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How technology can support hybrid work

The move to hybrid work promises a myriad of benefits including increased collaboration, productivity and a better work-life balance.

For this reason, it is no surprise that 91% of the global workforce expect to be working in some form of hybrid arrangement over the coming months. With this being said, the hybrid work model will likely take some time to refine as there are many components that must work together to support changing the working style.

One of the components that will be integral in the long term success of a hybrid model of working is technology.

In the past 12 months, most large technology companies have shifted their focus to adapting and creating technology that will suit company-wide hybrid working and provide a better experience for users, regardless of where they are located.

Video Conferencing with Microsoft Teams

Meetings with both physical and remote attendees are more complex than traditional meetings or virtual meetings. The key challenge is how to ensure that all attendees have the same experience, regardless of where they are located.

Microsoft Teams aims to address these challenges with additional features such as the ‘Front Row’ along with changes to the user interface to increase productivity and collaboration in hybrid or remote meetings.

Email Protection

When employees moved from working in an office space to working from home there was a massive rise in phishing emails and phishing related cyberattacks. This trend will likely continue with the advent of hybrid work, with phishing being used as an attack vector to carry out ransomware attacks.

User education and awareness is a key factor in avoiding a phishing attack, but it shouldn’t be the only line of defence. As businesses move to hybrid work, they should consider implementing a software defence to stop phishing attacks before they even enter an employee’s inbox.

Mimecast uses AI to detect and quarantine any potential phishing attacks, keeping organisations safe from data breaches and ransomware attacks.

Work From Anywhere with Virtual Desktops

Businesses that are trying to reduce hardware costs, or create a more flexible work arrangement for employees, may have considered a Bring-Your-Own-PC (BYOPC) programme. A BYOPC programme seems ideal for hybrid working, however, it poses a significant security risk as employees’ laptops may be infected with malware, or may not have the same security policies as required by the business.

This problem can be solved with virtual desktops through Azure Virtual Desktop and cloud PCs through Windows 365. These solutions allow users to connect to virtual desktops running on the Azure cloud.

This gives the full Windows experience on any device, from any location with the security policies set up by the administrator.

Employee Experience Platforms

The advent of hybrid or remote workers can make it difficult for employees to stay connected with the wider business if not all employees work in an office-based role on the same days.

Similarly, many fully remote employees find it difficult to balance productivity and wellbeing whilst working from home. In order to solve these challenges, Microsoft has released Viva. Viva is an employee experience platform designed to foster an organisational culture where people and teams are empowered to be their best from anywhere, including their home offices.

This solution contains modules to help employees stay connected to the wider business, increase productivity, organises content across the business and provide learning and development opportunities. The key to effective hybrid working is to focus on the employee experience, and Viva excels at this.

Phone Call with Teams

For businesses that rely on telephone systems for day-to-day business, a traditional phone system may not be suitable for hybrid working. Transferring calls between an office and an employee’s home is difficult and can lead to a poor experience for customers.

A cloud-based phone solution, such as Microsoft Teams Phone, comes with advanced features including call transfer, multilevel audio attendants, and call queues, it allows employees to both communicate externally and collaborate internally, making and receiving calls directly from Teams on any device, anywhere, and at any time.

By moving your phone system to the cloud, you enhance your communications with reliable, scalable, and feature-rich Hosted VoIP. Work is no longer confined to a location so you can empower your employees to work productively anywhere. You can also digitally transform your customer experience and never miss another call.

Microsoft Teams Phone makes it easy to turn Microsoft Teams into a powerful and flexible telephony system. Because the Microsoft Phone System is a part of Teams, you can turn any PC, Mac, or mobile device into a phone.

Microsoft Teams Phone delivers on the promise of reliable PSTN service through proactive network monitoring, automated system optimization, and fault-tolerant redundancy, supported by Microsoft infrastructure. The elements play a pivotal role and reflect Microsoft’s commitment to the continuity of business operations.

The move to hybrid marks a new era in the way the world views work. An effective hybrid work scheme can allow employees can be more productive, have a better work-life balance and employers can potentially reduce overhead costs to increase profitability. For these benefits to be realised, technology will have to play a large part in supporting hybrid and remote working. To find out more about how to introduce these technologies to your business, get in touch today.

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