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As digital tools become more crucial to a great employee experience, business leaders across every industry are embracing the opportunity to learn, and they’re re-evaluating both their spending and their approach.

Work is evolving rapidly, and there’s just no going back to our pre-pandemic world. Business leaders everywhere need a plan for the new operating model — extreme flexibility.

Whilst we’re all still learning as we go, it’s clear that every organisation is going to need three things: new policies, re-configured physical spaces, and technology that binds it all together.

There are challenges ahead but we are creating a future that empowers people to connect from anywhere, at any time, and to be and bring their best each day.

We believe that hybrid working is the future. Moving forward, every organisation will need a new operating model for hybrid working — one that doesn’t rely on old norms, like the 8-hour, 9-to-5 workday. Employee expectations have changed for good, with more than 80 percent of managers saying they expect more flexible work from home policies post-pandemic, and more than 70 percent of employees saying they plan to take advantage of them. To compete in this new world, leaders need to embrace extreme flexibility in when, where, and how people work.

Every customer we talk to wants to empower their people for a world of work that is dynamic, fluid, and cloud-powered. They want to find ways for people to work not just from anywhere but at any time, with solutions that allow both synchronous and asynchronous collaboration. And it’s a ‘whole organisation’ shift. From IT, to HR, to operations, to marketing and manufacturing — this is a conversation that requires leaders across the entire organisation to come together to rethink the way we work.

Our approach to empower your employees around the world for flexible working is a three-part strategy: First, create policy to empower people for extreme flexibility. Second, reimagine physical spaces. And third, invest in technologies that connect people anywhere and anytime.

Once you’ve determined your policies for extreme flexibility, use them to guide your approach to physical space. Office space needs to bridge the physical and digital worlds and meet the unique needs of every team — and specific roles.

It’s also critical to think about bridging the gap between in-person and remote experiences. Working together when everyone is in the office is fairly straightforward. And over the last 12 months, we’ve figured out how to get things done when everyone is at home. It’s how to handle that messy middle part — when some people are physically together and others are joining virtually — that’s going to be a challenge.

Invest in technology that connects people — anywhere and anytime

Along with physical spaces, your plan for extreme flexibility should include technology that enables teamwork and creates a new digital experience that follows your employees no matter where they go.

When the pandemic compelled people everywhere to shift to remote working, videoconferencing was the primary tool that people used to connect and keep work moving. Within months, people were participating in 55 percent more digital meetings compared to pre-COVID-19.

Videoconferencing will always be important, but it’s just one tool, and doesn’t provide the communication and collaboration infrastructure needed to power a hybrid way of working.

Microsoft Teams is the only solution that combines meet, chat, call, and collaborate in a single place — all integrated with the Office apps and business process automation tools. What’s more, it opens up collaboration between knowledge workers and frontline workers and blends synchronous and asynchronous work naturally. It’s the only app that does it all, providing an organising layer that supports the flow of work across the organisation.

Today’s state-of-the-art Microsoft Teams includes high-quality audio and video to help everyone be seen and heard. It has been built with extreme flexibility in mind — and there are many more features on the way.

Talk to one of our unified communications technology specialists about how to transform your teams’ productivity & collaboration.