3 Must-Know Remote Work Tips From Microsoft

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The spread of COVID-19 and subsequent worldwide quarantine has led organizations to shift to work from home models in record numbers. While the move might’ve been seamless for some, many others are still grappling with how to work efficiently in the digital workplace.

Microsoft’s Cyril Belikoff used his #ShiftHappens Conference session to shed some light on how organizations have thrived while working remotely (including Microsoft itself), how higher-ups can stay in touch with their employees, and more. Read on for some helpful highlights!

Companies around the world are moving through three phases:

Respond to the Crisis: When the quarantine was first instated, people had to move to work remotely. At the start, the focus was all on how to help your customers while transitioning employees as swiftly as possible.

Recover with Efficiency: Next, the focus will be on how we can all come out of this prolonged WFH period. This has to be done carefully as employees start to trickle in back to the office.

Rebuild for the Future: Lastly is the question of how we shape the future of our industry. What is your opportunity for serving your customers in a new way? What innovations can be made? What lessons can be taken away from all this?

Some of the following steps might sound simple, but if we’re able to do these things in a simple and concrete way we’ll be able to really move the industry forward as a whole.

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1. Enable Remote Work

Working remotely isn’t just about video sessions; it’s about how you interact and collaborate with people before, during, and after meetings. It’s about how you balance the realities of work with the personal realities of home life. People might not have home workspaces that allow them to perform at their best. So it’s important to have empathy and patience for those dealing with different circumstances.

At the same time, there are many business challenges that come along with managing the crisis. From hospitals dealing with an overflow of patients to food delivery services struggling to fill an abundance of orders, business leaders have been forced to think differently about their business and what it means to them.

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2. Reduce Cost+Manage Risk

As we begin to transition from working at home, it’ll come time to consider what working in a post-epidemic economy will look like. How do you manage that cost and risk on the IT side, the personnel side, and so on? It’ll still be unclear how things will transpire in the future, so it’ll be important to control costs and evaluate what’ll be necessary for business continuity.

3. Transform for the Future

There are new business models coming out every single day, and with them opportunities for us to think differently. After the mass amounts of digitization that’ve occurred over the last few months, there’s more information than ever before on how to best leverage the digital space during everyday operations. Driving insights from data we’ve collectively gathered will be essential in moving forward.

How Has Microsoft Approached Remote Work Internally?

Sharing WFH guidance with their 150k+ employees around the world was the first step in Microsoft’s remote work journey. They quickly realized that holding long meetings without the two-minute office interactions with coworkers quickly led to burnout. Thus, Microsoft began shortening meeting times, allocating extra time for home activities, and being mindful of households with young children.

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Another core part of Microsoft’s adaptation to remote work was focusing on management skills. More than ever, it was imperative to follow the model of coaching, modeling, and caring; helping employees transition to a WFH environment, creating new workflows conducive to remote work, and caring about how they’re adjusting and checking in to make sure everything is okay.

If you missed the live session and want to watch it in full, be sure to check back in next week for links to the full session recording!


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