With the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of talk about remote and hybrid work. The idea of working from home has become mainstream now and it is likely to remain so for years to come.
But remote and hybrid work has largely targeted and worked out for employees that usually go into the office. This accounts for about 20% of the global labor force. The other 80% is what you call front-line workers.
This includes people working in manufacturing, retail, healthcare, hospitality, and other industries where workers can’t work remotely. While technology did accelerate to offer informational workers what they need to work from home, there was no effort to do the same for frontline workers. But that could be about to change, especially when considering what Microsoft is doing with Teams.
According to Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate VP of modern work, tech companies are actively working on new technologies that will give front-line workers more flexibility.
This includes tools to help these workers manage shifts better, time tracking tools to enhance productivity and so much more. There is even a video chat tool that blurs the background, allowing health care workers to actively engage with people in the outside world without having to worry about patient confidentiality.
All these tools are coming to Microsoft Teams and are expected to start rolling out soon. Ever since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, usage for Microsoft Team has surged massively. Although various industries have adopted the technology, the healthcare sectors have reported the highest level of usage. Mostly, the Teams app is used as a communication and collaboration hub. But Microsoft wants to change that.
It wants to make the software more applicable and practical for front-line workers. For this reason, it is adding new features to that effect. The Windows giant is even expected to add tools designed to promote the physical well-being of front-line workers. It is also emerging that most front-line workers would welcome this type of technology.
Although training and support will be needed to fully roll out some of these features, it seems like a majority of them are warming up to the idea. But it’s not just about front-line workers, it’s also about giving front managers the tools they need to be as efficient as possible. There is talk that Microsoft could bring virtual appointment tools that allow managers to engage with employees completely remotely.
There is also a plan to add more communication options for front-line managers and additional task management tools that will help them boost productivity and efficiency. Some people may argue that some of these features or tools are what you would normally get on a normal collaboration software like Teams. But Microsoft is going further than that.
The Windows giant is creating customized solutions that are perfectly suited for the day-to-day activities of front-line workers. It will of course take time to roll these technologies out, but the company is trying to do it.