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Hybrid workplaces can experience some challenges with dispersed teams, but the collaboration tools available in Microsoft 365 can help alleviate barriers to remote work, leading to more productive and satisfied employees.

Hybrid work environments have created opportunities to rethink traditional modes of working, including how we use email and content creation tools for documents, spreadsheets and presentations. We’ve adapted to these new ways of working, within-person collaboration now being highly digitized. Microsoft 365 has evolved to meet the needs of collaborators worldwide in many important ways. We’ve highlighted five of the most compelling recent updates below.

01./ Making work accessible for everyone

Making content accessible enables employees to more easily collaborate and contribute to projects across your organization. Microsoft Accessibility Reminder helps drive awareness about the importance of accessible Office documents with tips and tricks to fix accessibility issues. It’s the perfect way to notify fellow collaborators that you or someone else in the group needs the document to be accessible. The Accessibility Reminder app is available in Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, and PowerPoint for desktop and web.

Microsoft has also rolled out the ability for users to provide alternative text (alt text) for images they share in Microsoft Teams Chat on Windows. Additionally, Excel now provides screen reader users with automatic alt text for charts and Pivot tables, generated on-demand at the point the screen reader reaches the object to ensure that it’s based on the most recent data.

Microsoft Teams has live captions to display a meeting transcript in real-time, helping users to follow the thread of conversation easily and improve the accessibility of the platform. However, if users do not speak a common language, communication can be difficult. Microsoft Translator allows users communicate, in-person or virtually, in their preferred languages. Pairing Teams with Microsoft Translator enables users to communicate, caption what they are saying, and have it translated.

Additionally, users can now quickly unmute using keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl + Space on Windows and Option + Space on macOS) within Teams meetings. A shortcut that is simpler for everyone, but especially helpful for participants who have trouble using a traditional mouse and cursor.

02./ Microsoft Whiteboard

Meetings often serve as collaboration spaces to ideate and solve problems as a team. Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams has evolved to become a valuable visual collaboration workspace where groups come together for effective hybrid brainstorming and learning. It offers capabilities like collaboration cursors, more than 50 new templates, reactions, shortcuts for ink and the ability to open existing boards and collaborate with external colleagues in Teams meetings.

03./ Connecting with co-workers

A common challenge of remote and hybrid work is maintaining the relationships that enable people and organizations to thrive. While creating friendships and relationships can be challenging in hybrid work environments, Microsoft has tools that help you express yourself and have fun while doing it. Now you can bring even more of your personality to the conversation with the new Fluent emojis in Teams. With vibrant and fun styling, over 1800 three-dimensional emojis can infuse expression and playfulness into messages. Select a category and use the skin tone selector to pick an emoji that better represents you.

Yammer is a secure and private enterprise social network. While Teams is the perfect option for groups working together to deliver specific projects or services, Yammer works best for broader groups of people and open discussion. Organizational or department leaders can use Yammer to share company news. Yammer can also be used to bring people together and form communities with a common objective or interest. Yammer is also great for bringing together inclusive, diverse communities to help improve employee engagement and connectedness.

04./ Microsoft Viva

We know that creating a great employee experience isn’t just about providing great technology, it’s also about cultivating a culture where every individual can learn and share best practices that help bring balance to work and life, be more productive and foster an engaged and productive workforce. Employees want access to timely, relevant information and guidance in the flow of their work where they have an opportunity to put these best practices into action using Microsoft Viva.

Viva Goals aligns teams to your organization’s strategic priorities and unites them around the mission and purpose. It helps provide clarity on employees’ work and how that work makes an impact on the business’s most important priorities. With that alignment in place, teams then can focus on doing the work, making sound decisions, and driving the desired results for the business.

Beyond inspiring ideas and providing employees with ways to make the most of their workday, managers and leaders can use these insights and real-world examples along with recommendations from Viva Insights to act and then use advanced insights to measure the impact of their actions.

05./ Microsoft Office

After two years of hybrid and remote work, the office still matters for employees and managers. However, business leaders will need to rethink both physical spaces and cultural norms to make office time worth the commute. This means being intentional about the who, why, and where of in-person gatherings and ensuring physical spaces are designed to help hybrid teams feel connected and engaged.

In a Microsoft survey, 38 percent of hybrid employees say their biggest challenge is knowing when and why to come into the office, while only 28 percent of companies have established team agreements about who will be working from where. To help coordinate your office time with your team, Microsoft has updated Outlook to allow you to RSVP to meetings and note whether you plan to join in person or virtually.

If you credit union doesn’t have Microsoft 365, we’d love to chat about how we can help you make the switch. Contact us or talk to your Celero Account Executive to learn more. Stay tuned for updates on the newest enhancements from Microsoft that make hybrid work easier.

About Celero
Celero is a leading provider of digital technology and integration solutions to credit unions and financial institutions across Canada. Clients trust Celero’s proven track record delivering innovative banking technologies, digital and payment solutions, cloud computing, outsourcing, IT and advisory services.

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