Tech for Everyone: Microsoft Teams for Firstline Workers

Given how technology is empowering employees across industries or verticals, firstline workers cannot afford to be left out of this transformational pathway. Firstline workers comprise over two billion people spread around the world, working in service- or task-oriented roles, spanning sectors such as retail, travel, hospitality, and manufacturing.

In most cases, firstline workers have access to a set of tools which are meant for desktops – impacting location and device-agnostic communication capabilities.

This is a major issue, given that 24/7 on-the-go connectivity is critical for those who work on the front lines, like in healthcare, for instance.

With three new upgrades, Microsoft Teams for Firstline Workers is geared to address this vital gap.

Team Mobile Experience and other mobility features

Given how many Firstline Workers operate in environments where sharing information is a live scenario, they often use unprotected consumer chat apps to achieve the same. Clearly, this has major compliance and security issues.

The first upgrade offers greater customisation options, letting Firstline Workers communicate and collaborate wherever they are, whenever. The feature is rich in UX design and is simple to navigate, with common mobile only plugins such as location sharing, smart camera, and recording & sharing of audio messages.

Further, to strengthen security, the Microsoft Teams admin/IT admin can provide role-based access to the features. IT teams can also create a custom policy or leverage the Firstline Work configuration policy template.

A new API-based Shifts feature

Shift scheduling, benefits & payroll management, and time & attendance tracking are everyday activities for Firstline Workers. Microsoft Teams is working on an array of APIs which will integrate existing workforce management systems with the Teams architecture.

The first API is a graph API for Shift, Microsoft Teams’ schedule management tool – making the integration between Shifts and enterprise scheduling systems more streamlined and seamless.

Out for public preview this quarter, managers will be able to plan shift schedules, team members can review their work allocation and ask for requests – all in real time.

Make acknowledgement smarter and easier – the ‘Praise’ feature

The Firstline ecosystem is regularly plagued with high turnover rates, a constant worry for organisations. The new Praise tool looks at improving Firstline Worker morale and enthusiasm by letting managers recognise exemplary contributions right in the Teams app, where everybody can see and share the same.

A final word

In 2018, Microsoft said that its StaffHub application would be retired as of October 1, 2019 – in other words, placing the Shifts capabilities into Microsoft Teams. The company is also eager to tap into the Firstline Worker market for its Microsoft Office 365 products. This is an intelligent move, considering how technology, connectivity, collaboration, and visibility is a must-have for any employee, regardless of grade or role.

Clearly, it’s time for the Firstline Worker to embrace tech and change how everyday activities play out.


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