What is a Modern Workplace?

Now that the workplace has changed in so many ways that no one expected, who really knows what the term “modern workplace” actually means? If you Google modern workplace, you’re going to get so many results that you’re probably going to leave still confused about what the modern workplace entails. So maybe you think, “I know that modern involves recent techniques, methods or ideas, and then by definition, a workplace is  a place where you work. So that must be what a modern workplace is.” And it kind of is that, but it’s so much more. A modern workplace is being able to work securely from anywhere on any device, using tools that enhance the quality and effectiveness of your work.

Since 2005, there’s been a 140% growth in remote work with non-self-employed workers. That increase in workers that were telecommuting between 2017 and 2018 increased another 22%. That wasn’t even factoring in the global pandemic, which according to some estimates have taken all those stats and tripled them. So more than ever, providing a modern workplace has become incredibly crucial for employers.

How do you communicate with your coworkers and staff within a modern workplace?

One of the best ways to communicate with staff and coworkers is Microsoft Teams. Personally, I do almost all of my communications internally via Teams, which has drastically reduced my email. With Teams, I can chat with someone via my computer, whether it’s the web app or the desktop app, as well as the mobile app. I can easily jump from text chatting to a phone call via Teams to a phone call that shares my screen.

So how do clients and others reach you if you don’t have that in-office desk phone?

The Teams application can be used as your in-office phone. Whenever you log into Teams, no matter if it’s with the web app or your mobile app, it can become your phone. With this mobility, it’s easy to think that with the Teams app, you will never be able to get away from work. However, you can set your status on Teams, and your status will decide whether Teams will reach your cell phone or go straight to your voicemail.

Microsoft has a great feature in the Outlook application where you can actually schedule reoccurring focus time, which automatically sets you at “do not disturb” during that period of time.

What about accessing your everyday work applications?

For those who don’t know, Teams is actually built on top of Microsoft SharePoint. Whatever you do in Teams is part of a SharePoint library. As such, your file server can easily be moved to Teams. As long as you have a Teams app, you can access those files. With everyone accessing these files, it’s even easier to collaborate on projects.

As for personal work files, you can use OneDrive to host these files, which also grants you access to these files wherever you are. Since these files are part of your personal OneDrive, you don’t have to worry about everyone on Teams accessing them.

What about security?

Microsoft has built so many layers of security within the Microsoft Suite. We always start with multifactor authentication, also known as MFA and 2FA. With MFA, you’re prompted for a second level of authentication after entering in your login password. The second level usually provides a security code you can access via text message or various MFA apps.

From there, it’s possible to add various conditional access requirements. It’s possible to restrict access unless a user is part of your company domain or if a user’s device is managed by Intune. Another method of conditional access is to allow users to view files but not download them.

Microsoft offers a couple of ways to increase these security levels, including Azure Active Directory with a Premium One license or Microsoft 365 Business Premium. We recommend any organization under 300 employees to go with Microsoft 365 Business Premium, which includes the Azure Active Directory Premium One license as well as numerous other benefits.

It may seem worrisome to have this one Microsoft login to access all of your files and accounts via Teams, especially now that users can access everything from their phones. However, with the Microsoft login and MFA, now everything is strongly protected.

Modern PC Management for a Remote Workforce

The modern workplace can also include a remote workforce, which requires a new way of thinking about modern PC management. As we went over in a previous post, Intune and Autopilot are going to allow us to not only continue to force corporate group policies on user devices to keep them secure and compliant, but Autopilot will also allow us to take a PC out of the box and quickly and easily install everything a remote worker will need.

We go over how this works in more detail in our “Modern PC Management” post, especially in regards to Intune and Autopilot.

Have questions about how Microsoft Teams can turn your organization into a modern workplace? Please reach out to one of our experts at any time!

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