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Did You Know?

A telecommuting policy should address who is eligible to work from home, set expectations about hours, and help workers set up a secure home office.

Key Takeaway

Cloud computing facilitated the rise of remote work by allowing users to access files and specialized applications as if they were in the office.

Advantages of returning to the office

The “new normal” way of working — allowing employees to work in various environments — has benefitted many businesses and their employees. However, returning to the office also has unique perks.

Here are some benefits of returning to an in-office setup that may help businesses determine if a return-to-office mandate is what they need to thrive and grow.

1. Returning to office work will reduce distractions. 

Working in an office reduces many of the common productivity-killing distractions that affect a home office. Office environments tend to be quieter, more focused, and more structured than a WFH setup, where kids, neighbors, pets and so on may interrupt workflow. 

Global Car Accessories owner Muhammed Alkhudri agrees that it can be challenging to concentrate at home. “I have tried to work from home, and I still to this day do that sometimes, but the distractions become much more compelling when you work from home,” Alkhudri noted.

While office environments differ, returning to in-office work often means you’ll be in surroundings designed to ensure as few distractions as possible to boost productivity. 

Tip

Distracted workers cost businesses time and money, leading to productivity loss, inefficiency and overpayment for labor.

Did You Know?

Having everyone in the same office also offers more opportunities for team-building and camaraderie, which can improve employee engagement, collaboration, productivity and company culture.

Key Takeaway

Research from Ergotron says remote workers are more productive, enjoy an improved work-life balance, and have healthier lifestyles.

Business type and industry are crucial considerations

When exploring whether your company should ask employees to return to working onsite, consider the type of business you run. Remote work isn’t an option for businesses that require in-person, customer-facing employees. If your office frequently welcomes clients, having staff onsite is necessary. 

Other businesses have more flexibility. Let’s say you sell online via an e-commerce shop. You have few storage needs and outsource shipping and order fulfillment to a third party. In this case, bringing employees back to an office may not be necessary. There’s no need to incur the expense of a commercial lease. 

Ultimately, you’ll need to weigh your business’s unique needs and culture before mandating a return to the office. Business owners shouldn’t feel pressured by trends or what other companies are doing. Doing what’s best for your organization — and protecting your employees and resources — is most important. 

Tip

Conduct employee surveys to determine how your team feels about working at home vs. returning to the office. Meeting the needs of your top achievers can foster loyalty and employee retention.

Find the right work arrangement for your business

Returning to the office after years of working from home or in a hybrid setup is a huge step. Many businesses can make a case for returning to the office. In fact, this step is inevitable for some. 

However, some organizations may benefit from a hybrid arrangement where some workers report onsite and some work remotely. Offering the best of both worlds may positively impact your employees and the entire organization. 

Business owners must carefully balance the needs of their organization and consider their employees’ best interests before mandating a return to the office. 

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Americans Are Ready To Return To The Office – Just Not Full Time

With a widespread vaccination program taking effect, life is edging back to pre-pandemic normality. Also on its way back? The daily commute back to the office. According to a recent survey, most of us are more than ready to get back to work in person.

While attitudes towards returning to the office varies by country, there’s a real passion from Americans to return to chatting at the water cooler and having meetings face-to-face again. But, does anyone still want to do this for five days in a row?

In a week where Apple has announced that it expects its staff to work in the office three days a week, what is the sweet spot for the modern office worker?

Back to the Office (Some of the Time)

The survey, from Randstad North America, was conducted by interviewing 800 participants per market, focusing on those who work at least 24 hours per week.

Anyone who has become accustomed to their remote working lifestyle may be surprised to hear that an overwhelming number of American office workers do want to get back – some 78%, in fact. That breaks down further as 76% of women wanting to return, versus 81% of men.

78% of office workers want to return to work; but, 54% wish to do so under flexible arrangements

However, there’s a slight caveat attached to this, in that we’re not quite  ready to give up our home comforts entirely just yet.

A slim majority (54%) of those polled said that they preferred a flexible work arrangement that allows them to spread their time between home and the office. It was also the reason that 23% of respondents gave for switching jobs during the pandemic.

23% of respondents switched jobs during the pandemic in order to seek flexible working guarantees

The survey through up some more interesting statistics too. While job satisfaction has fluctuated slightly from pre-pandemic to today, the change has been very slight.

Americans interviewed in Q4 2023 stated a 77% level of job satisfaction. While this dipped in Q2 2023 (72%) and gained in Q4 2023 (79%), it’s now back at 77% again.

Similarly, 30% of those interviewed in Q4 2023 were actively looking for a new job. In Q2 2023, it was 30%, again.

The Highs and Lows of Working from Home

While some of us may have revelled in the chance to work in our pyjamas and gossip with the cat about our colleagues, this wasn’t felt by everyone.

According to the survey, the most negatively affected group were younger workers. The 18 – 24 age group had the highest percentage of those who felt lonely, with more than a third reporting feeling this way.

The study from Randstad points out that the mental health repercussions of this could be serious, with not just productivity at stake, but the well being of the younger employees themselves. Japan’s government has even appointed a ‘minister of loneliness’ to tackle this issue, after the country saw suicide rates rise for the first time in eleven years.

The main reason given for struggling to work at home was due to missing colleagues. After over a year of the closest human interaction being a pixelated Zoom call, it’s easy for most of us to relate to that sentiment.

Around 32% of respondents said they found it difficult to keep a work/life balance. With the ritual of the commute to the office and the physical separation now gone, where does the living room end and your office begin? Extended working hours were also raised as an issue, with virtual working encouraging a culture of being ‘always available’.

In fact, one of the most common asks from employees to their employer was policies on work hours to enable them to keep a work/life balance (27%).

Apple Director Resigns Over Company’s Return To Office Plans

Ian Goodfellow, Apple’s Director of Machine Learning, has resigned in opposition to the company’s return to office policy.

The news comes just days after Apple Together, a cohort of disgruntled Apple employees, penned an open letter expressing their opposition to plans to make spending three days in the office a requirement for the company’s 25,000 Bay Area employees after May 23rd. This will mark the final phase of the company’s gradual return to office strategy, which commenced last June but was then postponed due to Covid fears.

The fact the decision has caused at least one high-profile resignation is unsurprising considering the fact so many other companies are now offering full flexibility in light of its effect on employee wellbeing.

Apple’s Director of Machine Learning Resigns

Ian Goodfellow, Apple’s Director of Machine Learning, is leaving the company due to its return-to-work policy. Journalist Zoe Schiffer broke the story on Twitter, Goodfellow said in a letter to employees that he felt “strongly that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team.”

Goodfellow, a former employee of Google who was a Senior Staff Research Scientist, is a highly respected figure in his field described by journalist Zoe Schiffer as Apple’s “most cited [machine learning] expert.”

He joins the cohort of Apple staffers known as Apple Together in his opposition to the return-to-work mandate.

Apple Together said in an open letter that “three fixed days in the office and the two WFH days broken apart by an office day, is almost no flexibility at all,” and complained that “office-bound work is a technology from the last century, from the era before ubiquitous video-call-capable internet and everyone being on the same internal chat application.”

GAN but not Forgotten

Ian Goodfellow – who has only been an Apple employee since March – headed up the Machine Learning department of Apple’s Special Projects group.

Goodfellow created GANs, a class of machine learning networks where two neural net architectures (generative and discriminative) are put up against one another to generate increasingly accurate outcomes through competition.

Goodfellow’s neural net models have been used to generate deep fakes as well as digital images that are indistinguishable from their copies.

Apple has been attempting to improve its AI capabilities for some time now – and has been acquiring AI startups since 2023, so Goodfellow’s short tenure and principled regulation will be a big blow.

Will more resignations follow?

It’s entirely possible. Many of the companies that would be looking to employ the same sorts of industry leaders, experts, and thinkers – such as Microsoft and Facebook, which also have ongoing AI projects – offer much more flexibility than Apple does when it comes to deciding on working from home.

The pandemic has created a shift in how we conceptualize the working day and, most importantly, has shown exactly how much work can get done without the need for an office – something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. This, combined with a general skills shortage and phenomena like the Great Resignation, means professionals have never been in a better position to demand flexible hours that work for them.

Apple’s return-to-office policy has clearly ruffled the feathers of plenty of employees – but whether any other big names will join Ian Goodfellow remains to be seen.

How Small Businesses Can Unravel The Extended

The conventional wisdom has always held that extended warranties are a sucker’s bet. It’s often said that businesses far and wide—from automakers to computer companies—make more money on the sale of extended warranties than they do from the actual products they make. Consumer Reports has led this charge for years, finding that retailers that push extended warranties and service plans keep 50 percent or more of what they charge for them.

The logic is that, even though equipment of all kinds eventually breaks down, the extended warranty doesn’t make sense because many needed repairs are covered by a standard manufacturer’s warranty, and that once the standard warranty expires, equipment breakdowns are relatively unlikely. Further, even when things do break after the warranty has expired, the cost of repairs is not much higher than buying the warranty to begin with.

It all makes sense, but now the debate over extended warranties is raging again. An authority no less that the Harvard Business Review jumped into the mix last year with an interesting blog post in which writer Rafi Mohammed previously argued that Consumer Reports’ analysis didn’t include additional value that consumers and businesses receive from extended warranties.

Namely, this includes “peace of mind” benefits that can’t be easily quantified financially, since an extended warranty takes the hassle out of those eventual repairs. As Mohammed notes, “Extended warranties mitigate the concern of being ‘ripped off’ on the repair, because service companies have an incentive to fix the problem efficiently. Bottom line: There’s value in being able to sleep well at night.”

There’s truth to this. When I purchased a new car last year I sprung for the extended warranty, in part because it seemed like a real bargain, in part because the salesman noted that some of my options—including a pricey navigation system—were more prone to failure than the rest of the vehicle. Sure enough, a month ago, that nav system started acting up, and the company is replacing it with this year’s model for free.

Mohammed has a similar story, involving a laptop that began acting up, his subsequent panic, and how he’s now become a loyal Dell customer because of the speedy service he received when the machine was repaired. (That’s also an important lesson for businesses that sell warranties: They aren’t just financially lucrative; if you service them well you can make someone a customer for life even if their equipment breaks.)

Does that extended warranty you just bought cover accidental damage, or only the manufacturer’s defects?

When those failures happen, we’re thankful for having the extended warranty on that specific device, and feel like it was money well spent. But we don’t consider the other 10 extended warranties that we purchased but never used.These anecdotes are part of the reason why extended warranties work. Buyers have had an emotional experience involving something failing and either having to be replaced at great cost and hassle, or having been saved by the safety net of the extended warranty.

For businesses, the stakes are considerably higher. Extended warranties on major business purchases like laptops can be costly. Upgrading the standard one-year warranty on a Lenovo ThinkPad T530 to a four-year warranty will add $269 to the $849 price tag—and that doesn’t include coverage for accidental damage (a massive $429 for four years). For a company with a fleet of 100 laptops, that represents an investment of over $40,000 in warranties alone.

But Stephen McDaniel, assistant executive director for the Service Contract Industry Council, a trade association for the service industry, says extended warranties have other tangible benefits that shoppers need to consider. “A lot of service contracts also come with free tech support for the life of the extended warranty,” says McDaniel, even if the equipment isn’t broken. And with computer gear, he says even a pricey warranty can be worth it. “With respect to laptops, a typical repair can cost $350 for an LCD screen repair or $450 for a new motherboard. These aren’t insubstantial costs.”

If you do consider an extended warranty, make sure you know what you’re getting into. ITWire says to be especially wary of loopholes that don’t cover certain components (one warranty excluded the backlights in LCD TVs), don’t cover “fair wear and tear,” don’t cover shipping costs, or offer replacements but don’t specify the equipment you’re receiving will be new.

Minefields abound, but with tech products, don’t forget to consider another big caveat: If your three-year old PC breaks down today: Would you really want to get it fixed, or would you want to buy a new one?

How To Migrate From Office 365 Tenant To Another Office 365 Tenant?

In this current business scenario, there are many organizations that are moving to the cloud. Most organizations prefer Microsoft Office 365 as it provides multiple functionalities for businesses like Outlook, Exchange Server, OneDrive, Skype for business server, etc.

Sometimes, migration need arise because of mergers, acquisitions, or divestment. Therefore, here we will disclose how you can migrate from Office 365 tenant to another Office 365 tenant?

But, first, you have to know there is no manual solution available to do this task, Microsoft also suggests their users to use third-party software to perform Office 365 tenant to another Office 365 migration.

So, here we will use the best automated solution to do this migration task. Let’s start the migration…

How to Migrate from Office 365 Tenant to another Office 365

When we talk about migration, the first thing that comes into the mind that is data consistency. However, there is multiple migration tool are available to do this task, but we have to select the right tool that will migrate Office 365 tenant to another Office 365 tenant without any type of data loss.

So, we would like to suggest SysTools Office 365 to Office 365 migration tool. After testing the tool, we have found this is the best tool to do this migration task. It comes with multiple which all are help you in Office 365 tenant to Office 365 tenant migration process. Some highlighted features are given below –

1 – Migrate emails, contacts, calendars, documents from Office 365 tenant to another Office 365.

2 – Import CSV option to create the mapping between Office 365 source & destination users.

3 – Date-based filter option to migrate only selective data from one Office 365 to another Office 365.

4 – Capable to migrate data from Office 365 domain.

5 – Delta migration option to migrate newly arrived data.

6 – Option to set Account-based priority to migrate data from these accounts.

7 – Provides multiple project migration options.

8 – Three options for re-run migration.

9 – Create a summary report of the entire Office 365 tenant to Office 365 tenant migration.

Procedure to Perform Office 365 tenant to Office 365 Tenant Migration

Get to know the working procedure of the tool to migrate data from Office 365 tenant to another Office 365 tenant.  Follow the given steps –

1 – Select Office 365 as a source & as a destination.

3 – If you need to migrate only selective data you can apply Date-based filter.

4 – After applying all required options you need to login to Office 365 source tenant with Admin ID & Application ID.

8 – Now, browse the CSV file to upload that mapping CSV file into the software.

10 – Software will take few minutes to migrate from Office 365 tenant to another Office 365 tenant.

We have successfully performed Office 365 tenant to Office 365 tenant migration. Now, login Office 365 destination Office 365 tenant to access data.

Conclusion

To migrate data from Office 365 tenant to another Office 365 isn’t complicated if you know the right solution. So in the above article we have explained the right & easy solution to perform Office 365 tenant to Office 365 tenant migration it will help you to do this task easily.

Venn Torr

Dmi Social Distancing Apps Help Employees Safely Return To The Workplace

Welcoming staff back to the workplace is a top priority for many companies, but returning to work safely requires that business leaders first ensure proper social distancing and contact tracing procedures are in place. Fortunately, the solutions needed to support social distancing could be as close to hand as the smartphones in their pockets.

A recent poll published in Business Insurance found that 93 percent of employers are highly concerned about creating safe workplaces and guaranteeing that their policies comply with applicable health and safety regulations in the midst of COVID-19. A separate survey, conducted by Mercer, found that the biggest challenges for companies that have already reopened for essential employees were around following government guidelines, procedures and protocols (77 percent) and staggering employees’ return to work to enable social distancing (63 percent).

Both of these concerns can now be addressed thanks to DMI Workplace Shield, two new applications developed by global digital business transformation leader DMI. The Social Distancing and Contact Tracing app is designed to help protect employees while they are at work, and the other, the Workplace Safety and Situational Awareness app is aimed at helping employers keep their workplaces clean and safe. Both apps use smartphone features like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and alerts to make safety measures automatic, easy and private. Customizable checklists enable companies to protect their employees’ health and maintain stringent compliance with their safety regimens simultaneously.

“It’s easy to lose focus on social distancing during the course of your work, so it can really help to be automatically alerted to safety risks,” says Chris Tengwall, DMI’s executive vice president of platform solutions. “For companies, in addition to the human impact, an outbreak of COVID can be very detrimental to the bottom line.”

These two apps, developed based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines with the help of a widely respected infectious disease expert, can assist any company looking to ensure the safety of its workplace, whether that workplace is an office, retail store, university or manufacturing facility.

Helping workers keep their distance

Current CDC recommendations for companies include conducting daily health checks, encouraging cloth face coverings and checking that workers always stay at least six feet apart. However, it can be hard to remain aware of distancing in the course of daily work, whether in an office environment, a manufacturing plant or hospital.

DMI’s Social Distancing and Contact Tracing app can make this easier with a daily health checklist for each employee. Then, throughout the workday, if two employees come too close to each other, they will receive an alert in the form of a vibration or sound (even if only one of them is running DMI’s app) so they can adjust to a safer distance.

“Users can adjust the app to their own comfort levels, such as how far away they want to be before they get an alert — say, eight or 10 feet instead of six — and how long it takes to get alerted,” Tengwall explains.

The app tracks each of these encounters on the device anonymously so that if — and only if — a worker is later officially diagnosed with COVID-19, every employee with the app who has been near that worker in the previous 14 days will get a discrete, anonymous notification that they may have been exposed to the virus. DMI has gone to extra lengths to ensure user anonymity with technologies such as encryption, token tracking and on-phone storage of individual distancing data, so employers can enable contract tracing without violating worker privacy.

To help with compliance, DMI provides an easy-to-use admin portal for managing the solution. The portal includes customizable employee checklists, reporting tools for data analysis and an overall dashboard view of the workplace’s safety posture. Individual users can also make app customizations, such as choosing the alert sound for their device. On a Samsung smartphone, users can also configure the side buttons to activate a Do Not Disturb setting, which can be useful during meetings.

Ensuring a clean and safe workplace

DMI has a long history of developing health and safety solutions for federal defense environments. Using the same platform, they built a second app, Workplace Safety and Situational Awareness, to help employers guarantee that their workplaces are regularly sanitized and compliant with health and safety requirements for COVID-19. This not only helps to ensure that cleaning is being performed properly; it also continuously reassures employees that they’re working in a safe environment and may also reduce employer liability.

The comprehensive Workplace Safety and Situational Awareness app includes automated safety checklists to help organizations create, manage and modify their cleaning checklists through a user-friendly interface. Using their smartphone cameras, users can take pictures of the preventative steps they are taking while they work, noting their completed tasks as they go. Mandatory checks and time stamping can help to certify compliance.

The checklist is in accordance with expert medical guidance, but companies can adjust the content and business rules to accommodate their local regulations and custom workplace policies. “We worked with an infectious disease specialist and used CDC guidelines to build the checklists,” says DMI’s Tengwall. “This shows that the organization has done whatever it could to protect its workers.”

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DMI has also incorporated features into the app that support real-time communication, situational awareness and data collection. For example, companies can communicate with their staff via push-to-talk, set up geofences to restrict access to certain areas and track staff or assets such as cleaning carts. All features are supported by a central portal, which also helps with real-time reporting and auditing.

Providing a flexible solution for safer workplaces

Of course, workplaces face more safety risks than just COVID-19. Both the Social Distancing and Contact Tracing app and the Workplace Safety and Situational Awareness app are built on DMI’s flexible platform, so organizations can easily add new inspections, checklists and other functions to satisfy their specific safety and compliance needs. With these apps in place, companies and employees alike can enjoy peace of mind with the knowledge that they have implemented every possible safety measure.

Learn more about DMI’s Workplace Shield applications. If your workforce is working from home, try Samsung DeX.

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