Returning to Work with Microsoft Teams and Shifts
Eventually, the working week will start to look a little more like its old self, as more of us return to that familiar office environment.
Shifts still has plenty to offer both frontline and remote workers however, and now that it’s available for free for anyone with a Microsoft 365 subscription, there’s no better time to get acquainted with the new software.
What is Shifts?
Shifts is a scheduling tool available from within Microsoft Teams that allows team owners to create, edit and manage schedules for users. Team owners can add users to their schedule as needed, assigning tasks and timeframes as they see fit; users, similarly, can use Shifts to request time off, book holidays or create ‘free’ shifts which can be booked as users see fit.
Everything you and your team share or request within Shifts is visible to all members, so team owners can immediately approve or decline requests, update users on upcoming events, and allow team members to arrange their shifts around one another.
Your Shifts schedules are all shared amongst members in private or public groups, making it easy for everyone in a Team to schedule free time, arrange collaborative periods or plan around one another’s schedules. By assigning tasks and deadlines, it can also be used to manage workloads, projects or other expectations.
Like all Teams add-ons, Shifts can be activated from the ‘Teams Apps’ panel within Teams, and can easily be rolled out amongst all users in a business – whatever their department.
Implementing Return to Work with Shifts
As businesses re-introduce office working, many may want to do so under strict, socially distanced circumstances. With Shifts, team owners can delegate times and spaces for ‘hot-desking’ measures, ensuring employees are appropriately distanced by time and location.
For example, an admin may create a new schedule for their teams with numerous ‘free’ shifts, each one designated to a certain desk and time. Members of that team will then be able to request these on a first-come, first-served basis.
Shifts has been developed with a ‘mobile-first’ ethic, designed as it is to keep employees updated as quickly and clearly as possible. The clean, clear interface of the Shifts mobile app makes it easy to track any updates and amendments to the designated schedules while simplifying the way that users request free slots. However gradually (or indeed, however soon!) you want to make the transition to office working, the Shifts app ensures that employees are in the loop, however far afield they are.
For those looking to take advantage of more advanced Windows features, Shifts is also compatible with Microsoft’s Power Automate, making it easier than ever to, for example, automate the approvals process or release ‘free’ working slots for users. Your custom workflows dictate how, why and when a process is automated, allowing you to set strict conditions and qualifiers.
Shifts is a powerful new addition to the Teams environment and with the right strategy can lay the foundation of a smooth return-to-work procedure. For more information and a brief video introduction to Shifts, head on over to Microsoft’s landing page.