As vaccinations rate rose in much of the country during late spring and early summer, many schools, businesses, and organizations began creating “back to the office” plans for the millions of workers who have been fortunate to work from home for much of the pandemic.
No matter the size or industry of the organization, the transition back from “the home digital workspaces” back to “the physical workplaces” for those former remote workers will certainly be fraught with questions and challenges.
“Back to the Office” is more than just a keyword phrase.
Business leaders are discovering that the words “back to the office” can mean inspire reactions ranging from “yes, please!” to “not any time soon.” Navigating these tricky waters requires good communication, collaboration, and tools.
Here’s how we’ve been using utilizing Powell Software’s two offerings, Powell Intranet and Powell Teams, to help businesses plan and execute their back-to-the-office transitions:
Communication – As they did with the global lockdown, employees need the latest information for the “big return” – particularly win increased infection rates and quickly shifting regulations.
Providing clear, consistent communication is no longer a “nice to have” but mission-critical. To retain the best talent, there is an increased emphasis on quality Employee Experience — and keeping your employees informed and supported is vital.
Powell Intranet provides internal communications and human resource teams multiple avenues to present the information employees need — when they need it:
- News – Global, departmental, and location-specific news is easy to create and display and can even be targeted to groups based on SharePoint User Profile attributes.
- FAQs – An easy, templated setup can be applied at the global level or department by department to answer those questions that come up time and time again.
- Video – Videos can be tremendously useful in delivering key messages or instructions. Powell can handle videos from Microsoft Stream but also YouTube, Vimeo, and others.
- Key Team Members – Knowing who to call may be one of the most used functions of an intranet. Quickly identifying the person with specialized expertise or a needed resource without physically walking to someone’s office can save significant time.
Collaboration – Whether you are in the same office or across the country, getting work done is priority number one. Microsoft Teams is the place where 145 million of us are collaborating every day. If we can use Teams efficiently to enable and empower employees, it will not matter if they are in an office or across the country.
These are some of the tools we use in Teams to facilitate good collaboration — whether for the transition back to the office or just to get work done.
Team Templates – Powell’s templated approach to standing up teams offers three valuable benefits:
- Templates reduce (or eliminate) the need for IT to be involved in the creation of every team.
- Templates preserve and strengthen good governance and intelligent information architecture.
- Templates liberate IT staff to focus on keeping the digital strategy moving or adapt to the most recent challenge.
Smart Reports –Leaders can reduce clutter and keep their Microsoft Teams running smoothly and efficiently by quickly identifying teams with missing or outdated information.
Lists –We utilize Microsoft Lists in nearly every project team we create. As we’ve written elsewhere, Lists can be adapted and used for many aspects of planning and execution.
Flex Desk – At the same time many businesses are recalling employees back to the office, Microsoft found that 66% of businesses are considering shrinking their footprint. This means more people in less space.
FlexDesk allows administrators to upload a map and allow employees to reserve desks, tables, conference rooms, equipment, parking spaces – you name it. This means IT and Operations don’t need to spend their time managing reservations or booking out equipment.
Planning for the brave new back-to-the-office frontier
Eighteen months ago, we may not have classified showing up for work in an office as an act of bravery. And while many are looking forward to the return, there are many decisions to be made to do it safely and sanely. Powell Software’s tools can help everyone be better informed and more productive.
And that inspires confidence for the Big Return.
Ready to #UseTeamsBetter? We’re ready to help.
If you think you can get more adoption, utility, and productivity our of Microsoft Teams, you’re right. Our Digital Workplace strategists can help you shape a Teams strategy that tackles the big issues facing organizations that ramped up Teams rapidly since the pandemic began. Your people could be using Teams better in as little as 2 weeks. Learn more.
Need help with your back-to-the-office strategy? Contact our Digital Workplace team here or click the orange chat button at the bottom right.