Microsoft’s Geeta Gurnani explains why enterprise collaboration tools are “must have” for a successful hybrid workplace — People Matters

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The workplace has evolved significantly over the past two years and created new aspirations and expectations for employees.

According to a recent study by Microsoft, 77% of employees said that it was important or very important for their employer to give meaning and meaning to work. At the same time, 69% of employees said it was important or very important to be rewarded for impact, instead of hours worked.

Today’s professionals not only want to feel more connected, more aligned with their company’s purpose and mission, but they want to grow, have an impact and make a difference.

Geeta Gurnani, Country Manager – Modern Work, Microsoft India, says that with these changing employee needs, it is imperative that organizations revisit their strategies and the tools they use to understand and respond to the new evolving work scenario.

“Hybrid working represents one of the biggest shifts in the way we work in our generation. It has redefined our concept of work, our relationships and our sense of connection in the workplace. One of the biggest challenges facing leaders today is to deliver a reimagined employee experience that brings a sense of community, connection and inspiration to the day-to-day work,” she says.

Gurnani says that was the idea behind Viva Engage – Microsoft Viva’s newest app, designed to help people and teams perform at their best, have a voice and feel included in the workplace.

Viva Engage is touted as offering leaders a new way to shape the culture of their organizations by opening communication and engagement opportunities for everyone. It brings people together from across the organization to connect with colleagues, find answers to questions, share their unique story, and find belonging at work.

Social builds on the existing capabilities of the Communities app for Teams and Microsoft 365. And as part of the Microsoft Viva suite, Viva Engage contributes to Viva Connections and Viva Topics and over time will expand the community, conversation and knowledge experiences in other areas of Viva.

Gurnani says that for leaders, Viva Engage is a place to share news and strategies, model culture, talk with employees and weigh in on conversations.

“Features like virtual events, pinned conversations, and announcements with notifications in Teams, Outlook, and Viva Connections make it easy to stay connected. For employees, Viva Engage allows people to build professional communities and networks, share their work and perspective, and find answers to their questions. Features like script and stories, best replies, @mentions, and topics help drive engagement and build communities and relationships among colleagues,” she says.

The growing need for collaboration platforms

Collaboration platforms are no longer “nice to have,” but a “must-have” for businesses to survive in the hybrid/remote workplace, notes Gurnani.

People with more flexible schedules need tools that support asynchronous collaboration.

“We need a new class of applications that focus on collaboration rather than individual productivity. With collaborative apps, end users can easily work with others to complete their projects anytime, from anywhere, and stay in the workflow without having to switch between multiple apps and data. Microsoft Teams was built with the very purpose of enabling seamless collaboration at its core,” she says.

How collaboration tools boost productivity and teamwork

As organizations around the world adapt to new ways of working, one of the biggest challenges they face is how to combine culture, technology and space to make hybrid working work.

“The tools we use every day must be flexible and inclusive to enable people with different needs to be productive from anywhere, anytime. We’re focused on designing technology experiences that help individuals and organizations prioritize wellness, improve accessibility, support flexible work styles, and provide more ways to have your voice heard. voice,” says Gurnani.

“As employee experience becomes even more important in a hybrid world, last year we launched Microsoft Viva, the first employee experience platform designed for the digital age,” she says, adding that since Upon launch, Viva now has over 10 million monthly active users. – with companies witnessing significant business impact by prioritizing employee well-being.

“We are also reimagining every aspect of the meeting experience in Teams, to make virtual interactions more natural, more engaging and more human. Wellness insights and integration with apps like Headspace bring meditation and mindfulness experiences right into Teams,” she adds.

Together mode is a meeting experience in Teams that helps participants feel closer even when apart by placing them in a shared background. “We’ve added a virtual commute feature to help employees structure a remote workday — and time slots for cognitive breaks, a productive start, and conscious disconnect,” Gurnani says.

Much of today’s digital overload is due to back-to-back meetings with no interruptions in between, making it harder to stay focused and engaged. Research shows that even a little break between meetings can help.

“To solve this problem, we created settings in Microsoft Outlook that facilitate and automate breaks between consecutive meetings. Individuals can set default scheduling settings that automatically shorten the meetings they schedule. Outlook also provides users with detailed insights and AI-powered suggestions to help them plan better for their wellbeing and work smarter,” says Gurnani.

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