Microsoft Ignite’s Hybrid Office Recap

Microsoft Ignite 2022 was full of exciting updates and inspiring stories, leaving us with a lot to digest! If you didn’t get the chance to attend or still reeling from information overload, put your worries aside because this recap will deliver you all the essential information you need. 

The Ignite event proved that Microsoft is no stranger when it comes to acknowledging the rise and increased demand for a greater transition toward a hybrid workspace. Microsoft’s constantly evolving technology and ability to truly understand society’s needs help users “do more, with less,” which was the main goal and theme of the Ignite event. 

The conference featured several powerful and educational sessions, but Jared Spataro’s “re-energize your workforce in the office, at home, and everywhere in between” was a must-watch for those interested in the hybrid office. 

For starters, keeping up with a growing and changing society can be arduous. However, one must truly understand that empowering employees is crucial to maintaining a competitive advantage, especially within a hybrid office work style. The Microsoft Work Trend Index brings up three changes leaders must make to improve their future course of action and ensure that they have empowered employees.   

 

Put an end to Productivity Paranoia 

The first is ending productivity paranoia. According to the Microsoft Work Trend Index, completed in September of 2022, 87% of employees report being productive at work, yet only 12% of leaders have confidence that their team is productive. This lack of trust tends to be a setback for organizations, and Spataro recommends spending less time worrying about employees’ progress, and more time acting as their support system to help them achieve their goals and stay focused on what matters. 

 

The Office Reimagined 

The second point is recognizing and understanding that the role of the office has changed, mainly because nowadays, people come into the office for each other as team bonds have become a priority. This shift of motivation to come to the office is one that leaders must acknowledge and remember when trying to get workers to be willing to come in person. 

 

Re-recruitment is Key 

The third and final result from the Microsoft Work Trend Index is to re-recruit employees. This means that it’s not enough to attain employees; you must retain them as well. Help them learn, grow, and thrive on the job to continuously give them a reason to want to stay at your company. 

 

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Ignite emphasizes that for hybrid work, the workforce needs the right culture and technology to stand out and be ready for anything. These themes drive the innovations coming to Microsoft 365, Teams, and Viva. 

 

Microsoft 365 

Microsoft 365 Platforms
Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft 365 is a cloud-first platform that Spataro refers to as a helping tool that “lets people work wherever, whenever and however they’d like!” This key resource for hybrid office brings together platforms such as Teams, Word, Excel, and so many other apps, like a new one we’re beyond excited for, Loop. 

Display of the Microsoft 365 "My Content" section
Photo courtesy of Microsoft

With AI, Microsoft 365 is embedded in your everyday workflows across your toolsets, keeping you focused and connected while minimizing costs. 

Display of Microsoft 365 "Apps" page
Photo courtesy of Microsoft

The above photos are a sneak peek at the updated and improved design. The app combines everything into a single experience to prepare you for the next day’s events. You can now find all of the Microsoft apps, third-party apps, and even your own company apps in one platform. Say goodbye to frustrating context switching—this truly is a more fulfilling and efficient way to work! 

 

Teams 

Pinned channel in Teams
Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Teams has been a significant contributor to helping users collaborate both in person and remotely. There are over 270 million users each month, and Microsoft has introduced more than 450 new capabilities in Teams in the last year alone! 

Video call through Teams with the drawing feature on presented content

Video call through Teams with the ability to make comments on presented content
Photos courtesy of Microsoft

Teams has some great new changes, such as the ability to edit files directly from Teams without ever opening the file, being able to live share any app during Teams meetings to create a multiuser, collaborative experience, and redesigning the platform to make it easier to focus and get work done. Teams really emphasizes the importance of collaborative apps and bringing together corporate procedures, data and insights right into Teams’ workflow where users are already working. 

Teams presentation using virtual Post-it notes to brainstorm ideas

Photo courtesy of Microsoft

We’re personally stoked about the collaboration with Post-it notes which helps bring the in-person experience virtually. Now people at home and away from the office can participate in brainstorming activities just as they would if they were to be physically in the office! It’s another great addition to the hybrid office experience that organizations can use. 

Microsoft Teams Premium will be generally available in February 2023! Spataro mentions it as the first step to changing the meeting culture. It consists of an intelligent meeting recap, AI-powered live captions, greater protection of sensitive meeting content, friction-free virtual appointments, and even the option to create branded meeting experiences! 

Teams Premium makes meetings more personalized, intelligent, and secure

Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft Viva 

The final important addition to your hybrid office is Microsoft Viva. Within just the last year, the Viva modules expanded from 4 to 9, and this number keeps increasing! 

The Microsoft Viva modules categorized based on connection, purpose, insight, and growth
Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft Viva is the first digital employee experience platform that enables teams and individuals to perform at their highest potential by bringing connection, purpose, insight, and growth into the workflow. 

Whether it be Viva Insights, Viva Learning, or even one of the newer modules like Viva Amplify, Viva helps employees excel and thrive regardless of the role or tasks they’ve been assigned. Viva aids users by aligning everyone in the organization to the company mission and culture, while also empowering employees to be their best.  

This can be seen through the three newest Viva Applications: Viva Goals, Viva Pulse, and Viva Amplify. 

Viva Goals – goal setting and OKR management solution which helps bring clarity and alignment to your team and drive results. 

Viva Pulse – lets managers and leaders check in with their teams for quick and confidential input to understand their needs on an ongoing basis and take action when it matters 

Viva Amplify – helps leaders and managers communicate more effectively with employees through the creation and publication of communications campaigns which can be distributed across multiple channels on Teams, in email and in Viva. 

And now for a final few wrap-ups of Microsoft Ignite and its relation to hybrid office… an additional resource that’s designed to address the challenges of hybrid work will soon be released. Introducing Microsoft Places!

Microsoft Places Dashboard

Photo courtesy of Microsoft

This is the connected workplace of the future as it lets people know who is coming into the office, their seating location, which meetings they plan on attending, and much more! 

Additionally, the Smart Vision 60 is the first 360-degree center-of-room intelligent camera which produces multiple video streams with AI active speaker tracking and people recognition! 

This implementation of new technology is a great addition to the hybrid workforce, as 51% of Gen Z employees envision doing at least part of their work in the metaverse within the upcoming two years. 

360-degree center-of-room intelligent camera
Photo courtesy of Microsoft

Technology continues to surprise us and adds to the hybrid office experience with the new addition of Mesh avatars for Microsoft Teams. Talk about living in the future! 

Teams meeting with Mesh Avatars

Another meeting with Mesh Avatars

Photos courtesy of Microsoft

Now although this Ignite recap most likely threw a lot of new information at you, we hope that the main takeaway you walk away with is that energized and empowered employees are game changers when it comes to the hybrid office, the implementation of technology into the hybrid workforce is crucial, and Microsoft 365, Teams and Viva all work together to make the employee experience one like never before, creating a better way to work, for everyone.  

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