The digitalization of business processes and its importance will be further emphasized as remote working and hybrid work become the new norm. The preconditions for smooth remote and hybrid working have been actively studied over the past year by various parties, such as Microsoft and Capgemini.
Both studies show that productivity has either remained the same or increased, and the benefits of remote working have borne fruit. According to the Capgemini study, employee productivity increased by 63% due to time savings on commuting, flexible working hours, and powerful tools supporting virtual work.
Trust and community build the basis for remote working and hybrid work
Research by Microsoft and Capgemini also revealed the downside of remote working. Many managers and employees felt that maintaining and ensuring a strong corporate culture was the biggest challenge of change.
Team unity and coping with an increased sense of being siloed and isolated have also been significant challenges in remote working. According to Capgemini’s global study “The future of work: from remote to hybrid”, employees increasingly perceive the workplace as a center for community and collaboration. They also consider it as a place that they do not want to go to every day.
This notion sets new goals and challenges for organizations to ensure that communication and collaboration between employees across the organization and outside work seamlessly, and information flows smoothly.
Teams and other Microsoft 365 services provide effective work conditions, transparent and open collaboration, and increased trust and inclusive sense of unity that organizations need right now. With cloud services, continuous improvement, and the search for benefits through fast development can also achieve long-term productivity gains.
Users at the heart of tool deployment and service strategy
The deployment and smooth use of cloud services through the continuous development of employees’ skills can be solved with just training and consulting services. However, successful delivery of a technical solution with different needs for a change in operating methods requires the organization to think about a comprehensive deployment and service strategy.
Such a strategy and its successful implementation are based on a thorough mapping and situation analysis of:
• The needs, challenges, and goals of the organization with supporting remote working and digitizing processes
• The real needs and pain points of the end-users using the tools in the current work, their IT skills levels, and preferences for the training and communication methods.
Cooperation with key stakeholders identified in the organization, such as Early Adopters users with a technical level of expertise, is also an essential part of strategic measures.
In this case, efforts towards the organization’s goals are based on established practices and feedback and the development of activities based on the monitoring of key indicators, which are taken forward in the organization by continuous communication and training activities.
Communication increases understanding and trust towards change
For example, not everyone learns or wants to use a new tool right away unless they understand the purpose and benefits of using it or the vision that the organization is driving forward with the new tool’s deployment. Such rationale further underscores the importance of timely and open communication in managing successful organizational culture change and engaging personnel in transition.
The more an organization communicates and operates transparently and openly led by top management, the more easily employees can establish trust in changed circumstances and working ways.
Indeed, changing operating models requires that employees commit to the change. It also requires that both the employer and the employees are willing to create a more flexible organizational culture that benefits both parties.
Successful deployment of tools and smooth operating methods as part of the daily life of the organization
Sometimes organizations deploy tools without taking a position on how the tools should be used and in what context. If deployment and use are not planned, documented, and carried forward actively enough in the organization, money spent on the investment will gain no full value.
Incorporating the new tool seamlessly into the natural part of each employee’s workday with its various challenges and needs therefore requires:
- Common ways of working to ensure consistent operation.
- Documented policies, guidelines, and other support materials.
- Need-based training according to each user’s level of competence.
- Continuous communication related to the deployment and consolidation of the technical solution and related operating methods as part of the organization’s work culture and daily working methods.
- Data and stakeholder feedback-driven change management with clear roles and responsibilities across the organization. Deploying a tool such as Microsoft Teams, let alone deploying SharePoint, is not just an IT project but typically involves multiple parties, like HR, communications, and executive committee members.
When common goals, rules for practices, and resources are known and available to all, it is easier for everyone to understand and trust the prevailing framework to support day-to-day work, both in terms of tools and ways of working.