Microsoft’s Vision of the Future of Work

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I was watching a video this morning put out by Microsoft about reimagining the future of work. It is mostly an infomercial for Microsoft products but it isn’t totally without value. It is good to see a large company focus on a remote decentralized workforce that is beyond the current constraints due to the pandemic.

They begin by providing a list of seven keys to successfully working remotely, though this video only focuses on the first two:

The Microsoft remote world really centers around Microsoft Teams and a lot of high end hardware like a “Teams Room.” One thing they do that is helpful is record everything automatically. They also do a live meeting transcript, which is also recorded and available to all attendees. This appears to be the most integrated system I have seen. Linux has no coherent way of doing this and lacks the hardware in any event. Apple has the hardware (mostly), and has the seamless integration figured out, but they lack the focus on business needs and instead focus on consumer integration.

This is really starting to look closer to the Microsoft Office Future Visions videos produced back in 2009 and 2011.

The idea of the personal wellbeing features are kind of gimmicky at first but will likely appeal to some people. This is all integrated and reported on in what they term workplace analytics which is in and of itself an interesting idea if not used to be Orwellian.

The big hurdle to overcome is employee training and proficiency. They really need a group similar to developer advocates that can go to companies, train employees, and then follow up for supplemental support. This is how many of Microsoft’s big ideas end up dying. The big idea is sound, but the integration in a company falls apart because few understand what the products do, how they integrate, and how to leverage them in the workplace. It is possible they already have a group to do this and I am simply ignorant of the whole thing but based on observations of my wife’s company and its integration of Microsoft Teams, they are not getting around.

I am not exactly a Microsoft user, not because of any principle involved, but the companies I have worked for simply don’t use many of their products. I really see the value here and hope it succeeds.