What is Microsoft Loop & How Can Our Company Use It?
The impact of COVID-19 is expected to reverberate for years to come – especially in the workplace. While some offices have re-opened, a recent Families in Australia Survey found that 67% of employees sometimes or always working from home, compared to 42% pre-COVID.
In this new paradigm, employees need new tools to work, collaborate and communicate in remote settings. Many businesses will have increased their use of Microsoft applications like Teams during the lockdown.
As we embrace the new world of work – that is, a hybrid one – Microsoft has recently announced a new workplace application: Microsoft Loop. Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, called Microsoft Loop “the next big breakthrough in Microsoft 365.”
The app has some pretty exciting features that can help Australian businesses better transition to hybrid work.
What is Microsoft Loop?
Microsoft Loop is explicitly designed for the hybrid working world – where employees are often working on projects remotely. At its core, Loop enables real-time, efficient and effortless collaboration. It combines elements of three classic Microsoft applications (documents, spreadsheets and presentations) into a single interface that multiple employees can see and use, with the service syncing as they work, no matter where they are.
If Loops sounds a little familiar to you, that might be because you’ve used Microsoft Fluid Office. Loop is an evolution of Fluid Office with greater functionality and some new work-streams.
Here’s everything you need to know about the three components of Microsoft Loop.
Loop Components are small content pieces that users can share and update in real-time – like notes, to-do lists, voting polls and tables. For people working remotely, Loop Components can have several benefits. For example, if your employees are working on a project that has to pass through multiple approvals, they can use Loop Components to create a live status tracker.
In due course, Loop components will be available across Microsoft 365 productivity apps like Outlook and OneNote. Currently, it has only been released in Teams, where it can be found in the chat function.
Once Loop is fully launched as its own application, these components will also exist in the central Microsoft Loop hub, known as Loop Workspaces. This is like a shared project board, where your employees can view their Loop components in their entirety and see who is working on what.
Loop Workspaces is expected to launch next year – although Microsoft hasn’t set the actual release date yet.
Loop Pages is the canvas on which employees can embed, share and keep track of their Loop components. The pages feature sits within Loop Workspaces. Your employees will be able to create pages for their different teams and share data like links, files, components, and more.
Pages, essentially, is like a whiteboard, enabling real-time collaboration between your employees as if they were in the same room together.
How Can Microsoft Loop Help Your Company
Microsoft Loop can help your employees to collaborate better and communicate as they work from home. According to Asana, 77% of Australian and New Zealand workers feel burnt out while working from home. To combat this, employers need to look at the tools they are equipping their people with and ensure they facilitate – rather than hinder – remote working.
While Microsoft 365 has many tools that enable remote collaboration, they tend to work in isolation, making for a clunky user experience. With Loop, your employees can access everything they need – and talk to their colleagues – from one central interface.
Microsoft highlights the following as the three main benefits of working with Loop:
Work Together, Even When Apart
The tool it designed for co-creation and fluid brainstorming between teams, even though many of them now work in different locations.
See Everything In One Place
App-switching breaks concentration can hurt productivity flow. Loop brings multiple bits of data (files, links, etc.) into a single workspace, reducing the need to open different apps to access project information.
Stay in Sync & On Track
The syncing capability in Loop eliminates the need to go back and forth between your work and the data source to update information. Loop is synced with each data source, so your work is always kept updated.
Loop’s tracking capability ensures everyone knows what’s going on and can interact meaningfully with notifications, highlighted changes, and more.
Loop Components is already available for Teams. However, the application itself is expected to launch in 2022. Meanwhile, your company can help your people familiarise themselves with Microsoft Loop by integrating it into Teams.
Get Help Making the Most of Your Microsoft 365 Experience
GKM2 can assist your Sydney area business to ensure your users are taking advantage of all the time and cost-saving features inside Microsoft 365.
Contact us today to learn more. Call +61 2 9161 7171 or reach out online.