We have been utilizing Office 365 at the University of Maryland, Baltimore for the past few years. Office 365 offers many tools and services that are all geared to make our work lives easier, more accessible, and more flexible. It started small — we first focused on OneDrive, Office Online, and how to access these tools through the Office 365 Portal. Then we introduced SharePoint, which allows for team collaboration. Shortly thereafter came Teams, which is another team collaboration tool.
We’ve been gradually adding more features and programs to the UMB Office 365 workspace; however, each of these tools was a standalone. You could use one, or two, or maybe all of them — but each one was used as its own distinct tool.
This is changing! Because of Microsoft’s continuing efforts, the Office 365 platform is now mobile-friendly, robust, and beneficial, due to the new modern workplace.
What Is the Modern Workplace?
Using Office 365, the modern workplace provides an environment where people can store, sync, and securely share their work files across multiple devices and access them anywhere, anytime. It utilizes numerous real-time collaboration tools to improve how working groups and teams access content and collaborate, thus improving communication and productivity. These tools enable individual users to access and share files, emails, discussions, calendars, videos, and many other programs with their teams and other teams across the campus.
What Exactly Is Changing?
If you’ve been using any of the Office 365 tools, you may wonder what exactly does this mean, how will things be different?
When we first introduced Office 365 at UMB, each tool was promoted as serving a specific function. With the updates by Microsoft, all the tools we’ve had access to are now intertwined and serve many functions.
- OneDrive is still used for your personal work files, but OneDrive also is an access point for ALL of your files — regardless of where they are stored or who they are shared with.
- For team collaboration, instead of having to choose between SharePoint and Teams, your department/group/project team now gets both. If you are a part of a number of different groups, Office 365 provides easy access to all of them.
- Teams offers a chat-based approach to communication to quickly and easily communicate with your team.
- Additional tools, such as Office Online, OneNote, and Planner, can be used in conjunction with all of the above.
Using the Office 365 modern workplace provides a more seamless approach to information you need to complete your job from any location AND ways for you to discuss it with others in your team — whether that’s a department, cross-campus group working on a project/committee/initiative, student organization, multiple departments collaborating on a common project, or an ad-hoc group that needs to discuss a topic.
Please keep an eye out for new and updated Office 365 classes and sessions to help you learn more about Office 365 as the modern workplace. We’ll be announcing them soon!