Microsoft Places uses AI to ease return to office – at a price

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Microsoft is launching “Microsoft Places,” a new AI-driven app designed to streamline the return-to-office process by enhancing coordination among employees who choose to work flexibly. Announced by Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for AI at Work, the app aims to prevent the common scenario of arriving at the office only to find it mostly empty, instead facilitating opportunities for employees to interact with their managers and colleagues.

As companies like IBM and Dell implement mandates that require employees to spend a significant portion of their time physically at the office, Microsoft Places offers a solution to optimize these in-office days. Set to be integrated into the Teams Premium plan, which is currently available at a discounted rate due to a promotion, the app allows employees to share and view each other’s office schedules. This integration ensures that time spent at the office is effective and that employees can collaborate more efficiently.

The service extends beyond simple scheduling. With features like location finding and integration into Microsoft Teams, employees can easily connect with and locate their colleagues in real time. This capability is enhanced by the app’s ability to suggest optimal days for coming to the office based on team member availability, leveraging the power of Microsoft Copilot to assist in decision-making.

This strategic tool addresses a critical challenge in the shift back to office work, providing a tech solution that not only helps in planning but also supports the overall productivity and satisfaction of employees navigating the hybrid work model.

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