How are teams connecting when they need to work apart? That was the question asked by Microsoft’s new Work Trend Index. The answer makes fascinating reading.
The Work Trend Index uses surveys, interviews and data to explore trends in the way people interact with their Microsoft productivity tools and help customers plan for the future. And the findings of its Remote work trend report: meetings offer useful insights for improving collaboration while working remotely.
Video answers the need for connection
The way we work might have changed but our need for human connection hasn’t.
People are achieving that connection via video. In fact, they are turning on video in Microsoft Teams two-times more than usual. In March 2020 alone, video calls in Teams grew by over 1,000%.
The features in Teams that are helping to enhance the quality of that connection include its custom backgrounds; the ‘raise hand’ feature and AI-enabled background noise suppression.
Such quality is essential when offering video consultations to patients. Which is exactly what the Fondazione I.R.C.C.S. Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta in Milan offered when COVID-19 locked down Italy. With Microsoft Teams, clinicians can help patients – face-to-face – to safely continue treatment.
Escola Global, a Portuguese private schools group, made an equally swift transition to remote learning. Microsoft Teams is now the main channel for student-teacher communication. The teachers are even creating bespoke video content via Microsoft Stream.
People are connecting in new ways
Those teachers are part of a trend. The growth in pre-recorded Teams sessions, using Microsoft Stream to power live events and lead company meetings, is exponential. The number of Stream videos in Teams increased by 500% from March to April 2020.
And from February to March 2020, use of Teams Mobile also shot up by 300%, showing that people are liberating themselves from their desks – if only to roam their homes.
The forward-thinking Council of Lleida, a small town in northeastern Spain, has been using Live Events in Teams to hold ‘virtual town hall’ meetings. 1,600 of its civil servants now work remotely on Windows Virtual Desktop from where they can access all internal resources and ensure continuity of public services.
How we work together will change forever
An Italian winery outside Montalcino, Ciacci Piccolomini D’Aragona, was equally determined to conduct ‘business as unusual’ when their in-person wine tastings became impossible. It simply shipped bottles to buyers around the world and organized the tastings via Teams.
The customer response to these digital tastings has been so positive that what began as an emergency measure for business survival, is continuing after the end of lockdown.
It’s a prime example of how, with the right technology making the right human connections, businesses can continue to thrive in innovative ways.
And it makes you wonder, will such ingenious responses – borne of necessity in the face of adversity – change the way we work forever?
Read the report in full.