In a LinkedIn post, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, wrote: “Hybrid work represents the biggest change in the way we work in our generation. ”
“The vast majority of employees say they want more flexible remote working options,” says Nadella based on her research. At the same time, people say “they want more collaboration in person, after the pandemic”. This is where the paradox of hybrid work lies.
“Over the past year, no area has undergone a transformation faster than the way we work. Employee expectations are changing. “We will need to be much more” inclusive in terms of collaboration, learning and well-being to foster the professional advancement of every worker. ” This needs to be done with “some flexibility as to when, where and how people work,” he said.
To help both employees and managers, the company has published a playbook “Share some of what we’ve learned so far, including data, research and best practices designed to help organizations navigate these evolving work standards.” In another blog post, Jared Spataro, vice president of Microsoft 365, said of the company’s 1,600,000 employees worldwide, “Any employee can work remotely up to 50% of the time.“
The new hybrid work strategy is broken down into three parts:
Microsoft plans for each business unit to remain “world class”. They should include both “synchronous and asynchronous communications”. To maintain the corporate culture, “employees now expect all meeting information, be it recordings, transcripts or highlights, to be available on demand and in duplicate. speed, at a time that suits them. “
It is important that “the day-to-day relationships between employees, as well as between employees [and] their managers ”are maintained. Nadella put a plug-in to use one of the company’s products, Microsoft Viva, to “bring together one-to-one and one-to-many communications to keep everyone engaged and informed and maintain that bond between employees and the company and its mission.”
Spataro said: “To help people thrive in a more flexible world of work, we need to rethink the entire employee experience, from creating a culture to attracting and retaining talent. and the creation of listening systems. ” He added, “Every organization needs a plan and policies that put us on a path of extreme flexibility and help us embed digital empathy into all aspects of our culture.”
It is a great challenge to keep knowledge, the essential ingredient for success, circulating in a dispersed environment. “We work to help employees gain knowledge and references so that others can find them and take advantage of their expertise. That’s why we provide personalized training content to employees and also centralize company-wide training, all in the workflow. “
Nadella says: “Managers must now think of the well-being of the people they work with as a top priority, and then do whatever they can to think about productivity in the broad sense instead of production in the short term. “
Like many businesses during the pandemic, Microsoft understands the importance of mental and emotional health. To help its employees, Microsoft is “taking a data-driven approach.” For example, based on research, “Back-to-back meetings put our well-being in question and short breaks might be a cure.” The company decided to add “new settings in Outlook that can automatically schedule short breaks between meetings.” The software giant also uses “analytics to help employees improve their work habits and help managers proactively engage teams at risk of burnout.”
The business won’t just rely on physical locations to collaborate. The spaces will have to be rethought. To level the playing field, everyone must have “a common vision of the meeting participants and be able to connect with them”. Employees will also have the same access to information, whether they are remote workers or office workers.
Microsoft wants “fair and inclusive experiences” that start with keeping in mind those who will not be in the physical room. This involves the use of “Microsoft Teams Rooms with high quality audio and video to ensure that everyone can be seen, heard and involved as if they were there in person.” Meeting rooms will install “eye-level cameras to allow participants to maintain eye contact.” The aim is to offer teleworkers a “first-rate” experience, alongside those working in the office.
A product that fascinates Nadella are virtual reality meetings, which “transcend space and distance to collaborate virtually in new ways”. Microsoft and AltspaceVR have devised a concept called “Nth floor. It offers a unique virtual reality experience, allowing people to interact with each other, regardless of their geographic location.