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It’s a sunny morning in Kuala Lumpur today. Transforming my Surface Pro from a tablet into laptop mode, I begin to list the things that I need to do. Shortly after, the calendar notification reminds me that I have a meeting scheduled in fifteen minutes.
Emails start pouring in like they do each morning. My colleague informs me that the traffic situation in her part of the town is unusually heavy so she will be taking the meeting from home. I swiftly replied that she had nothing to worry since we are all connected through Microsoft Teams and Skype. Moments later, we dial in through Skype and our meeting goes on without a glitch.
Welcome to my world—digital workforce, modern workplace, and work-life integration truly at its best. The workplace of today is not how it used to be ten years ago, where one had to be present at the meeting or have an actual phone to make a call. Now with technology, even though you are thousands of miles away, you can be virtually present in the meeting room.
We, at Microsoft, have transformed the workplace in numerous ways. With the mobile revolution, employees can work from anywhere, anytime, and on any device. We aspire to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. The digital workforce is not just an organizational strategy, it is a national agenda. By leveraging on the cloud, we have helped organizations improve work internally across departments, locations, and importantly, time zones. This also addresses our commitment to meet the demands of the next generation of employees who are socially active, collaborative, always-on with tools and products to enable them to be more productive in their work.
The three critical aspects in the new world of work are people, place, and technology. On the people front, I find that today’s workplace is a mix of five generations. The C-level senior management find themselves adapting to the changing landscape of the workplace. We all realize that employees from the different generations respond differently to engagement and hence the needs to be innovative even more!
One of the biggest assets of the modern workplace is the ability to work flexibly and productively. Ideas can be in our minds anytime and we can begin and conclude a robust discussion with a colleague half way around the world from wherever we are. Or engage in a meeting with a colleague who has been less mobile and unable to drive due to visual impairment. Contributions to work are not hampered by having to be physically in the office.
And all this is made possible by technology that brings this workplace alive. Across the digital workplace, technology offers multiple opportunities to make the experience personal – from team sites in SharePoint to groups in Exchange and Skype for Business – it is now possible to deliver personal communications and collaboration capabilities to each employee.
Essentially, we have to transform the way we empower employees as we strive towards creating a digital workplace for our respective organizations. In today’s world, the HR professional is a business partner who has plenty of modern management tools to study the progress of its people strategy in helping the business grow. Addressing flexibility in workplace policies and a shift in culture are essential to respond to current and future talent needs–especially for the growing number of millennials in the workforce who are always driving for new challenges and equally as well for experienced employees whose life choices demand of them flexibility and mobility.
In conclusion, work is something that one does, not a place that one goes to. Our devices and services, like Office 365, are making it possible for employees to contribute from anywhere, anytime. Just like how I am writing these thoughts remotely, using my favorite device of choice, Surface Pro.