“Hybrid office” is the buzzword you’ll keep hearing in business discussions. It’s the mix of having employees both working at the office and working from home. This has become more than a buzzword and is now the reality for many companies. The global pandemic brought on this hybrid office transition. It forced companies to operate with teams that could no longer safely come to the office. During this time, employers and employees experienced the benefits of hybrid work firsthand.

These benefits of remote teams included cost savings for both workers and employees. It also allowed the company to operate with more flexibility. Improved worker morale was another advantage. One fact surprised many employers that feared remote work would tank productivity. It actually increased in many circumstanes.

63% high-growth companies use a “productivity anywhere” hybrid work approach.

In order for hybrid teams to be productive they need to stay connected. No matter where they work, the right technology tools should enable them. One of the leads in this space has been Microsoft. The company plans to add several exciting updates. These will provide more tools for companies to enable their hybrid teams. 

Here are some of the ways you can use Microsoft 365 to optimize a productive hybrid office.

1) Microsoft Teams & Expanded Features

Microsoft Teams is much more than a team messaging app. The application combines the best features of virtual video meetings and messaging channels. It brings them together into a platform designed to be a secure online work hub. MS Teams has come a long way in the last five years. And the company continues to add more features to enable hybrid offices. Some of the feature updates include:

  • The ability to do a webinar registration
  • Presenter modes that provide a more professional virtual presence
  • Increased security through features like smart links and smart attachments
  • A full business VoIP phone system add-on
  • The addition of a “metaverse” component called Mesh for teams

Mesh for Microsoft Teams

2) New Meeting Options for RSVP in Outlook

One of the challenges, when everyone isn’t working in the same place, is how to know when to “clock in” and “clock out.” As well as how to let colleagues know whether you are working at home next week or the office. To help hybrid teams better coordinate, Outlook will allow users to RSVP to meetings. This can let team members know whether they are attending virtually or in person.

3) Better Framing for More Engaging Meetings

One thing that can distract form the purpose of a meeting is someone’s background at home. Positioning the camera can also be problematic. One person might have their face taking up 80% of the video screen. Another may only take up to 20% because they are sitting farther away from their PC’s camera. A Surface Hub 2S Smart Camera will allow for better face framing. This will affect when people are meeting virtually or in Microsoft Teams. Features include adjusting the room view so people’s faces will be clearer. As well has having more consistent sizing. The video display will automatically adjust as people join or leave a physical room.

4) Get Better Control of Your Video Using PowerPoint to Present

People often share a screen in a video call and present a PowerPoint presentation. It can be difficult to keep everyone as engaged as when you’re presenting in person. For example, in person, you can maintain eye contact. People can clearly see your facial expressions as you emphasize various things. That’s not always the case when presenting virtually. The app may push your video feed into a tiny box.

There’s a feature for Teams called Cameo. It will allow you to seamlessly integrate PowerPoint with MS Teams. You can decide exactly how you want your video feed to appear in relation to your presentation. Another addition is Recording Studio. This feature for PowerPoint allows you to record professional-looking on-demand videos. You can do it right inside the app.

Cameo in PowerPoint & MS Teams

5) Get Help with Your Presentation Skills

Microsoft has poured a lot of AI capabilities into Microsoft 365 over the last several years. One that will soon help you deliver better virtual presentation is Speaker Coach.  

This is a private and personalized coach. It can help you hone your presentation skills. This improves your switch to differences between presenting online versus in person. Some of the feedback it can provide include:

  • Use of repetitive language
  • Use of filler words (Ummm)
  • Speaking pace
  • Pausing for input
  • Intonation
  • Speaker overlaps
  • And more

Ask Us About Improving Your Hybrid Office Capabilities with Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 has a ton of helpful features. But it does help to have an expert guide to help you navigate these capabilities. Contact us today to set up a meeting about how Microsoft 365 can help your business grow.