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How Microsoft approaches hybrid work: A new guide to help our customers

Today, Satya shared Microsoft’s broad approach as we transition to hybrid work, and we’ve taken that approach as we talk with our customers in the field.

Nearly every day, my team sits down with organization leaders and partners from across the world who are doing the hard work to ready their people for the coming future of work. Naturally, in these meetings, we are often asked: What is Microsoft doing? And the first thing I tell them is: Just like you, we’re learning as we go—studying data, listening to our employees, and responding with agility to what works and what doesn’t. Because a growth mindset is the key to charting a path forward in any moment of uncertainty. 

There’s no doubt that this shift to a more flexible approach to work will be an enormous undertaking for every leader and every organization. That is certainly true for us as we create a plan to implement a hybrid work model for our more than 160,000 employees across the globe. We know that no one person or organization will have all the answers, but we believe that, as part of a growth mindset, each of us will be better off if we share what we’re learning with each other. 

Two new resources for navigating the shift to hybrid work

That’s why we recently released two resources that detail what we’re learning as we adopt a hybrid work model at Microsoft, in hopes that we can help you create the hybrid work plan that best fits your organization. At their core, these resources reflect our belief that leaders will need to come together to create a new, flexible operating model—spanning people, places, and processes—to fundamentally rewire their organization for hybrid work.  

The first resource I want to point you to is our Hybrid Workplace Flexibility Guide—which we originally created for Microsoft employees. In it, you’ll find sample team agreements, templates, and tools for hybrid work. There are also detailed plans that encompass everything from strategies to keep your people healthy, to exact roadmaps for how to help divide your people’s time between a physical or remote workplace. And there’s much more to come soon. 

The second is called Hybrid Work: A Guide for Business Leaders, and it wraps up much of what we’ve learned about how to reimagine people, places, and processes for a hybrid world. Here’s a quick summary of the highlights:

People 

To help people thrive in a more flexible work world we need to rethink the entire employee experience—from creating culture to attracting and retaining talent and building listening systems. Every organization needs a plan and policies that put us on the path to extreme flexibility and help us build digital empathy into every aspect of our culture. At Microsoft, we’re giving employees a clear flexible work policy—any employee can work remotely up to 50 percent of the time. We’re also we’re building privacy-backed listening systems to capture digital signals with tools including Workplace Analytics, part of Viva Insights, which lets managers and leaders check in on the wellbeing of their teams and organizations empowering managers and leaders to “hire talent from everywhere” and create their own team norms.

Places

Our approach to places hinges on bridging the gap between the physical and digital, and evolving with employee needs. This starts with putting employee safety first. For instance, we’re analyzing data from multiple inputs across public and private sources in a Microsoft Power BI dashboard to determine when people should be allowed at the worksite and how many. And we’re using a simple app built with Power Apps to help employees self-attest to their health and wellbeing when they come into the office.  

And when it comes to meeting spaces, we’re turning our pre-pandemic design philosophy on its head and designing for the people not in the room. By combining new design patterns with Microsoft Teams Rooms innovations, we’re giving everyone a seat at the table so they can fully participate, no matter where they are. 

Processes

The shift to hybrid work gives business leaders a rare opportunity to transform key business processes in bold new ways. If you’re thinking of the next few months simply as “a return to the office,” you’re missing the big picture. Instead, take some time to identify and prioritize digital transformation processes that leverage and scale what you’ve learned over the last year. If you don’t, your competitors will. The winners of the future are being decided today.   

At Microsoft, we’re taking the opportunity to reimagine our key business processes—from operations to sales. For example, we’re transforming our inside sales team; using Microsoft Power Platform—Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Apps—to automate order-to-cash; and investing in a centralized Global Demand Center to increase lead gen and customer engagement through automated digital marketing. 

There’s a lot more on what we’re learning, and what we’re changing, in the guide, and I’d encourage you to download it to get all the details.  

The thing I love most about the growth mindset is that it encourages you to be open to the best ideas—no matter where they come from. I’m excited to share these two resources with you and hope that they’ll be useful for you. But I’m even more excited to hear about what you’re learning on your journey. Together, we have the opportunity to create a new world of work that can be better for everyone.

More to come soon.

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