What is Microsoft Modern Workplace?

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Caroline Mayou


The nature of the workplace has transformed in recent years. This evolution is due to technological advances, among economic disruptions, such as COVID-19. In today’s work, employees expect to work securely from anywhere and on any device. Furthermore, workers today understand the importance of work that enriches and fulfills their lives. For this reason, when the productivity tools they leverage, like using Microsoft 365, enhance the quality and effectiveness of their work experience, employees are happier, more valuable, and more likely to stay in their role.s. It is a company’s responsibility to provide this level of digital transformation and empowerment, while also protecting their IT assets, general infrastructure, and security of the business. This blog post is written for CTOs and CIOs managing productivity suites and security tooling within their businesses who are looking to revolutionize their workplace by modernizing it. In this article, I’ll be discussing the importance of a modern workplace solution for businesses in the current year while answering the question, “What is Microsoft’s Modern Workplace offering?”

Why is a Modern Workplace Important?

The ability for employees to work from anywhere in the world and still be able to make communications and collaborations is more important than ever. In a post-COVID-19 world, an increasing amount of organizations are allowing their employees to work remotely, utilizing the suite of Microsoft 365 technologies and productivity solutions to help customers maintain efficiency. There is also an increasing need for those who travel to be able to continue collaborating with colleagues in the business and accessing information while away. For these reasons, the ability to keep identities, devices, applications, and data secure becomes a top priority to businesses of all industries across the globe.


According to the Forbes article, ‘The Coronavirus Pandemic is Driving Huge Growth in Remote Freelance Work’, there has been a 140% growth in remote work with nonself–employed workers since 2005. The article also identified a 22% increase in workers who were telecommuting between 2017 and 2018. This increase in remote work is outside of the 2020 global Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic alone drove a three-fold increase in telecommuting.


Studies have forecasted that this increase will continue as businesses determine that they are able to retain employees by offering them a remote work option. Certain studies have shown that retention rates could increase as far as 10% in the current year, saving organizations approximately $11,000 per employee through cost avoidance.


The savings covered above are a clear incentive for organizations like yours to provide remote work services to their employees and provide their IT team with proper governance tooling and best practice guidance that brings value to employees while maintaining the level of security and compliance they require.


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What is Microsoft Modern Workplace?

Microsoft’s Modern Workplace is a stack of products designed to improve employee productivity and satisfaction by driving seamless communication, ensuring device security and compliance, and generally promoting collaboration within the organization. Within the Modern Workplace offering, Microsoft boasts the inclusion of Microsoft 365 Solution, Windows 10 Enterprise, and Enterprise Mobility + Security, which includes a variety of productivity and collaboration tools designed to enable modern ways of working while keeping the organization secure. For example, a Microsoft 365 E3 license would include workplace technology modern tools such as  Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, Power Automate, OneNote, Outlook, Access, Publisher, Visio (web), Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, Yammer, Viva, and Delve.

The Benefits of Microsoft Modern Workplace

In the Forbes article, ‘5 Proven Benefits of Remote Work for Companies’, it was observed that employees who are provided with the opportunity to work remotely have a renewed commitment to their job and a drive to exceed their goals. Thanks to the flexibility of working from home, employees have a renewed passion to perform in their roles. At scale, this increases employee productivity of the entire workforce and in turn, benefits the organization, maintaining the Security within the Microsoft Ecosystem. Furthermore, the same article states that employees who are satisfied with their roles and committed to their job experience have up to 41% less absenteeism.


Providing employees with a flexible and remote workplace can also increase retention. According to a Helppier article, ‘Remote Work and Its Increasing Popularity’, many employees voice that they would be likely to change positions if their role became available with remote flexibility.


These combined benefits to employees equate to better performance, productivity, and engagement which leads to higher profitability for the business.

Providing employees with a flexible and remote workplace can also increase retention. According to a Helppier article, ‘Remote Work and Its Increasing Popularity’, many employees voice that they would be likely to change positions if their role became available with remote flexibility. 

These combined benefits to employees equate to better performance, productivity, and engagement which leads to higher profitability for the business.  

Addressing Key Challenges in a Remote Workplace

IT teams looking to modernize and automate their workplace and offer remote flexibility run into three common challenges which can be addressed by Microsoft’s Modern Workplace offering: 

  1. Protecting personal and company data while allowing users to work remotely
  2. Maintaining regulatory compliance while allowing users to work remotely with full control over their desktop from any device
  3. Determining how information and apps are accessed, shared, and stored, to ensure bad actors do not have access to user devices

Microsoft has put serious thought into its Modern Workplace offerings to directly tackle the above challenges in a seamless and comprehensive way. Below, I will provide insight into how Microsoft offers businesses the ability to create a secure and remote modern workplace.

Microsoft Teams: Driving Remote Meetings & Calls

Microsoft Teams delivers engaging experiences that can help employees work efficiently and stay connected to collaborators wherever they are and on any device. Businesses can think of Microsoft Teams as a teamwork hub that offers meetings and calls. Many customers who were previously leveraging Skype for cross-company communication, have migrated to Teams to take advantage of meeting rooms, telephony offerings, and its document management capabilities, enhanced by using the suite of Microsoft technologies.

Meetings within Microsoft Teams offer a high-definition audio and video experience that allows employees to interact and collaborate seamlessly, regardless of their network or device. Teams can be used for one-on-one video calls or larger conference-style meetings. Microsoft also offers Teams Live Events for harnessing the power of the cloud for hosting global live events that can be delivered to thousands of users.

Past the collaboration on files, chat services, and conference calling, Microsoft Teams can also be used to integrate into or replace a traditional phone system. Some businesses may not be comfortable fully moving to Teams as their phone system because of security, or niche technology integration dependencies. For this reason, Microsoft Teams can complement the existing phone system. Microsoft offers a Microsoft Teams Calling Plan which acts as a telephony system directly embedded inside Teams.

Azure and Endpoint Management: Securing Remote Work Services

An increase in remote workers means a need to deploy secure remote work capabilities to employees, ensuring the integrity of systems and data. Businesses can look to Microsoft for identity and access management, workplace security, mobile device management, device deployment, and management, and help to govern their Windows environments. When architecting a secure remote workplace, it should be noted that planning does not end with deployment, especially when implementing Microsoft Modern Workplace Solutions. There is an ongoing management consideration that comes with running cloud systems. For this reason, it is advised to work with a Modern Workplace Live Services Partner that offers managed services across Azure, part of Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, Microsoft 365, Windows, etc. 

Microsoft also provides the tooling and support needed for identity and access management. For example, Azure Active Directory, multi-factor authentication (MFA), Single sign-on, and the monitoring of conditional access activity and policies can contribute to the identity and access management needed in a remote workplace. Once live, a Modern Workplace Partner can provide managed services to support your business’s identity and access management infrastructure by providing support in creating roles and monitoring activities within the environment. Partners can also help create policies and assign role-based access control to determined apps and services. Azure Active Directory (AAD) Governance can help ensure that the right employees have the right access to the right resources. Additional Enterprise Mobility and Security Features included in Microsoft 365 Modern Workplace can help mitigate access risk by protecting, monitoring, and auditing access to critical company assets while ensuring employees stay productive and connected.

Oftentimes, remote work means having to send devices such as laptops, tablets, or cellphones to another state. It can also mean remote onboarding onto devices and applications. Device deployment and management services included in Microsoft’s Modern Workplace stack provide hardware and profile deployment tools like AutoPilot to provide consistent device delivery to employees. A Modern Workplace Partner can help businesses like yours set up the automation of device deployment and continue to manage them for updates and compliance through a live services plan.

Finally, Microsoft offers tools for mobile device management that aid businesses in monitoring and maintaining organizational device compliance with Microsoft security controls, patch updates, and the isolation of sensitive apps when employees choose to use their own devices. A Modern Workplace partner can help businesses configure endpoint management as part of device deployment projects and ensure that devices are properly enrolled and compliant. 


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Getting Started With Modern Workplace Offerings

Now that you’re aware of Microsoft’s Modern Workplace Offerings, you may be curious about how to implement the Microsoft suite tools available to you. Microsoft offers a diversity of programs that can help offset the cost of getting started while providing comprehensive and immersive workshops to help educate your IT team. For example, a Modern Workplace Partner can run you through a ‘Secure Work from Anywhere Workshop’- a two-day engagement that includes:

  • Understanding your business’s objectives and envisioning priority scenarios to enable secure work from anywhere
  • Developing a plan for implementation of a secure work from anywhere, including Microsoft Teams, securing mobile access, and foundational identity and security
  • Defining activation plans, along with risks and mitigations, for a successful deployment and option plan

A Modern Workplace partner can also help you assess a migration strategy if you currently use another tool. Microsoft also offers a program called FastTrack, which comes at no additional cost for businesses with eligible subscriptions to Microsoft 365, Azure, or Dynamics 365. FastTrack can help businesses migrate to and deploy Microsoft Cloud solutions.

A Modern Workplace partner can also help you assess a migration strategy, should you currently be working with another tool. Microsoft also offers a program called FastTrack which comes at no additional cost for businesses with eligible subscriptions to Microsoft 365, Azure or Dynamics 365. FastTrack can help businesses migrate to and deploy Microsoft cloud solutions 


In a world where remote work is becoming the new normal, envisioning and realizing a modern workplace should be every business’s top priority. Not only will your organization attract top talent, but you will be able to drive productivity and efficiency while retaining employees, by leveraging 365 technologies and productivity applications. Explore Microsoft suite of products across the organization that can help businesses create flexible and agile workplaces with the proper tooling and services.

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