Frontline workers represent the face of organizations and make up the lion’s share of the workforce. Gartner estimates that there are 2.7 billion frontline workers — more than twice the number of desk-based workers.i The current macroeconomic climate highlighted by labor and supply chain shortages has put a lot of pressure on these workers to carry more work as organizations drive efficiency across business operations.
The recent Work Trend Index shows that there is an opportunity for digital tools to help ease the burden on these essential workers. Over 60% of frontline workers struggle with having to do repetitive or menial tasks that take time away from more meaningful work and not having enough of the necessary resources to get their work done efficiently.ii In addition, 1 in 2 frontline workers cite being burned out in their jobs, and 45% note they are likely to consider changing employers in the next year.ii Investment in technology that enables frontline workers to thrive is a huge opportunity for business leaders – one that will drive positive outcomes for employees, customers, and the bottom line if solved correctly.
Today, over 60% of the Fortune 500 use Microsoft 365 to empower frontline workers. Microsoft is committed to investing in innovative solutions to help frontline workers thrive. With AI transforming productivity across most segments of the workforce, our survey found that 65% of frontline workers are optimistic that AI will help them in their jobs.ii.
We are excited to introduce new tools and integrations including bringing the power of next-generation AI to the frontline across three key areas:
- Intelligent operations
- Effortless communication
- Trusted experiences
These innovations will improve efficiency, enhance customer experiences, and enable faster decision making.
Whether it’s for an inspection, installation or a maintenance request, frontline service managers want to spend their time helping their team deliver exceptional service operations and not on inefficient tasks like copying and pasting information from one system to another. We seek to infuse the productivity applications frontline managers use everyday with the robust data and intelligence of underlying business applications. This helps streamline the frontline experience and drive efficiency with operations.
- Copilot in Dynamics 365 Field Service with Outlook and Microsoft Teams integrations brings the power of next-generation AI to service professionals on the frontline. Frontline service managers who receive customer escalations in Outlook or Microsoft Teams can use Copilot in Dynamics 365 to streamline work order creation with relevant details pre-populated from emails or chats, optimize technician scheduling with data-driven recommendations based on factors such as travel time, availability and skillset, as well as generate draft responses to customer messages summarizing next steps without switching apps.
- Dynamics 365 Field Service app in Microsoft Teams will enable frontline technicians to access key work order functionality in their flow of work. Technicians will now be able to see upcoming work orders at a glance in their home experience in Teams, share full work order details and easily access Dynamics 365 Remote Assist in one click to troubleshoot with remote experts in real time if they need additional support to complete jobs.
Maintaining end-to-end visibility on operations can be time-consuming for frontline managers with fluctuating team schedules and often a large, dispersed team. Soon Microsoft 365 Copilot can ground prompts and retrieve insights for frontline managers, leveraging data from the Shifts app with a new Shifts plugin for Microsoft 365 Copilot, in addition to user and company data it has access to such as Teams chat history, SharePoint, emails and more. This will enable frontline managers to quickly get a list of important items specific to their team and location to speed up time-consuming tasks like covering shifts and onboarding new employees.
Workplace culture is built upon a connection to the company mission, and it all starts with strong lines of communication. When companies establish an easy way to access consistent communications, frontline workers feel informed and connected. With a single communications platform to reach their entire workforce, corporate communicators don’t have to switch out of their digital workspace to connect to the frontline.
- Announcements in Viva Connections enables corporate communicators to draft, schedule and target important announcements like urgent communications, role-specific updates and safety policy changes to frontline workers. Communicators can quickly send messages directly from Viva Connections without having to leave Teams. Messages are delivered to the frontline through push notifications on their mobile devices and announcement cards in their Teams home experience.
- To build a sense of belonging and purpose across your entire workforce, Targeted Campaigns in Viva Engage enables communicators to create campaigns that promote company-wide initiatives targeted to frontline audiences.
Many on the frontline work across multiple devices and often hand them over after a shift ends. To enable shift and part-time workers to be productive from the moment they log in, Windows 365 Frontline makes it easy and affordable to extend the power of Cloud PCs to employees on the frontline so they can securely access their personalized Windows experience on any device, no matter where they work.
Securing data across shared devices, while still ensuring a seamless end-user experience can be challenging. A digital identity allows frontline workers to access and move between the technology needed to do their work, whether they are on a shared device or a dedicated one.
- For organizations using Intune, they can use Microsoft Entra ID (formerly Azure Active Directory) to enable a single sign-in and sign-out experience for Teams, Outlook, Power Apps and more with shared device mode for Android and iOS devices. This allows frontline workers to wipe their device quickly and compliantly for the next shift.
- And organizations using SOTI or VMware Workspace ONE as their endpoint management solution can now also enroll Android devices in Microsoft Entra ID with shared device mode.
At Microsoft, we believe that technology can be a powerful force to reimagine how work gets done. By investing in innovative solutions for the frontline workforce, we are helping to drive positive change for frontline employees, customers and the bottom line. Frontline innovations across Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365, Windows 365 Frontline, Intune and partner endpoint management solutions push the boundaries of what is possible and work toward a brighter future for all.
Gartner, Hype Cycle™ for Digital Workplace Applications, 2022, August 2022
ii The Work Trend Index survey was conducted by an independent research firm, Edelman Data x Intelligence, among 31,000 full-time employed or self-employed workers across 31 markets, 6,019 of which are frontline workers, between February 1, 2023, and March 14, 2023. This survey was 20 minutes in length and conducted online, in either the English language or translated into a local language across markets. One thousand full-time workers were surveyed in each market, and global results have been aggregated across all responses to provide an average. Each market is evenly weighted within the global average. Each market was sampled to be representative of the full-time workforce across age, gender, and region; each sample included a mix of work environments (in-person, remote vs. non-remote, office settings vs. non-office settings, etc.), industries, company sizes, tenures, and job levels. Markets surveyed include: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.