About two-thirds of Americans work remotely at least some of the time, with about 44% of workers working from home five or more days per week. These hybrid work arrangements make it possible for businesses to reduce overhead, increase productivity and expand their labor pool. However, organizing and managing a mix of virtual and in-person employees can be a challenge. Microsoft is attempting to meet that challenge by releasing Microsoft Places.
What Is Microsoft Places?
Places is a connected workplace platform with a release date sometime in 2023 that will feature tools to help businesses manage hybrid workspaces. The platform provides solutions to modernize offices, coordinate workspaces, and optimize the workplace.
Workplace Coordination Tools
The hybrid scheduling feature of the software utilizes data signals from Microsoft Teams and Outlook to provide employees and supervisors with information about when collaborators and co-workers intend to be in the office. This allows employees to adjust their schedules to be in the office when it is most advantageous to them.
The intelligent booking tool helps managers and team leaders determine which available spaces have the technology they need to accommodate meetings with in-person and remote participants. Microsoft Places can also prompt those who intend to attend the meeting in person when they need to leave, based on the day's traffic, to arrive at their scheduled meetings on time.
Office Modernization Tools
The wayfinding tool allows employees to follow a map on their mobile device to find conference rooms, eliminating wasted time and frustration trying to follow building signs. The hot desk booking tool shows employees where their nearest co-workers are sitting so that they can choose which desk to use. Employees can also use the serendipitous meet-ups tool to create impromptu meet-ups with other employees who are in the office at the same time.
Space Optimization Tools
Microsoft Places provides space insights, such as energy-saving opportunities, utilization data, and occupancy trends. This data helps managers better utilize office space and make dynamic space adjustments based on expected occupancy. For example, your company could save money by closing floors on days when fewer employees expect to be in the office.
Microsoft is partnering with industry leaders in the experience, infrastructure, platform, environment, and planning sectors to ensure that businesses will be able to access the services and tools they currently use within the Places platform. Some of the companies Microsoft is partnering with include:
- HID Global
According to Microsoft, Places will be able to access data and signals from partner applications to enhance the effectiveness of the Places platform.
How Can You Prepare for Microsoft Places?
If you want to get a head-start on optimizing your hybrid workspace before Places comes out in 2023, you can use Microsoft's existing hybrid workspace collaboration tool, Microsoft Teams. Places will be able to use the data from Teams to provide you with a leg up on using the platform's optimization features.
When you create a Microsoft Team you get:
- A Microsoft 365 group
- An Exchange Online shared mailbox and calendar
- A SharePoint Online document library and site for storing team files
- A OneNote notebook
- Integration with other Microsoft 365 and Office 365 apps
In addition to adding people inside your organization to your Teams, you can add clients, vendors, and others from outside your organization as guests.
What Are the Features of Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams includes a variety of useful features for workplace collaboration that will enhance your productivity while also preparing you to transition to the Microsoft Places platform.
Office 365 Integration
Current Office 365 users will appreciate the seamless integration with Microsoft Teams. This integration allows users to rapidly create Teams by using existing group information.
Teams allows you to create chat channels dedicated to specific topics. This makes it easier to keep conversations focused and search for specific information without having to search through irrelevant messages.
Access to Email, OneDrive, Skype, and SharePoint
Like the planned features in Microsoft Places, Teams provides you with a single access point to Office 365 applications, which increases efficiency compared to having to launch all of these apps individually. Teams keeps all of your collaboration tools, including notes, meetings, messages, and documents, in one place and provides you with real-time access to teammates who are online.
Users can access their Teams from the web or their Windows, Android, and iOS mobile devices. This makes it easy for employees who are traveling to collaborate when they are away from their desktops.
The search and filtering function in Microsoft Teams makes it easy to find the information you need from people, conversations, or files. Content search pulls information from multiple sources, including SharePoint Online, Exchange, and OneDrive for Business.
Microsoft Teams works with hundreds of popular third-party applications, such as Zendesk, Polly, Asana, Smartsheet, and Zoom.ai. This makes it easy for you to streamline your work processes and communication.
Slash commands are short typed phrases that begin with a slash and trigger a specific action within an app. These commands make it easy for employees to execute actions without taking their hands off the keyboard.
How To Use Microsoft Places if You Are Not Using Microsoft 365
You do not have to use all of the apps in the Microsoft 365 suite to benefit from Microsoft Places. However, you will likely get more out of the platform if you use at least some of its functionality. Cloudficient can help you migrate to the Microsoft 365 platform. Contact us to learn more about our next-generation migration technology.
With unmatched next generation migration technology, Cloudficient is revolutionizing the way businesses retire legacy systems and transform their organization into the cloud. Our business constantly remains focused on client needs and creating product offerings that match them. We provide affordable services that are scalable, fast and seamless.
If you would like to learn more about how to bring Cloudficiency to your migration project, visit our website, or contact us.