As you may have seen, Microsoft has unveiled their newest productivity and collaboration tool called Microsoft Teams. Read on to find out exactly what this means for collaboration in the workplace and how Microsoft are empowering flexible working.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Teams is a new collaborative platform allowing staff to work with each other. It enables fluent and seamless conversations as well as being able to post documents to a central bulletin board.
But that’s not all.
Microsoft has intertwined Teams with their Office suite of programs in an attempt to add value to their ‘essential toolkit‘. With over 1 billion people worldwide using the Office suite – these benefits can quickly be felt globally.
So let’s address the elephant in the room: it’s no secret that Microsoft Teams bears a striking resemblance to programs such as slack. So, how do slack feel about this?
Well they definitely have a view. So much so that they decided to take out a full-page ad in the New York Times (see below).
Wow slack just took out a full page NYT ad towards a Microsoft product that hasn't even been announced yet pic.twitter.com/d32307dWm4
— Sumanth (@SuMastodon) November 2, 2016
Microsoft on work culture
Such is the case with any new product, a lot is said about features and UI. However we feel that it is more valuable to take a step back and ask ‘what does this say about Microsoft’s vision for productivity?’.
When we look at Microsoft Teams within a larger group of features and recent changes to the Office suite, you can see that there focus seems to be alligned towards one popular trend.
The need to facilitate flexible working.
This is a big move from Microsoft and respresents a shift in mentality for enterprise. Rather than viewing work within four walls, Microsoft see the distribution of staff as optimum conditions.
This is made even more clear with Microsoft recently giving nearly a third of its New York employees memberships at WeWork.
It is one thing to sell an ideal of a mobile workforce, but a completely other thing to embedd it into business practices. That is what is impressive, their dedication to embrace the dream they are selling.
While these types of changes will come with resistance – Microsoft challenge stagnant, victorian views – encouraging people to embrace adaptable ways of working. Highlighting the benefits of allowing workers to be truly mobile through the use of Microsoft programs like the Enterprise Mobility Suite, Skype for Business and Teams.
“Team work and collaboration is an art” – Satya Nadella
So, what exactly is workplace culture?
This question has no right, wrong or simple answer.
It is subjective.
Varying from culture to culture. Some will say workplace culture is as important as business strategy. Others will disagree.
Despite difference in opinion, what really matters is the realisation that there is a need for flexibility and adaptability. With proof in the pudding that employees continue to adopt BYOD and are often working outside of company premises in remote locations.
I think it’s more than fair to say Microsoft can be found enthusiastically flying the flag for change and thinking outside of the box!
This does not necessarily mean promoting the death of the traditional office. Face to face communication and collaboration remains one of the most effective ways of working. Microsoft simply address the need for an environment that can provide users with the tools to work where and when they choose.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change” – Charles Darwin.
Those who refuse to adapt will fall behind.
As for Microsoft teams…
We have started to look at teams internally and we’ll be sure to report back on our thoughts.
But more importantly, use these types of launches as opportunities to assess the productivity and capability of staff.
Written by Sophie Williams | Workspace Consultant, RedPixie | See her LinkedIn Profile