O365…Oh Oh 24/7!

Will the launch of Office 365 bring a 24/7 culture to work?

Many large companies are getting on-board and rolling out O365 across the company and replacing their physical land based servers with cloud storage.

A recent server outage at work brought about a heightened sense of urgency to get O365 over the line. So what will O365 bring?

  • Access to all company drives while out in the field and on the front line.
  • All online employees will be able to access emails, documents, and work at anytime.
  • Colleagues will be able to work collaboratively with others on the spot.
  • No need to ‘get back to the office’ before accessing the company servers.
  • Office 365 comes with various ‘applications’ that will make work more accessible, more collaboratively and more unavoidable!

Yes I said it… unavoidable! 

With all our work at our fingertips it will be a struggle to avoid looking at work out of office hours.

I mean ‘work‘ is coming to our devices. In a global company work will find you 24/7!
So how do we maintain a healthy work life balance with work literally at our fingertips every hour of every day?.

Microsoft Office 365 comes with various collaborative and connectivity apps that could result in our devices pinging and popping at all hours, day and night.

Imagine this…

…Your colleague sends you a message at 9pm on a Friday evening, saying “I need that document before close of play, please could you share the file?” It’s already ‘close of play‘ for you, but for your colleague in USA it’s only 4pm and she urgently needs that file.

What do you do? Ignore her, knowing it will only take you a moment to share the file! And there the snowball effect begins.

Or maybe you see your colleague chatting away with your boss on a Yammer or Project group and you know that networking out of hours is a sure way to get noticed and maybe even be taken more seriously. I certainly know of a few people who feel pressured to work out of hours to impress the boss in the hopes of that elusive promotion / bonus.

O365 is a productive move for most forward thinking companies as it connects us and removes barriers and could be a total dream platform for those anxious to be noticed and climb the career ladder and a complete nightmare for those who are desperately trying to maintain a balance between career and family.

Will O365 cause an even wider divide between the workaholics and the work-life balance crowd? 

The work-life balance crew may need to consider, what may be more stressful…Working out of hours or seeing others work after hours and potentially watch them reap the rewards.
The key to fairness and success here sits with a line manager who is aware of the opportunities and dilemmas that O365 will bring to the team and will openly discourage and avoid work outside of hours. A line manager who values a healthy work-life balance for their team, a manager who will discourage out of hours working.

What approach should Internal Communications take?

How will you encourage your work force to embrace O365 as a productive company platform for a more streamlined work flow, while at the same time discouraging employees from over working, and seeking a health life style.

As an Internal Communications Manager, I will be carefully planning our O365 roll-out communications and before I hit ‘send’ I will be making sure we aren’t sending any (24/7 work ethic) subliminal message to our employees.

3 thoughts on “O365…Oh Oh 24/7!

Add yours

  1. Hi Clare,

    Excellent article and definitely something to think about. As a parent to a young child I am very conscious that the work/life balance needs to be right – and needs to be maintained.

    In some ways I think Office 365 could actually help, rather than hinder. In your example above regarding file sharing – if at the outset of the project or work task, the file or folder permissions are already set so that your transatlantic colleagues already have access then this issue wouldn’t even arise. User education of course is key to ensuring this happens effectively and consistently.

    That Yammer and ‘chat’ is something that of course cannot be avoided, however it does of course take 2 (or more) to have the conversation in the first place and you already point out that it is the line management responsibility to ensure that work-life balance is correct. This is a culture change which of course is much harder to achieve but something I know many HR departments are now focussing on in today’s connected, ‘always-on’ world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Total agree James, HR, in particular ‘Health & Wellbeing’ should focus on educating employees on how to manage that ‘always on’ world. And for our generation that will be easier than the coming generation of colleagues who were born in a ‘continually on’ world.
      Those teens who are inseparable from their device of choice. If ‘we’ are not careful work related stress may take hold. So it is our responsibility to ensure effective user education and consistent monitoring to land this correctly.


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