Creating a workplace where productivity & output are valued not facetime


Shared by 
Jace Moreno
Microsoft, Global Customer Success Lead

Jace Moreno, Global Customer Success Lead at Microsoft, explores how new ways of working can create a workplace where productivity and output are valued over facetime. Learn about the unlimited possibilities leveraging by Klaxoon and Microsoft Teams can offer.

The Remote Teamwork Challenge

As Global Customer Success Lead at Microsoft, Jace Moreno knows firsthand how exciting the potential for new ways of working can be. 

His job is to work with customers to bring their investments into a Microsoft Teams experience, adding value and capabilities along the way. It’s a role which demonstrates a huge amount of innovation from companies all over the world. 

Moreno himself describes it as operating at the intersection between culture and psychology – not somewhere new, but somewhere within organizations that is increasingly front and center of their whole cultural identity.

When Covid hit, a lot of the people Moreno works with recognized very quickly that they could do a lot more and a lot faster once they were working remotely. In terms of teamwork, this offers up both opportunities and challenges. 

And as part of a global team of 30 who are all remote, he understands these challenges personally – scheduling team meetings for example so that everyone can participate can be particularly tricky.

Accelerated Change 

According to Morena, he’s heard many different organizations say that they’ve been thinking about digital transformation for a number of years but have been able to deliver it in 2, 3 4 or 5 days! Necessity truly can be the mother of invention.

But although it’s been empowering to see how quickly they can move, becoming digital is foundational – it’s what happens next that is so important. Of course, business continuity had to happen, but you can’t just replicate the office culture online, there’s a great deal more to teamwork that needs to be considered.

At Klaxoon we’re all about teams coming together and working efficiently – it’s where the magic happens, yet for years there has been the perception that time spent in the office, no matter how passive, is what truly counts. 

Let’s look at the stats: evidence suggests that 80% of American workers check their email while on vacation, while 80% of British workers admit to going into work when they’re sick.  So how do we shift this mindset? Can we even do so?

Unlearning to Change

Moreno believes a lot of this is about unlearning behaviors and thinking about the characteristics of efficient teamwork. You can distill the process down to three things: trust, accountability and empowerment. 

Trust comes from leadership, while accountability is about making people responsible for what they do and giving them back the ownership to adjust their day and work as they see fit. The empowerment part is about having the flexibility to do things in your own way. 

He explains that at Microsoft, employees are politely expected to challenge the status quo, but he is clear that this doesn’t mean reinventing the wheel.

While the pandemic has shown that the naysayers were largely wrong – productivity is higher, people are happier, it has also created a shift in the balance between work and life. 

Employees are now typically seeing a 240% increase in the number of phone calls they make and receive as well as many more emails and video conferences than ever before.  And since we know that activity is not the same thing as productivity, therein lies the problem.

Moreno counsels that we should think about what our foundational minimums are – be careful not to expect too much of people, but be clear about how you will work, and the behaviors you expect from them. 

Nobody is perfect, and it’s easy to slip back into old ways of doing things, but teams can and should find ways to gently hold each other accountable.

In practice, this might look like respecting that your colleague may not respond to emails immediately; not scheduling a meeting without an agenda; or putting short ‘no work chat’ meetings into the calendar to relieve the pressure of home working.

Results: Habits and Hacks Over Silver Bullets

Having spent a great deal of time thinking about this, Moreno believes the way to ‘fix’ the problem of productivity vs facetime, is to work in a more asynchronous way. What does this mean? Well, he likes to think of it as ‘I’ll get to it when it suits me’.

Not everything needs an immediate response so he has stopped reacting as though it does: switching off notifications and focusing on what actually needs to get done. 

Learning how to say no, and to do so on your own terms isn’t easy, but with a tech stack that’s never been as heavy as it is today, it’s vital. 

Moreno says he likes to think of small work hacks he can make, or habits he can change that may only save him a few seconds per day, but which will all add up over the space of a year.

He tells customers that it’s about bringing tools together to leverage then in new ways and this is something which starts at the very top – with business leaders empowering their people to use their tools to find more effective and efficient ways of working.

For most organizations, it’s not about rip and replace anymore, it’s all about leveraging the tools you already have to align your common goals.

It may be tempting to build something new, after all, it’s exciting to create something all your own, but the interoperability of tools is advantageous because there are so many common themes impacting on organizations at the moment. Self-serve and process automation are great examples of this – finding simple ways to solve issues – freeing up time for subject matter experts to work on more productive projects.

Moreno cites the fact of bringing MS Teams and Klaxoon together at Microsoft as a great example of this: changing the way his team works with customers during workshops by bringing together the ideation session at the end.

hands on a laptop on a desk

By working with what you’ve got it is possible to not only save large amounts of money, but speed up your digital transformation journey and still get a great ROI.

“If I know there are better ways to get things done, I won’t shy away from it” says Moreno, and it’s clear he does more than just talk the talk. But what happens now? We can never fully recreate the office online, but we can get a better balance and cultural adjustment.

And it may just be the case that the new normal – this hybrid way of working is going to be pleasantly surprising. We just need to take it one step at a time… try not to overwhelm people and start with quick easy wins that will get teams on board.

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