Dan Truax General Manager, Global Partner Solutions

Preparing to navigate the return to work

People with masks at work

The mass exodus to remote work earlier this year left many companies scrambling to provide access to corporate networks, adopt digital tools, and secure workers against new cyberthreats. As a result, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said our company observed “two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” Now, leaders predict an even greater challenge looms on the horizon: returning to the office.

Many organizations don’t plan to send employees back to the workplace for at least a few months, so starting this conversation now may feel premature to some. However, regardless of if you’ve started bringing workers back to the office or you’re waiting for patiently for the right factors to align, your organization should take ample time to carefully plan a smooth transition. There are a variety of factors you’ll want to account for, including bringing your people back in phases, setting rules around sanitation and social distancing, maintaining cybersecurity throughout the transition, and ensuring employees retain access to the tools and data they need to perform their jobs.

Technology will continue to play a critical role in protecting the safety and productivity of employees throughout this entire process. This provides a unique opportunity for the Microsoft Partner Network, but it will likely require planning your approach for your own organization before you can provide guidance for your customers. I’ve compiled a roundup of recently published resources that can help your organization, or your customers’ organizations, prepare effectively, including:

  • A blog post on how partners can work together to help customers return to the workplace
  • A blog post that investigates three ways technology can help protect employees during the return to the office
  • A look at how Shifts functionality in Microsoft Teams can publish open spaces to employees and limit employees returning to the office based on location
  • A second piece on how office managers or departmental admins can support the return to work by using Shifts for space management, sending daily guidance, and providing a solution for topical Q&A and incident reporting capabilities

While navigating this journey is bound to involve unique challenges for all of us, Microsoft is here to support you every step of the way. I’m confident that as we rely on each other, we’ll be empowered to provide the solutions and guidance that our customers need to achieve long-term success.