Oct 20 2022
Digital Workspace

Microsoft Ignite 2022: New Enhancements Will Enable Work from Anywhere

Over the course of this year’s event, the company introduced new features and products designed to elevate remote collaboration.

Over the past couple of years, hybrid work arrangements have become the norm for many companies and even for entire industries. But many of those organizations have struggled to adopt the technology that can enable and optimize hybrid work.

It’s important for employees to have the equipment, connectivity and opportunity to contribute fully whether they’re in the office, working from home or connecting from another remote location. And employee expectations have changed as a result of the convenience afforded by flexible arrangements.

“We believe that energized, empowered employees are the key to durable competitive advantage for every organization,” said Colette Stallbaumer, general manager of Microsoft 365 and Future of Work at Microsoft, speaking Wednesday at Microsoft Ignite 2022.

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How Management Must Change to Meet New Employee Expectations

Stallbaumer said that the management style of 2019 no longer works for employees in 2022, and leadership must make certain changes. “The Microsoft Work Trend Index points to three urgent pivots every leader needs to make now to chart a path forward,” she said.

First, she called for the end of “productivity paranoia,” or leaders worrying that people aren't being productive. “We need to stop worrying about whether people are working enough and help them focus on what matters most,” Stallbaumer said, adding that the data shows people are working more now than they ever have.

Second, she said leaders need to recognize that the role of the office has changed. People come into the office because of relationships with coworkers and because they’re seeking a sense of culture. “To make the office worth the commute, employees need a ‘why.’ And it turns out that ‘why’ is each other.”

And third, she noted that employees need to be given opportunities for development. “Our data shows it's not enough to give people reasons to join an organization. We also have to give them reasons to stay. Empowering today's digitally connected distributed workforce requires the right culture and the right technology to meet the moment.”

RELATED: Find out more about the changing IT needs of a work-from-anywhere world.

How Microsoft 365 Is Empowering Hybrid Workplaces

Stallbaumer proclaimed Microsoft 365 to be a powerful tool for bring together hybrid workforces. “Microsoft 365 is the cloud-first platform that enables all the ways people work today — wherever, whenever and however, for every type of worker, from information workers to frontline workers.”

And it combines multiple Microsoft tools that enable better collaboration, no matter what environment an organization might inhabit. “Microsoft 365 brings together Teams, plus Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, as well as new apps like Loop. It's all built on Microsoft Graph with artificial intelligence that acts on your behalf, helping you be your best each day, find focus and stay in the flow of work. And it simplifies IT management while reducing cost,” Stallbaumer said.

“With Microsoft Loop, we're breaking down barriers between apps to enable fluid collaboration as people think, plan and create together. It's the perfect tool for ideation and building on each other's ideas. And with Loop components, you can pull in colleagues to work together on small pieces of content. These components show up in their workflow and are always up to date, regardless of what device they connect with or the app that they're using,” she explained.

WATCH: Find out how IT leaders are adapting to manage the evolving workforce.

Microsoft Introduces New Products to Elevate Collaboration

In addition to Loop, Microsoft announced several new products and enhancements at this year’s event, many of which are designed to enable collaboration across different environments.

“Last year, we introduced Microsoft Viva, the first digital employee experience platform that brings connection, purpose, insight and growth into the flow of work to empower people and teams to be their best,” Stallbaumer said. “Viva connects each person, from the front line to the CEO, with the tools and information they need, when and where they need them. It binds each employee to your company mission and its culture with a focus on goal setting and alignment.”

Acknowledging that employees are motivated to come into a physical office for each other, the company has also recognized the need to accommodate that experience by answering common questions. “Microsoft Places helps everyone understand who will be in the office when, where people are sitting, what meetings to attend in person, and how to book space on the days your team is already planning to come in. It's a big step forward to help leaders and organizations understand how people are using the office and, ultimately, optimize their real estate investments,” Stallbaumer explained.  

Keep this page bookmarked for articles and videos from the event, and follow us on Twitter @BizTechMagazine and the official conference Twitter feed, @MS_Ignite.

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