Microsoft Teams strengthens business management functions for frontline employees

The key users of Microsoft Teams are white-collar workers, but there are also a number of elements for front-line employees, such as retail workers, field technicians, and hospital staff. On the 12th, Microsoft unveiled several new features to help collaborate with these employees, especially those in retail stores. 

Usually, when investing in digital tools, frontline workers usually spend less time at their desks and are often overlooked because the primary computing device is likely to be a smartphone rather than a laptop. However, according to Microsoft, it is a significant market with more than 2 billion frontline employees worldwide. In response, Microsoft has updated several features in Teams in recent years to accommodate those on the edge of the organization. 

For example, there are functions that allow you to use your smartphone like a walkie-talkie, Kaizala, a messenger similar to WhatsApp, and the Shifts app for scheduling work. All of these features are available in dedicated teams for frontline workers. 

Among the features added this time is the ability for management teams to create and publish tasks in Microsoft Tasks, Teams' dedicated management app. The task posting feature allows managers to create lists of tasks that are distributed to employees in local stores, for example, and summarize tasks that need to be performed at each location.

According to the use case provided by Microsoft, this feature is helpful for the company-wide 'rebranding' task. In a blog post, Microsoft said, “Companies with retail stores nationwide create a display-related job required for store reopening, attach a planogram to this job, and send the list to stores in the relevant region only "You can track progress on assigned tasks."

Administrators can check task lists and assign tasks to individuals. Employees can connect to Teams on a mobile device to indicate that the task has been completed, and attach a photo if necessary.

Angela Ashenden, the chief analyst at CCS Insights, said this feature shows that Microsoft is continuing to focus on evolving Teams as a platform for front-line workers.

“Microsoft is targeting a scenario where frontline workers currently rely on manual or ad hoc methods. You can manage tasks in a more centralized and transparent way, giving individuals more visibility and control. The new job posting feature is a good example of this, and it fits well with the shift management and team communication features already in Teams.”

Meanwhile, Microsoft has released an automatic authorization feature that simplifies the payment process for all users. It also announced support for integration with workforce management software Blue Yonder and Zebra Technologies.

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