option, but there are other such platforms that can help you get started, like Google Workspace and Zoom. These web conferencing options are great and easy to use, so you can stay in touch with your team, no matter where they're working.
Additionally, resources like remote access software and VPNs offer a bit of security for your remote workers. Naturally, their at-home security setup won't be much, but these two tools can give you the peace of mind you need to be confident that you won't be the next big security breach.
Simply put, the hybrid work trend is likely going to be the new normal, and getting on board with the right technologies can make a big difference in easing the transition.