December 21, 2020 How Microsoft helps building a safer workplace for employees returning to work Introduction Due to the onset of pandemic this year, the world learnt the new ways to adapt to uncertainties and work effectively. Microsoft served as a stronghold for organizations to withstand the crises and equipped them to manage workplace disruption. Today, after months of lockdown, organizations are seen planning to gradually move workers back into the office in the next phase of work. As a sudden shift to remote working introduced critical challenges to business leaders, similarly, managing the return to work while adhering to the government COVID-19 guidance will be no less challenging. Can Microsoft help workers return to post-pandemic workplace safely? Microsoft is committed to build resilient workplaces and prepares organizations for an unseen future. Hence, business leaders can easily bring back their employees and enable them to work confidently using the most advanced collaboration solutions. Now, let us learn how Microsoft supports employee safety and lets them stay engaged and productive during this phase of return using different apps and tools – 1. Microsoft Teams Microsoft Teams, a subset of Microsoft 365, is an evergreen solution to support communication and collaboration, both, onsite and remotely. With some useful and interesting features in Microsoft Teams, organizations can let users collaborate without stress while making offices safer – Use Shifts to create, update and manage schedules for teams. Shifts app helps in centrally managing and sharing available space to users based on location or floor. To ensure safe social distancing, Shifts allows managers to allocate workspace for users. Alternatively, users can reserve or request an available workspace for a preferred timeframe. Enhance meeting experience by providing an organic interaction between attendees. You can also manage meeting settings and room capacity in Teams. Use Teams Live Events and Yammer to connect with people across your organization for town halls and all-hands meetings. Gain insights into workplace analytics and discover how your employees use Teams. Microsoft Teams provides a variety of reports for effective employee monitoring. So, you can gauge teams’ activities, assess their performance and make changes, if necessary, to promote employee engagement. Additionally, you can automate Microsoft Teams for end-to-end governance for enhanced engagement and productivity using a third-party automation software such as TeamsHub by Cyclotorn to make your workplace smarter and efficient than ever. To know more, please click here. 2. Microsoft Power Platform Deploy Microsoft Power Platform to ensure a safer onsite environment to let your employees work without worry. Using Microsoft Power Platform, you can – View location readiness and manage their reopening. You can use critical data to monitor infection rates and availability of health supplies in that area.Manage COVID-19 cases actively, detect hot spots for safety improvements and aid in case management by importing data from other systems.For employee health and safety, let your employees utilize self-service tools for space booking, remote check-ins, self-screening before entering the premises, etc.Use tools for location management to monitor occupancy by area, safety procedures, health supplies etc. 3. Azure IoT Safeguard your workplace with IoT (Internet of Things) solutions and prepare your facility with touchless systems. Using Azure IoT Platform, you can – Deploy a scalable intelligent edge and cloud solution to detect and prevent COVID-19 infection in large group spaces.Create contactless experience using IoT interfaces to eliminate physical touchpoints for the safety of employees.Implement IoT safe solutions that combines with CCTV infrastructure with Azure services to monitor organization and improve safety practices.Create safe buildings with Azure IoT for healthy and sustainable workplace.Use IoT-based smart lightings to create natural and self-learning lightings for indoor environments. Summary Health and safety of your employees is, unquestionably, the first concern when bringing them back to the workplace. Also, we have learnt that with Microsoft 365, Teams and other services, it is easy, comfortable and safe for employees to make this transition. So, get ready to welcome your employees and let them collaborate without fear, work productively and be inspired.