Office 365. The best of breed, modern workplace, cloud solution. This powerful platform is driving productivity and efficiencies to new levels. Can you imagine hybrid working now without these tools?

But have you had the chance to explore all of its capabilities? Microsoft has designed this state-of-the-art suite, supported by intelligent cloud services and advanced security in order to provide a safe, easily accessible, & centralised set of tools for any worker to use. It’s really all we need.  

You have probably heard enough about Teams and its amazing features (seriously though – it’s amazing), but what about the less talked about applications and features? Are you using Planner to set out your daily tasks? Do you report with Power BI dashboards to gather financials across different departments? Have you turned on Microsoft Viva to get a daily round-up of your collaborative insights? The possibilities are growing with Office 365, so let’s delve deeper into the best bits.

Some of our favourite apps peeled back

Set Goals with Planner: Whether organisation is your forte or not, Microsoft planner is the saving grace for keeping us on track with targets. Planner lets us create checklists to set weekly goals, sending email reminders as the deadline approaches. It allows our team to be agile when targets change, or deadlines get pushed back. 

  • It drives productivity through team workflows, where all team members can update and work collaboratively, setting tasks and deadlines for their teammates. Having a collaborative location to set quarterly targets is an effective way to keep track of where we are up to both individually and collectively as a team.

Power BI: How many times have you longed for all your data from multiple spreadsheets to be nicely presented on a dashboard alongside each other? Power BI is a great way to see data and analytics on your business and even your customers.

  • The easily digestible reports, quick insights, integration, and real-time analytics, is all automated, reducing the manual work for you. Using intelligent automation, it pulls in data on billable hours, expenses, financials and more. This can be within your team, across different departments, or the whole business. It keeps data consistent for both clients and employees alike, so you can wave goodbye to all those complicated spreadsheets.

SharePoint: You may be familiar with this one, but are you fully using its best abilities?

  • Its main goals are to create a forum for easy collaboration, ensure teams are engaged by sharing and collating insights from the intranet, so you can action smart business decisions, and finally, transform business processes through integrated productivity apps. It really is the employee platform of dreams!

Viva Insights: Formerly known as MyAnalytics, this is a smart tool part of Microsoft Viva, which uses insights to reveal individual collaborative habits. Insights include how you collaborate most, whether it be via emails, chat, calls, or meetings. Daily emails are delivered straight into your inbox, giving a run-down of the amount of time you’ve spent collaborating via these means.

  • Insights into our habits offer ways to improve relationships, create more focus time for priorities, and explores how to truly achieve the work-life balance. When you have had a crazy week of meetings, Viva Insights reminds you to schedule focus time. This helps to set boundaries between work and downtime, and even offers tips on how to recharge, with mindfulness exercises.

Office 365 is helping us thrive.

Microsoft continues to make improvements to Office365 to maximise the user experience - making it as collaborative and innovative as possible. This includes the latest arrival of Microsoft Viva. The shiny new employee app in Teams is here to empower all aspects of working life. It has four key focus areas: Topics, Connections, Learning and Insight. This will have you winning at your working day in no time. Here’s what to expect.

  • Topics gathers all similar content and collates it, so no more sifting around to gather work for a project. Topics uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to automatically organise content and expertise across Teams into related topics, like projects, products, processes, and customers. This will be accessible in Teams chats and channels from early next year! Viva Topics will also be integrated into Outlook, Yammer, and people profile cards by the end of 2021 for even easier access.
  • Connections creates a personalised hub for you containing all news, conversation, and tools to achieve success. This is your route to being a super informed business with all the knowledge and tips being shared in one place.
  • Learning allows employees to integrate training into their working day without disruption, fostering a culture for growth and excellence. You can now search across all the learning sources connected to Viva Learning, and filter by interests, provider, or duration to find the exact content you need. Plus make recommendations to colleagues and add a personalised set of learning resources as a tab in your Teams channels to bring learning directly into the flow of teamwork. Meeting organisers will also get personalised insights and suggestions to improve their meeting habits.
  • Insights produces data on employee productivity to pinpoint how to make the most of their time and when to integrate downtime too. It is the ultimate tool to improve wellbeing and productivity. In fact, Insights now has guided meditations from Headspace which are available in four additional languages. Something which should most definitely be prioritised in the workplace.

The integration within Teams makes it entirely accessible and we are excited to see automation being used increasingly in Microsoft’s tools – it is now generally available so be sure to check it out!

Building a brighter future

All the tools you need to work efficiently and creatively are clearly already available to you, so there is no need to seek additional resources. The challenge now is recognising how to utilise these tools and platforms effectively, to give you a better experience. We know it has not been easy to stay motivated whilst constantly working from home, but these tools are truly helping us focus our time on the areas we are most productive and comfortable with.

Utilise Viva Insights to set boundaries, for example you can track how much time you spend in meetings and reading emails at work, vs “quiet days” outside of working hours. Work shouldn’t eat into your personal time; just like your work collaborative habits, your recreational ones matter too.

Talk to us about how to maximise the use of these powerful Office 365 tools and create the perfect modern workplace.

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