Just in case corporate real estate professionals want to know how Microsoft is handling the return to work,  CEO Satya Nadella has published a fascinating LinkedIn post that reveals sharp insights about how Microsoft is addressing the remote work vs. office work paradox: 

  • There is no single standard or blueprint for hybrid work. Every organization’s approach will need to be different to meet the unique needs of their people. According to our research, the vast majority of employees say they want more flexible remote work options, but at the same time also say they want more in-person collaboration, post-pandemic. This is the hybrid work paradox.
  • Hybrid work represents the biggest shift to how we work in our generation. And it will require a new operating model, spanning people, places, and processes. 
  • In this new era of hybrid work, we will no longer rely solely on shared physical location or a campus to collaborate, connect, or build social capital. But that doesn’t mean physical places and spaces aren’t important. They will just need to be re-imagined.
  • As we think about the design of places themselves, our aim is to maintain consistent person, reference, and task spaces for all employees, whether they are on-site or remote. No matter where people are working, they should have a common view of meeting participants and be able to connect with them. They should always have access to the same shared information. And they should be able to see what everyone in the meeting is collaborating on, whether that is a whiteboard or a document.
  • Creating equitable, inclusive experiences starts with designing for people not in the room. For example, in large meeting rooms in our campus, we are using Microsoft Teams Rooms with high-quality audio and video to ensure everyone can be seen, be heard, and participate as if they were there in person. We are even integrating social cues through emojis and reactions.
  • We’re taking the same approach to our smaller focus rooms, too. We are installing cameras at eye level for participants to maintain eye contact, and will incorporate spatial audio so voices come from the specific person speaking in the gallery view.
  • We want to ensure those joining remotely are always first-class participants. Smart cameras in conference rooms will allow them to see individual videos of in-room participants in Teams, to keep the connection as authentic as possible. And, of course, they have the same access to content and presentations as people in the room
  • Finally, we’re excited about the potential of the enterprise metaverse to help organizations transcend space and distance to collaborate virtually in new ways. We’re seeing customers like Accenture, for example, create “nth floor” virtual office experiences where employees can meet new colleagues and have “water cooler moments,” entirely in mixed reality.