Demand for hybrid working has never been greater. Since the pandemic, employees have discovered they often do their best work when they have the flexibility to choose where they operate from. While some tasks demand the creative boost that comes from being surrounded by other dedicated professionals, other projects are better completed remotely, with no distractions.
Microsoft Teams is one of the key tools enabling the future of hybrid work, ensuring team members can continue to operate efficiently, intelligently, and productively (wherever they are). With Microsoft Teams, employees stay connected wherever their day might take them.
Of course, many employees will need more than just the right technology to thrive in tomorrow’s hybrid world. Here are some of the tips companies can use to kickstart and enhance their Microsoft Teams hybrid work strategy for 2022.
Empower In-Office and Remote Employees
The first step in ensuring a powerful hybrid work experience with Microsoft Teams, is making sure everyone has the right technology. While Microsoft Teams accounts are a given, don’t forget to think beyond basic software access too.
In the office environment, you’re going to need to consider what kind of hardware and meeting spaces are going to be available for collaboration sessions with distributed employees. Are you going to configure a Microsoft Teams Rooms environment with one-click meeting access, so everyone can join a conversation as quickly as possible?
What kind of bonus tools might you need in the in-office environment to make your meetings more productive? Would a Microsoft Surface board be useful for brainstorming ideas? How about cameras with AI technology built-in, so you can set up automatic meeting starts and gesture control?
For remote workers, think about how you can ensure they’re also ready to join a meeting. Will you be providing your remote staff with video cameras, microphones, and other hardware solutions so they’re ready to jump into meetings at any moment? Plug-and-play tools with features which consider remote employee needs, like shutters for privacy and extra lighting support will be crucial.
You can also help your remote employees to master the power of hybrid work by providing them with guidance on how to arrange their remote office spaces to feel as comfortable as possible in meeting sessions. Don’t forget to look into security solutions to ensure the privacy of any video connections your remote team members might be making.
Optimise Every Meeting
Meetings have been an essential part of effective collaboration and communication for a number of years now. However, with more people working in distributed environments, the meeting could become more of a lifeline than ever before. In this new world, business leaders can’t afford to let inefficient practices get in the way of productivity.
To ensure you’re ready to master every meeting, you need to ensure you have a plan in place for:
Before the meeting
Before the meeting, make sure you choose the right space for true collaboration. Your in-office team members should have a flexible, easy-to-use space with one-tap meeting functionality. Your remote workers should have access to the tools they need to meet through any device they choose.
With a Microsoft Teams environment, you can even establish breaks before a meeting, so staff have a chance to decompress before the conversation begins. For in-office employees, you can also set up comprehensive Microsoft Teams meeting rooms, with gesture controls for video sessions and automatic meeting launches as soon as teams enter the room.
With “fluid components”, everyone in the meeting on Microsoft Teams will be able to collaborate on the agenda to ensure goals are clear and follow-up actions are set. You can even improve the chances of engagement in your meeting by setting up features like meeting “reactions”, so presenters and speakers can gauge feedback during a presentation.
During the meeting
During the collaboration session, make sure you’re making the most of your attendees’ time. Explore options like Together Mode or Large Gallery on Microsoft Teams to determine the optimal viewing experience. It’s also worth experimenting with things like sharing meeting notes and assigning tasks in meetings to keep everyone on track.
Microsoft Teams can help you to ensure everyone feels included in the conversation with live transcriptions and recording for attendees who couldn’t make it. You can also use things like “raise hand” features, breakout rooms, and polls to encourage engagement.
Depending on the nature of your meeting, you might decide to use shared digital whiteboards for sharing visual information, or you might want to look into setting up Microsoft Teams’ content camera. With PowerPoint Live within Microsoft Teams, you can also invite members of staff in the remote environment to co-present in a meeting setting.
After the meeting
After a hybrid meeting, it’s important for everyone to work together to ensure the next steps of a project are completed as efficiently as possible. At the end of the meeting, you can use the “five-minute alert” banner within Microsoft Teams to let everyone know you’re beginning to wrap up.
Send next step reminders in the form of bullets to all employees in the notes tab of the meeting, and access features like Fluid Components and Meeting Recap to record tasks and notes automatically, within the context of the meeting. This ensures anyone who needs to go back and check on what they need to do next will have access to all the right information.
Finally, allow your hybrid employees to continue the conversation in meeting chat, so they can arrange for an upcoming secondary meeting for discussing progress.
Master Hybrid Work
While the transition to a hybrid work environment can seem daunting at first, tools like Microsoft Teams are available to make the experience as seamless as possible. With the tips above, you’ll be ready to equip your teams, and set the stage of hybrid meetings.
Remember, pay attention to the feedback of your employees as you use these strategies, to ensure you’re focusing on the methods most likely to empower your staff.
This Article was first published by UC Today.