Meeting the Demands of the Modern Workplace

As organizations scrambled to support remote workers, Kiefer recognized that we were in a unique position to assist our clients and friends. We have been promoting the benefits of the modern workplace for several years, and we had arrived at the moment in which enabling the modern workplace wasn’t a luxury, it was a necessity. Deploying technologies that supported efficient communication and collaboration was critical as stay-at-home orders changed how many organizations conducted business.

Now, as many organizations consider the future and how to stay productive with remote workers, distributed workers and hybrid models, Kiefer has some sound advice that can help your organization adapt and thrive.

If you are using Microsoft 365, you may not realize that it was built for the modern workplace. There are several applications that enable users to collaborate, communicate and stay connected. Here is our advice for organizations that are pivoting, adapting and focused on staying productive.

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Communication

The way we communicate with colleagues has changed. Remote work forces us to rely on electronic communications over face-to-face conversations, however, we can do better than leaving a voicemail or sending an e-mail. Microsoft Teams is our preferred method of communication at Kiefer. As someone that used to work exclusively from our HQ location in Folsom, California, I have seen a steady increase in my usage of Teams. I can call together a quick conference call or send a colleague a quick message. I feel like our team is responding faster with Teams and I like that we can discuss an issue with several team members in a chat as opposed to e-mail.

Video calls in Teams is also a great feature. As a rule, we typically meet with cameras on. I know that a lot of folks are reluctant to use their cameras but I find that seeing colleagues and customers makes for a better meeting. Seeing reactions of others helps me steer the conversation or recognize that a customer may need clarification.

Communicating using video may be a bit uncomfortable at first but we highly recommend giving it a try. We have heard some customers say they don’t use video because they don’t want to showcase the fact that they are working out of a bedroom or from the kitchen table. That’s OK! Teams has a variety of backgrounds that you can use to prevent viewers from seeing your workspace, or you can “blur out” what may be behind you.

Collaboration

At Kiefer, we are very used to collaborating using Microsoft 365. We’ve been using SharePoint for well over a decade and we are early adopters of Microsoft Teams. There is simply no reason for me to send anyone in my company an e-mail attachment. I simply send them a link to the document that is stored in Teams or SharePoint. We can collaborate and co-author the document simultaneously and we can ensure a single-source-of-truth. This way of collaborating in in our organization’s culture.

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Many organizations that had never used SharePoint or Teams are interested in rolling it out to their distributed workforce. We encourage all of those that are new to Teams or SharePoint to sit down with an expert to better understand what it will take to successfully roll out these applications. You want to be certain that governance is in place before you roll it out. You also want to be clear with users when and why they should be using Teams and SharePoint.

Blog: Should I use SharePoint or Microsoft Teams to Collaborate?

Process Improvement

Many organizations have employees working remotely. This has revealed how fragile certain business processes may be. Some processes simply fall apart when there isn’t someone to hand carry a document for approval and signature. Some processes are difficult to manage when you can’t determine what’s been done and what’s left to do. We have helped clients fortify processes by helping them measure, assess, automate, and optimize critical processes using tools like Power Automate, Power Apps and Microsoft Power BI. Have a look at this blog to learn more about how we can help you improve processes for remote workers and distributed workers.

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What to Expect

Microsoft 365 will change how your users work, for the better. Ideally, organizations that are embracing the idea of the modern workplace should approach the concept strategically, with a focus on the long term. We can help you in developing a strategic roadmap for rolling out tools to improve processes, facilitate better collaboration and help your team in removing barriers to communicating with one another.

We also work with clients to help them understand their digital transformation maturity and develop a plan to achieve their digital transformation goals, based on appetite and capacity for change.

Banner for Kiefer's free digital business transformation maturity assessment infographic.

This is a complex and challenging time, but there couldn’t be a better time to think about how to modernize your workplace… and we are here to help! Contact us to learn more.

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