Surface and Microsoft 365 bridge the gap to everyone’s ideal hybrid life
The phenomenon of hybrid work has already lasted through three New Year celebrations and changed the lives of countless workers worldwide. While pressure from the pandemic has subsided, multiple questions remain. Will hybrid work continue to exist? Is this the end of the flexible workstyle?
As many organizations demand employees to return to their desks at the office, PTT Exploration and Production PCL (PTTEP) chose to give employees a voice – and a heart-to-heart conversation about their preferred ways of work. Praimitr Issarangura Na Ayudhya, Senior Officer in Digital Foundation and User Experience Management, said, “We encourage the entire workforce to define their own working styles through technology instead of simply setting a direction from the top down. This way, we believe we can find solutions that represent the best fit for everyone.”
# Trust your people to be productive – no matter where they are
PTTEP’s approach reflects the executives’ trust in every employee. However, a lot of companies around the world remain uncertain about their workforces’ productivity when they are not present in the office.
A recent Microsoft Work Trend Index Special Report from September 2022 – which covered findings from a survey of 20,000 employees and executives across 11 countries as well as trillions of Microsoft 365 productivity signals, workforce trends from LinkedIn, and research by Glint People Science – revealed that 87% of employees believe they have been productive in a hybrid work environment. However, 85% of managers and leaders found it difficult to be confident that their employees are being productive, while just 12% had full confidence in their team’s productivity.
Today, 4,000 employees at PTTEP’s headquarters, branch offices, and offshore sites can fully experience hybrid work with a variety of Microsoft Surface devices as well as the full Microsoft 365 suite. Praimitr explained that employees can simply choose to work from anywhere – they are only required to check in to notify colleagues if they will be in the office. They can also change their workplace once a day, which means that they can be at the office in the morning then spend the rest of the day working from home. Under this system, employees can enjoy a more flexible life while also remaining in touch with their colleagues – no matter where they are.
Praimitr added: “We believe that modern devices and tools can help drive change and adaptation. This led us to introduce Microsoft Surface devices to encourage people to quickly adjust to remote work. For executives, they are also able to communicate with employees through Microsoft Teams live events on a monthly basis or as needed.”
# The office is not a place – it’s a people
One of the biggest changes in the Hybrid Work era is how we think about the office. Microsoft’s findings show that 73% of employees and 78% of business decision makers say they need a better reason to work in the office than just company expectations as they can work effectively elsewhere.
The latest trends show that connecting with colleagues is a key motivation for employees to work at the office. 84% said they would be motivated by the promise of socializing with co-workers, while 85% would like to rebuild team bonds face-to-face. 74% of employees simply told us that they would go to the office more often if their work friends were there. This is no surprise for PTTEP as an organization that has already transformed its work culture to meet these expectations.
Apart from the workplace of choice, the hybrid co-workers’ team bonds also affect the adoption of tools and technologies. With hybrid work now part of its permanent policy, PTTEP introduced internal communication tools such as Yammer and SharePoint alongside the Surface devices – but without assigning any particular employee as the “product champion” to encourage others to use them. The company believes that truly effective adoption can only happen once a user realizes the potential of that technology in solving their inconveniences or difficulties – and word would spread naturally so that their friends would also know.
Praimitr told us that many PTTEP employees had taken to Yammer to build their own clubs and communities – ranging from a group for learning English with foreign colleagues and an enthusiastic runners’ club to even a Microsoft 365 tips and tricks group. Furthermore, atmosphere at the office is livened up as some presentation specialists prefer to join meetings from the office using the big screen of the Surface Hub. Meetings can also be hosted with a full Teams Rooms experience, which lets co-workers at home and in the office interact just like they are all in the same room for a livelier air at work – both online and offline.
# A better working life through flexibility and agility
Another key part in PTTEP’s mission to achieve a balance between technology and people is a clear focus on real effectiveness and results. Praimitr said: “We didn’t demand employees to use all the tools or features. If they could make full use of even just a few features , that is already an achievement for us because it means the technology is really responding to the team’s needs.”
One example in PTTEP’s case is the integration of the office’s landline phone systems with Microsoft Teams, which enables employees to make and receive calls through Teams on either their smartphones or a Surface device. On that note, employees can also pick from various Surface models to best fit their requirements – from the Surface Pro with its ultra-thin design and the Surface Laptop’s familiar shape with a front camera built for the hybrid work era to the full performance of the Surface Book. Microsoft 365 services further empower employees to be more proficient in their work as they’re able to look up information from SharePoint and edit documents together with the team through real-time co-authoring.
PTTEP’s open-minded approach to flexibility and the commitment to accept employees’ voices for their transition to hybrid work led to success because of the strong combination of technology, equipment, and policy. These factors are especially important as workers across the world are seeking ways to balance working and personal lives. Some have begun focusing on caring for themselves and their loved ones – or even pursuing their dreams as an entrepreneur. From the organization’s perspective, the key to achieving this balance has been summed up by Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s Chief Executive Officer: “Thriving employees are what will give organizations a competitive advantage in today’s dynamic economic environment.”
“The important step in making Hybrid Work genuinely work is creating a culture that embraces diversity and offers everyone the technology they need to work their way. We also encourage employees to join us in building this culture at work and offer assurance through constant support in hybrid workplace matters,” Praimitr concluded.