Many companies today have adopted hybrid work setups, where employees have the option to work remotely or come to the office depending on their personal preferences or the nature of their work. This arrangement provides employees with the freedom to work in a way that best suits them while also allowing for in-person collaboration and face-to-face interactions when needed.
However, the shift to hybrid work also comes with its own set of challenges. For instance, it can be hard to know when exactly employees are in the office or working remotely. Additionally, communication and collaboration can become more complicated when employees are working from different locations.
To address these challenges, Microsoft has developed a new connected workplace platform called Microsoft Places.
What is Microsoft Places?
Microsoft Places is designed to help businesses and employees easily navigate hybrid work arrangements with its many features:
- Hybrid scheduling – allows employees to view the week ahead and see when their colleagues will be in the office so they can adjust their schedule accordingly
- Hot desk booking – enables employees to see where colleagues are sitting and choose their desks
- Intelligent booking – helps employees book rooms within the office (e.g., huddle rooms and collaboration rooms) that have the right equipment for the meeting’s purpose and type of participants (e.g., a mix of in-person and remote participants)
- Travel time insights – provides employees with recommendations for the shortest commute times
- Wayfinding – shows employees a map of the office on their mobile devices
- Serendipitous meet-ups – facilitates impromptu meet-ups to allow colleagues to bond with one another
- Space insights – provides business leaders with data on space utilization, room occupancy trends, and energy-saving opportunities
Microsoft Places easily integrates with Microsoft 365 solutions, such as Outlook, Teams, and Viva, and leverages the rich set of data available on the Microsoft 365 platform. This makes Microsoft Places a powerful tool for optimizing workplace management and enhancing productivity.
Read also: How to simplify task management with Microsoft 365
Why should small businesses use Microsoft Places?
Microsoft Places offers plenty of benefits to small businesses that have hybrid work setups:
Better workforce planning and management
With Microsoft Places’ hybrid scheduling feature, team leaders can easily schedule face-to-face meetings and collaborative work when most team members are in the office. Since the app also provides insights into travel time, team leaders can determine the best times for such activities.
Enhanced employee collaboration and productivity
Microsoft Places can significantly reduce the time and effort spent on coordination by enabling employees to list their locations and work schedules. What’s more, the platform's travel time insights feature lets employees plan their commute based on the day's traffic situation. By utilizing these features, small businesses can streamline collaboration and increase employee productivity.
Seamless navigation within the office
Microsoft Places’ wayfinding feature provides new hires and other employees clear directions and visual cues to the different areas of the office. This can help them avoid getting lost and save time, which is especially helpful when they have a busy schedule.
Efficient use of office space
By understanding how the different rooms in their office are being used, businesses can make informed decisions about office layouts and configurations. This can lead to more efficient use of office space, potentially reducing real estate costs while also creating a more conducive working environment for employees.
Your company can look forward to experiencing the benefits of Microsoft Places sometime this year. However, adopting new IT solutions may be challenging if you lack the necessary technical expertise to set up and manage these. Fortunately, you can turn to Quicktech for help.
We are a Vancouver-based managed IT services provider that holds multiple Microsoft certifications, such as Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator, Microsoft Certified Professional, and Microsoft Partner Silver Small and Midmarket Cloud Solutions. As such, we can effectively help you maximize the benefits of Microsoft Places and other Microsoft solutions. Book a FREE consultation with us today.