Microsoft had plans to have its employees return to offices in the United States starting in October. However, the company indefinitely suspended the return to face-to-face work due to the risk caused by the dissemination of the delta variant of the coronavirus.
The announcement was made on the blog of Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for modern work. “It’s a glaring reminder that this is the new normal,” the executive wrote. “In uncharted territory, we need to be able to change and adjust as data and research provide new insights to guide our path,” said Spataro.
When Microsoft has new face-to-face return plans, employees will be notified 30 days in advance so they can transition smoothly. According to a report by The New York Times, the company will require its employees, suppliers and guests to prove vaccination before entering its offices.
Microsoft recently released the “Job Trends Index” survey to learn how its employees are measuring work during the pandemic. The report concluded that the reported productivity levels are “consistent” and that 90% of the employees surveyed feel included in the corporate environment, despite the home office.
However, transitioning to hybrid work has the challenge of balancing the flexibility of working anywhere with the need for personal connection among your team. Microsoft has found that there is a gap between the expectations of managers and subordinates. To overcome the difficulty, the company says that one-on-one conversations can help build trust and give more security to a flexible work schedule.
Innovations in Microsoft Teams
The company has announced new functions in Teams Rooms, which will be able to integrate artificial intelligence into the cameras, to provide more dynamic meetings, by detecting and magnifying the image of who is speaking in the room, allowing room participants to be placed on their own video panel and automatic identification of people by facial recognition.
Microsoft will also implement an integration of the Teams camera feed with a PowerPoint presentation, a cameo function, and a new Outlook RSVP feature so users can share the times they are available to work.