As COVID-19 swept through the world in 2020, it brought with it a new, and annoying, series of phrases. “New normal” was one of them. “Unprecedented times” was another. These reflected the anxiety of the times and have, as people mentally adjusted, become “word junk”.
In 2022, the conversation has become forward-looking. We talk of “life after COVID”, “post-pandemic”, and – for anyone who works in an office – “the future of hybrid work”. But what is the future of the hybrid model?
Hybrid teams need hybrid workplace technology, and luckily there’s a range of options for organizations to choose from. Here, we look at two key collaborative tools, Microsoft Teams and Dynamics 365, and unpick how they can help your hybrid teams collaborate most effectively.
Collaboration tools for a better connection
In 2022, hybrid work will continue to be mainstream, but a report by Gartner found that 71% of HR leaders are more concerned about employee collaboration this year than they were before the pandemic.
The collaborative tools industry has boomed during the pandemic, and continues to grow, with more teams relying on remote working technology than ever before. Every industry is navigating the new world of hybrid work, building a model that enables more flexibility for its employees. But it’s important that flexibility doesn’t turn into disjointed work efforts. It’s important to ask the question: how do we stay connected when we all work apart?
Connecting hybrid teams with Teams
Microsoft Teams has seen a huge uptake in users during the pandemic. In its FY22 Q2 results, Microsoft Teams reported 270 million users. The collaborative tool has helped employees connect through chat, video, and synced calendars, enabling teams to collaborate faster and more effectively. For a distributed workforce, Teams is the ideal solution for better collaboration. It helps hybrid teams to:
Store information in one place
With Teams, documents can be shared between colleagues and accessed easily when needed. Many work teams now use cloud document storage platforms, but Teams enables quicker sharing and access in a hybrid workspace.
It is more likely an employee will pull a document from a Teams chat, in which it has been shared, than navigate through a series of folders.
Ask a quick question
When employees are not in the office, they can’t lean over the desk to ask a question. It’s one of the biggest losses of in-office work, and a barrier to information sharing.
With Teams, however, the quick sharing of information can be regained, with chat on hand for employees to type out their queries. The call and video functions also allow hybrid teams to quickly jump on a call, if an in-person discussion is required.
Join meetings easily
Early video conference technology was slightly more complicated. Before the pandemic, conference calls required passwords to join and involved a multiple-step entry process. With Teams, users can jump on and off a call easily, simply clicking “join” and “leave”.
This makes collaboration in a hybrid workspace easier and facilitates shorter meetings (which tend to be more productive).
Create fewer email threads
If you’ve ever been part of an email thread, you’ll know the format is difficult to follow. Opening each of the emails is a long process and makes unearthing information hard. On top of that, it’s not always easy to see who is cc’d.
With email threads, colleagues often get left out, or the wrong ones included. Here, Teams comes to the rescue. Teams can be created for the different threads of conversation and the more open format allows users to dig up information more easily.
Collaborate on the go
A benefit of remote work has been the freedom it provides. Employees are able to work anytime, anywhere – even if they’re not sat at their desks. Teams is the ideal remote working technology in that it is mobile-first. Users can make a call, schedule a meeting, or reply to a chat, all while on the go.
A dynamic workforce with Dynamics 365
Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based business application platform, based on Microsoft Azure. It combines all essential sales, marketing, and customer services applications in a single platform. For users, this means better collaboration across departments, greater productivity, and transparency of data. For businesses, it leads to more closed deals, improved customer service, and better business decisions across departments (generated by access to cross-department insights).
For employees in a hybrid workspace, this is especially important. Data and business processes are no longer siloed which gives hybrid teams the insights to collaborate and make better decisions. These will include:
- More targeted selling experiences. Dynamics 365 gives employees across departments a clear picture of a prospect’s journey, as well as a wealth of insightful customer data. This allows teams to create more personalized and targeted selling experiences.
- Enhanced customer service. Dynamics 365 collects a vast amount of data from each customer. It can identify customer preferences and buying patterns, which allows customer services teams to connect easily with their customers and make more personalized recommendations.
- Improved marketing ROI. With Dynamics 365, marketing execs can leverage customer data to find, nurture, and convert leads. Access to customer information allows teams to determine which customer messages to send, when to send them, and on what channel.
Want to improve your hybrid workplace technology? ZAACT Consulting advises businesses on how to connect hybrid teams and collaborate faster. Get in touch with our team today.