Is Your IT Optimized to Meet the Needs of a Growing Hybrid Workforce?

Cloud & MSP Solutions

The Microsoft Modern Work Experience offers integrated content and collaboration tools that keep your employees connected.

The nature of how we do our jobs changed abruptly two years ago. To stay connected, organizations quickly adopted video platforms, chat applications, and virtual desktops to bridge the communication gap. Most didn’t have time to optimize their toolsets, nor could they have forecasted how the shift to hybrid work would impact their employees and IT ecosystems. Today, leaders understand just how important it is to keep team members informed, engaged, and empowered—no matter where they work. According to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index 2022 report, Great Expectations: Making Hybrid Work Work:

  • 43% of remote employees and 44% of hybrid employees said they do not feel included in meetings.
  • Employees who reported strong relationships with their immediate teams reported better wellbeing (76%) and higher productivity (50%) than those who felt disengaged.
  • Well-connected employees (61%) said they were less likely to change jobs in the year ahead.
  • Leaders (43%) also reported that relationship-building was their greatest challenge in hybrid and remote work—but it’s one worth prioritizing.

An asynchronous, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) culture must address today’s communication challenges, while keeping the employee experience and security in mind. By adopting a unified toolset, businesses can better support their employees while keeping identities, devices, applications, and data secure. With tools that work well together, end users can more efficiently share and update files, access learning materials, and connect with one another within one system. Applications that build a sense of community and keep employees informed can also improve workplace engagement and employee retention. At the same time, IT leadership can more easily gather usage reports, manage mass updates, and address security concerns.

Microsoft can help you make the right connections.

Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop forms the backbone of the Microsoft Modern Workplace Experience. Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) enables your employees to access their apps safely—from any device, anywhere. VDI is quickly becoming the hybrid gold standard due to its ability to scale on demand. Because it relies on less hardware and fewer support staff, it’s cost effective. VDI also offers enhanced security and a simpler centrally managed environment. Best of all, the Microsoft Azure VDI environment allows your employees to easily access the tools they need to work together productively.

Research shows that meetings still take up a lot of time in a hybrid work setting. The average Microsoft Teams user spends 252% more time in virtual meetings and sends 32% more chats each week than they did in 2020, the Microsoft Work Trend Index report reveals. However, the Microsoft Teams application isn’t just a standalone virtual chat solution. It offers a single pane of glass into other Microsoft tools that workers use every day to get their jobs done, including:

  • SharePoint – used for secure document sharing and management and process flows, it’s also a place where you can securely share information on an intranet or extranet site.
  • OneDrive – used to store personal files and make updates before you share documents to a larger team.
  • Yammer – serves as a closed social networking platform in which coworkers and departments can share news. Employees can develop their own newsfeeds, follow topics, and communicate via an instant messaging feature.

Because these tools seamlessly integrate with Microsoft Teams, employees can quickly shift gears and access documents, presentations, and other data within their virtual Teams meetings. For example, employees can update project schedules, share financials from a spreadsheet, or break into smaller groups without leaving the app. Teams even allows you to optimize your meeting view to give employees joining from a boardroom—or from home—the best view of your presentation.

Another app, Microsoft Viva, pulls Teams and other Microsoft tools together. Built to serve as your employee experience platform, it includes customized microlearning modules, AI-driven, topic-based content, and personalized news on one dashboard.

  • Deliver your own training materials and/or integrate LinkedIn learning and other educational content into Viva Learning.
  • Automatically organize content and expertise across teams by topic with Viva Topics.
  • Gather data on work habits and collaboration with Viva Insights. For example, Viva allows managers to see if workers (in aggregate) are putting in too many hours or not getting enough focus time or 1-on-1 time with their managers.

Stay in tune with what’s happening at your endpoints.

In a “bring-your-own-device” environment, you need extra protection at your endpoints. You can keep your employee devices secured with Microsoft Intune, a cloud-based service that manages both devices and applications. Intune integrates with Azure Active Directory to keep out intruders and control what employees can access—and when they can access it. It also lets you manage company-owned devices—including what settings, features, and security protocols they follow. Users can enroll their devices in your BYOD program to get access to company resources, such as Microsoft Teams and other apps.

At the app level, Intune can provision apps to individual groups and/or devices. It can also ensure that apps are running and updating correctly on mobile devices. It can help control what data is shared outside of the organization—further enhancing privacy and security.

Your administrators benefit from Intune too. They get insights into mobile device usage, resource usage, and device compliance. Intune makes it easier for them to push out certificates for VPN or WiFi access. Most important, Intune lets your IT team safely remove data from an employee device that gets lost, stolen, or doesn’t work anymore.

Design the best employee experience with EchoStor.

Building the right hybrid communication solution can save your organization time and money and promote a more positive employee experience. By working with EchoStor, a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, you can rely on our expertise to help you design the right solution for your organization. Our experts listen to your needs and can help you customize the right toolset for your mobile workforce. We also keep up with the latest Microsoft 365 feature and functionality updates to help you plan for what’s ahead.

Are you ready to enhance your hybrid work experience with Microsoft? Contact EchoStor to help you with your communications and endpoint needs.


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Chuck Salvo

Cloud Architect

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