The last few years have brought significant changes to all areas of our lives, including thorough transformation of the way we work. We talked to Ketevan Ratiani, Modern Work Business Group Lead, Microsoft CEE Multi-Country about employees’ attitudes and expectations from their job, and about new possibilities for the future of work.
Ketevan, please tell us what are the most significant changes in the organizations related to work and what is the reason for this?
We’ve been on the cusp of the shift to hybrid work for more than two years now – we’re at a point where we lived experience of hybrid work. We’re not the same people that went home to work in early 2020. The collective experience of the past two years has left a lasting imprint, changing how we define the role of work in our lives. The data shows the Great Reshuffle is far from over. The latest Microsoft research – Work Trend Index showed that employees everywhere are rethinking value of their work and that priorities have changed – their wellbeing being at the forefront. For Gen Z and Millennials, there’s no going back as highly value their flexibility and freedom. As leaders puzzle over how to make hybrid work work, the challenge ahead for every organization is to meet employees’ new expectations head-on while balancing business outcomes in an unpredictable economy.
What advice would you give to organizations that want to organize work in this format?
To attract the best talents organizations will have to adapt their working practices to meet the new expectations of employees – need to create organizations where workers feel engaged and develop a sense of loyalty. The best way to achieve it – to provide an efficient hybrid workspace for employees. A successful shift to hybrid work will depend on embracing new culture, organization operations change and implementation of technologies that would support this way of work. The main purpose of a hybrid work model is to give employees flexibility in ways they work and offer a better work-life balance. Employees should feel able to alternate between home and the office seamlessly without a dip in productivity. To enable us to maintain productivity, we need the right tools like Microsoft Teams. It is a platform that “virtualizes office” with its organization chart, enables people to come together and experience structured collaboration in new ways online. Teams has experienced strong adoption among organizations around the world and rapid user growth, as it enables accelerated workplace transformation. Twenty organizations all over the world have more than 100,000 active users on Teams, including Continental AG, Ernst & Young, Pfizer, and SAP. Accenture recently became the first organization to surpass half a million users. Global retailer IKEA is using Teams to collaborate both internally and externally, supporting sustainability efforts by reducing travel and replacing paper-based processes.
You mentioned earlier the growing emphasis on a positive workplace culture? How can business achieve it?
Relying on old tools and approaches doesn’t work anymore. In Microsoft we stopped thinking about work as a place, and started thinking about how to maintain culture, and to connect and empower employees in a hybrid work world. People aren’t choosing a job based on location and a paycheck. They want a better employee experience: purpose, flexibility, growth and development, a culture where they feel like they belong. Microsoft developed the first employee experience platform built for the digital era – Microsoft Viva. It brings together communication, communities, knowledge, learning, goals, and insights right in the flow of Teams. Our goal is to empower organizations to address key challenges of hybrid work. Just a year after launch Viva has over 10 million active users – proving the need for that kind of tool. It is being used by more than 1,000 paid customers to help address challenges like learning and knowledge sharing, employee burnout and retention. It provides powerful insights on what’s working, what’s not and how leaders and teams can take actions to drive better business outcomes with real time information. Unilever, for example, adopted Microsoft Viva to provide individuals, managers, and leaders with data-driven, privacy-protected visibility into how work patterns affect employee wellbeing and productivity. Over the past year, these insights have helped the company improve the employee experience and promote greater work-life balance amongst their global employee base.
What else should we take into consideration when implementing Hybrid work?
When work can happen from anywhere, the management and security of endpoint devices have become more critical and more complicated. Our efforts in being a reliable, consistent, and trustworthy digital endpoint manager have only increased. To keep our customers secure, we build security by design into every product we offer. We deliver end-to-end solutions spanning security, compliance, identity, device management and privacy, across clouds and platforms, informed by 24 trillion threat signals each day. Industry analysts recognize Microsoft as a Leader across multiple security categories which we believe is a testament to the trusted security solutions Microsoft offers. Also, many actions should undertake the business itself. Microsoft with its partner ecosystem is here to guide and consult Kazakhstani business.