Microsoft is keen to helps workers who are not present at their computers all day, with its launch of the new Office 365 on Thursday. The new offering forms part of the company’s enterprise productivity range which assists managers in arranging schedules for deskless workers, such as service technicians or shop employees.
Microsoft would like to promote the use of Office 365 to a broader audience of worker. These workers include those that are not typically spending their time working with word documents or sending emails via Outlook – something that is prominent among the strong following of knowledge workers that use the product
Every user of StaffHub, which can be an employee or manager, requires a subscription to the service. Enterprises can buy the Microsoft Office 365 K1 plan for $5 per month – a good option for deskless workers – and an offering without access to Office desktop apps. StaffHub is also accessible via Microsoft’s E1, E3, and E5 plans.
Upon its launch, StaffHub will be available via a web portal, alongside Android and iOS apps. Bryan Goode, the general manager of Office 365 explained that StaffHub would first be released to market on these selected platforms – transitioning to others in the future.
Staffhub will enable Managers to control work schedules for remote employees and send agreed schedules using a colour coded calendar which can be sent on using the new app. Employees will have the ability to access and swap shifts using the new system – which will then be sent back to the manager for approval.
The app is also useful for file sharing among employees and can be a focal space for sharing company-wide resources. The software also utilises helpful chat capabilities so that multi-dimensional chats can take place between staff and managers.
While Microsoft could have incorporated one of its Teams and Skype For Business chat functions (available with Office 365) into StaffHub, the decision was made to stick to an exclusive and simple chat interface at this stage.
StaffHub has been developed on top of Office 365 Groups, meaning that the file management for the system is simply front facing for a SharePoint site. Administrators that have experience of managing SharePoint can work with StaffHub – they are very alike, although managers can utilise it from a simpler console.
Goode is of the opinion that this is a positive sign for the future of Microsoft 365 among non-traditional office workers:
“And so you should expect to see more of us here, focusing on empowering these staff workers, as well as empowering small businesses, which is a separate category altogether,” he said.