The modern workforce looks very different today than it did even just a few years ago. In many instances, the way people work would be unrecognizable to companies from the last decade, let alone the last century. While tools like email, shared calendars and word processing documents remain broadly the same, the corporate workforce has moved on in the WAY they work. Organizations are now more than ever likely to be global affairs, with a diverse workforce spread across geographical areas. People are increasingly able to work from anywhere in the world, needing just a laptop and a decent internet connection, and as a result, the tools companies use to ensure productivity and collaborative working have changed too.
As a response to the different productivity challenges that modern workforces face, many companies have moved to the cloud, and to Office 365, to provide solutions. Microsoft’s flagship cloud enterprise solution is hugely popular, with around 20% of the global workforce using an Office 365 cloud service. Office 365 is designed to allow users to access the full suite of Office applications on any device, anywhere, at any time, and has huge practical applications when it comes to workforce productivity.
So what does productivity with Office 365 look like? How do you get the best out of tools that seamlessly talk to each other, and what are the best ways to use the tools on offer? Read on for a breakdown of Office 365, and what it means for productivity in the modern workforce.
Office 365 provides a huge variety of productivity tools, and allows users not just to connect with them remotely, but allows the tools themselves to interact seamlessly with each other. Users can take advantage of all the basic Office tools like word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and so on, as well as a bunch of more sophisticated functions. Software including transcription services, powerful collaboration and remote working functions with Teams, One Note for note taking on the go, and video streaming are essential tools for dispersed teams, and replicate and improve the functions of a traditional office.
Organizations can use Office 365 to coordinate communication across different physical locations, and enable remote working and a mobile sales force. It includes collaborative document editing, allowing multiple users to work on the same document at once, and brings teams together with powerful coworking functions.
Even those businesses who are already well aware of the power of Office 365 often underutilize the tools at their disposal. There are a bunch of applications which the average user does not take full advantage of, and that can truly supercharge cloud-based productivity.
Microsoft Flow enables anyone in the organization to become a developer, without the need for any coding experience. It allows users to automate workflows, allowing you to avoid repetitive, mindless tasks and speed up working processes. You can connect email and instant messaging, or sync up a Sharepoint form to automatically create new leads in Dynamics365. This connects up tasks within the business in a new way, and creates a far more powerful set of working practices.
Microsoft Forms works for up to 5,000 users, and allows you to create forms, surveys, questionnaires and so on to carry out internal research, brainstorm strategy or just find out what your team wants on their pizza for lunch on Friday.
MyAnalytics directly helps individuals become more productive by giving them data, stats and analytics on how they spend their time at work and what they spend most of their time doing. MyAnalytics pulls in data from across the Microsoft Office suite of apps, and allows you to see everything from how much time you spend emailing, who you collaborate with the most, and how often you attend meetings throughout the week. With this information you can analyze your time and ensure you are spending it on the right things.
Microsoft Power Apps
Power Apps goes one step further than Microsoft Flow, giving your team the ability to create their own apps (within predefined Microsoft templates). This unleashes the potential of your workforce, allowing your staff to find specific, bespoke solutions to problems and issues, and connect their apps to things like your CRM and Sharepoint. Power Apps means that even if Office 365 doesn’t have the perfect solution to a business process that isn’t quite working for you, it creates the ability to build your own.
Perhaps the most important element of Office 365 when it comes to productivity is the way it revolutionizes remote and onsite collaboration, and this is largely down to Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams creates a hub for collaborative teamwork, essentially recreating the physical workspace in the cloud. It allows chats, scheduled online meetings, a shared space to keep documents and work collaboratively, and planners and calendars. It allows external involvement, and connects with third-party tools like Jira and GitHub. It essentially provides a space where your team can come together, share data and access every relevant document and piece of information, and work together on whatever project they need to.
Microsoft Office 365 creates the environment and provides the tools necessary to allow each and every individual in an organization to collaborate and communicate as effectively and efficiently as possible. By changing the way a team works, and by enabling them and giving them the most powerful tools possible, it creates a working atmosphere where productivity is at its peak.