Coronavirus has turned our world upside down, but nowhere has its effects been more profound than in business. The way we work – and, more importantly, where we work – is changing forever.
While some changes caused by Coronavirus will no doubt revert once the virus is gone, it’s unlikely the move towards remote working is going abate any time soon. The home office is likely here to stay.
Our future is home-working
As more and more of us become accustomed to the advantages of working from home (and, likewise, more companies slowly realize they don’t need to cover the massive overhead of having fancy premises), home-working is going to become a significant part of everyone’s lives.
Indeed, the take-up of home-working has been so profound and widespread that major companies are having to rethink their strategies and product offerings. Where once work-oriented products were targeted strictly for an office environment, there has been a considerable shift towards provision for home workers – including revised networking, communication, security, and storage solutions bundled as an integral part of software packages.
Office becomes 365
In line with this trend, industry giant Microsoft has started to address a whole new market with its redesigned range of Office products. The shift and emphasis have been so great that the company has gone so far as dropping the ‘Office” moniker in favor of a more general ‘365’ name.
The transformation is more than just a simple name change, though. Instead, the entire range and scope of the 365 products have been shifted as part of an overall strategy change envisaged by the company to target and cater to individual users.
Microsoft’s new market focus
According to Jared Spataro (corporate VP of Microsoft 365), the new tools bundled as part of Microsoft 365 will achieve Microsoft’s new concept of helping “people and businesses throughout the world realize their full potential.”
You’ll note the emphasis on “people” as well as “business” in that statement. With its new product line up, Microsoft is targeting individuals as much as companies.
Microsoft 365 cloud storage – work anywhere
As part of its basic 365 package, Microsoft 365 offers individual users a massive 1Tb of online storage, which can be synced across devices (desktop, laptop, tablet, or cellphone), allowing users to access and work on files anywhere.
Microsoft 365 bridges the gap between home and office
The Microsoft 365 family will still feature Business and Enterprise editions aimed at larger organizations. However, as users will be working in essentially the same environment (and the same base platform), there will be cross-compatibility between each, further blurring the distinction between home and office.
Microsoft 365 security
With more home workers comes an increased need for robust security provisions. According to risk-consulting firm Kroll, approximately 90 percent of data breaches were caused by human error in 2017-18, and it is generally acknowledged that workers pose the greatest security threat to all companies. Microsoft addresses this with in-built, scalable protection. However, to get the most comprehensive cover, it’s still best to enlist the help of a recognized Microsoft 365 security company to set up your remote network.
Microsoft 365 family subscriptions
In line with its move toward the individual, Microsoft 365 is also available in a reduced-price, family subscription catering for six. Prices vary, but you can expect to pay around one third more on the basic subscription – another clear sign from Microsoft showing its intentions to provide for individuals.
Microsoft 365 and AI
It seems these days, everything around us is getting “smart,” and Microsoft 365 is no exception. Even in these early days of the product, Microsoft has engineered Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the product in the form of Microsoft Editor. MS Editor scans text, offering auto-corrections, suggestions, and even monitoring for plagiarism in what you write. More impressively, the powerful editor isn’t just limited to MS products – it even works online, on the web, on social media platforms, and on your mobile devices. A veritable powerhouse personal editor to improve the way you write.