I’ve seen many professional services companies that were early adopters of hybrid work due to the knowledge-based nature of their practices. However, as we all know, the pandemic dramatically accelerated the shift, proving that hybrid work could scale.
A recent study from the Harvard Business Review (HBR) finds the “increase in remote work stems not just from tangible benefits such as time and cost savings, but also from the simple fact that remote work has proven its viability in people’s own experiences. More than half of [recent survey] respondents (58 percent) [anticipating] an increase say it’s because remote work has been normalized and well tested.”1
In fact, some of the biggest names in professional services have taken action to stay competitive in this new world. PwC, KPMG, and EY have all announced new programs offering flexibility in work scheduling and delivery. 2, 3, 4
It’s clear hybrid work is here to stay—and that doesn’t just mean working remotely. According to the HBR study, “86 percent of survey respondents agree that the digital workplace must integrate and coexist with the physical workplace for the foreseeable future.” Getting that integration right is key to driving productivity, collaboration, and client and employee satisfaction. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to start making the shift to hybrid work today.
“More than three-quarters of respondents (77%) agree that a digital workplace is essential to operating a data-driven business.”—Harvard Business Review Research Report
Considering digital choreography
I like to think about this mission through the concept of, what one client termed, Digital Choreography (DC). DC refers to how technology and data are connected across different stakeholders to serve different needs with maximum efficiency. This is especially important in professional services where the flow of information is so critical to success.
Creating an exceptional experience
In my work with professional services firms, I’ve noticed three factors that distinguish those with a standout hybrid work experience.
- They focus on people: Instead of thinking in terms of technical specifications, start with how you want to empower employees and clients and choose technologies that support the desired outcome. For example, if you are focused on improving the employee experience, explore Microsoft Viva, which brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights in the flow of work.
- They think ahead: During the pandemic, some organizations chose to buy point solutions as a reaction to emerging needs. They ended up with a hodgepodge of solutions that are difficult to manage and don’t always work well together. Think about what you want hybrid work to look like in five years, not five weeks. To help get you started, Microsoft offers Art of the Possible events on hybrid-work topics such as reimagining the employee experience, redefining collaboration, and making the most of collaborative apps.
- They provide agile support: When people work from anywhere, the way they access technical support changes significantly. Delivering on client expectations means support needs to be accessible and effective whenever and wherever it’s needed.
Empowering your company and clients with solutions built for hybrid work
Through digital choreography and a strategic approach to hybrid work, you not only become more competitive—you help clients drive digital transformation and growth, as well. Microsoft cloud solutions including Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics, and Microsoft Azure can empower your organization to thrive with integrated technology, human-centric experiences, and constant innovation.
I’m excited by all the ways our technology can help your team thrive in a hybrid world.
 Deliver the best remote working experience, Verizon, 2021.
 PwC announces new flexible work deal for employees, PwC, 2021.
 KPMG unveils the ‘four-day fortnight’ for 16,000 staff, KPMG, 2021.
 EY confirms move to hybrid working model, EY, 2021.