How we work today (and how we can do it better)

The way we work has changed permanently. The shift to remote working during the pandemic unearthed new benefits for employers and employees. Now, hybrid is mainstream and workflows have transformed, but how prepared are you to manage it all?

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Companies have enabled more flexible work for employees, leveraging cloud collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams to support new working methods.

But there’s a lot to manage. The shift was imposed on companies, with instant pressure to transform digital workflows. Companies had to enable workers with remote working tools to maintain productivity while building collaboration, communication and teamwork. And there was no real roadmap for it.

Companies deployed cloud collaboration apps to workers often with no remote work experience. Admin, accounting and HR staff were suddenly expected to work remotely and remain productive. And also be collaborative, not just using Microsoft Teams and its messaging and voice and video calls, but with other apps like simultaneous commenting and editing on cloud-shared documents.

Hybrid working is now mainstream. 83% of workers say hybrid working gives a better, more desirable work/life balance, and 60% of enterprises now have a remote work convention, versus 7% in 2017. There’s also been overall acceleration of workplace collaboration tools, with over a million companies using Microsoft Teams and 91% of Fortune 100 companies using it to collaborate and communicate.

A third trend is enterprises focusing on digital workplace outcomes, with Gartner citing goals like retaining talented employees and achieving environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets.

New ways of working, new workflows to manage

Managing dispersed workforces requires replacing inefficient manual processes with organization-wide, user-centric digital workflows. Without digital workflows, your employee experiences will be fragmented, confused and counterproductive. Siloed, inefficient processes don’t enable a well-functioning dispersed workforce. This all relates to employee experience (EX), which is vital to driving productivity, efficiency and job satisfaction from a newly hybrid workforce.

One barrier to efficient digital workflows is insufficient focus on onboarding, adoption and training. Expecting workers to quickly adapt to digital workflows because they’re used to using social media doesn’t work. Many companies don’t get the full value they could, or should, from Microsoft Teams. This, in turn, means missing out on ROI and available productivity gains.

EX is a transformative approach

By focusing on EX, you can transform ways of working and embrace, then maximize, new digital workflows. Orange believes EX enables “positive productivity,” an approach where EX is enhanced by digital tools that empower workers with the desire and the means to be more effective. A user-centric approach is the path to managing these changing workflows successfully while also making workers happier and more productive.

There are several challenges to enabling positive productivity. First, implementing an employee-centric digital workplace that considers workers’ needs. World-class EX is second, driving greater employee engagement. A high-performance hybrid work environment is third, adapting to new digital workflows and giving workers the tools to collaborate and communicate effectively.

How quickly you transform the digital workplace is another factor. So is shifting the role of your IT teams, so they spend less time on digital workplace management and more on bringing value to the business. There’s also the need to become a responsible company and work toward ESG goals – 86% of employees want to work for companies that share their moral and ethical values, making ESG important to EX. These are the building blocks of a positive-productivity philosophy.

More than “just” collaboration to EX and hybrid

Microsoft Teams is a powerful cloud collaboration tool that enables hybrid workforces with an EX that makes them more productive. Adoption and support are key parts of successful EX, since having numerous cloud collaboration tools counts for nothing if employees don’t know how to use them. There’s also the IT skills and expertise needed to implement and assist with all of this, along with the cybersecurity that needs to be built in by design. It all adds up to an effective digital workplace that enables enhanced EX and positive productivity.

The right partner can empower you

Orange Business understands what you need to enable an effective digital workplace with EX at the center of it. And working with the right partner who can enable your business with a forward-thinking, future-proofed digital workplace is the first step on the journey to enhanced EX and successfully navigating the new workflows inherent to hybrid. Our expertise enables our customers and partners with solutions like Microsoft 365 that enhance hybrid work environments, and our approach includes helping you give your employees more control over their own tools and EX using Power Platform and Copilot, whether or not they master low code/no code approaches.

Positive productivity is the end goal, where employees have an EX built on digital tools that make them happier at work and more effective as a result. It’s a user-centric approach that we are confident can help take your business forward with your employees being as productive as possible.

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Steve Harris

I’ve been writing about technology for around 15 years and today focus mainly on all things telecoms - next generation networks, mobile, cloud computing and plenty more. For Futurity Media I am based in the Asia-Pacific region and keep a close eye on all things tech happening in that exciting part of the world.