Microsoft has just postponed, indefinitely, the return to offices in the United States. Even in conditions of greater health security, the company believes that the model for the future is hybrid and flexible and has new tools to improve communication and collaboration.
The decision to postpone, without a definite date, the return to the US offices was communicated today by Satya Nadella and Ryan Roslan sky, Microsoft and LinkedIn CEOs, and reinforced in a blog post dedicated to data on the paradigm shift for the hybrid work, and where data from an internal survey of the company’s employees are presented.
The “face-to-face” return in the United States was scheduled for October 4th and has been postponed again due to the evolution of the Delta variants of COVID-19. But the company is focused on putting the tools of Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Viva, and LinkedIn to ensure the best hybrid, flexible work experience for all organizations and employees.
Despite the recognized advantages of distance work models, the last 18 months have also proven that there are challenges that have to be overcome, and even a paradox that makes different people point out different reasons to explain their interest in keeping working in such a way remotely, or by returning to the office.
According to the study presented, from the Work Trend Index, 90% of Microsoft employees, in more than 100 countries, reveal that they feel included in the company’s culture, despite having been an atypical year, with 160 thousand people working remotely and 25 thousand new employees joining the Microsoft team without having a physical presence in the office.
Interestingly, 45% of team leaders say they plan to spend more time in the office, but only 39% of employees report the same intention. And 58% of employees who say they want to spend more or less time in the office use the same argument: greater concentration.
Paula Fernandes, Director of the Productivity & Collaboration Business Unit at Microsoft Portugal, admits that “these latest data reveal to us that although hybrid work is complex, we must embrace flexibility, different work styles and a culture of trust in order to be successful”.
Microsoft is balancing solutions that go through technology
Among the solutions that have been presented today is a technology that aims to improve collaboration in meeting rooms, better integrating physical and virtual presence formats. A new category of cameras was unveiled that integrates sound tracking technology, artificial intelligence speakers, multiple video streams, and people recognition, which identify and display the name of the profile of meeting participants.
But there are also other news, such as the integration of Microsoft Teams in Apple CarPlay, which makes the “meeting in the car” mode that we’ve all seen in recent months.
Many of the features will not be available until 2022, such as the Cameo feature for PowerPoint, which integrates the Teams camera feed into the presentation, allowing the presenter to define how and where they want to appear on screen with their slides.
Others will be faster, such as hot-desking functionality that should be integrated into Lenovo’s ThinkSmart View before the end of the year, or Teams integration with Apple CarPlay to be able to hold meetings while driving, using Siri as an assistant.
The Viva Connections app will also be available in the coming weeks.