July is the usual Finnish holiday season, so since I’m writing this at the beginning of August my summer holidays are now a vague memory. Besides relaxing, enjoying, and having fun, I also worked in the middle.

So, how did I manage?

Hybrid Work Off-the-Grid

This summer my family had more time off than I did. We spent a couple of weeks of June and the whole of July on the off-the-grid summer cottage. Of course, I needed to work a little bit there as well.

A couple of facts about the cottage: first, it’s about a 1,5-hour car ride away from our home. It’s on an island, so there is a one-kilometer boat ride. No running water, no internet cable, but we are lucky in Finland to have decent mobile internet available almost everywhere, no electricity lines, just solar energy. Staying there requires some daily chores, which is actually the relaxing part. A few years back I was strict about not bringing work to the cottage. When the COVID hit and my family had longer summer breaks, I took a couple of working days from the cottage and realized that it was even more relaxing. When you’re done just put your laptop away, and start enjoying, having fun, and relaxing – not having a couple of hours of traveling, buying groceries, packing, and unpacking.

In the current hybrid work world, I don’t have to go to the office unless I want to. I can reach my colleagues, customers, and the community with Teams, as I normally do.

A view from the summer cottage beach.

My gear for the summer

  • Surface Pro 7+, I only used Surface’s screen for work (and realized that 12,3″ is enough ūüėĀ, almost got scared of the big screens at home)
  • Logi MX Master 2S mouse
  • Jabra Evolve2 85 headphones
  • Sandstorm 20,000 mAh power bank, with USB PD support for charging the Surface

Of course, working where the environment sets some boundaries, requires planning ahead. I was able to manage all my meetings, host a couple of workshops, give a couple of trainings, PowerPoints, plan the autumn, and so on. Here is my small list of tips

  • Set realistic targets, as always. Writing a, for example, comprehensive automation script may not be the correct task, at least not for me.
  • Be prepared for connection breaks. Having mobile subscriptions from different operators in the family helped me.
  • Plan your day using Todo lists and calendars. Include breaks, walking in the forests, swimming… I took a swim after every Teams meeting and call.
  • Work outside. It’s really relaxing to have a meeting when birds are singing.

One thing that I missed was the opportunity to work while standing, for the following summer I’m already looking for options for a simple standing desk (not electric) setup.

MVP Award renewal

The beginning of July is an exciting time for MVPs, the award is renewed for the upcoming year. I was rewarded for the third time in M365 Apps & Services (former Office Apps & Services) category.

MVP Award with the third ring

My contributions for the year.

  • Organizing a virtual Microsoft Teams conference, Teams Nation, with a few of MVP friends. Over 5,000 registered, and 3,000 to 3,500 participated during the day.
  • Hosting a table talk on Microsoft Ignite on Altspace VR in November
  • Published a dozen blogs related to Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365
  • Speaking in a dozen on virtual community events about Microsoft Teams

Metaverse One Community Event

Before summer we started a new initiative Metaverse One, which will realize on September 7th as a community event. Metaverse One is the first 100% free, 100% community-driven conference dedicated to Microsoft Metaverse, Mixed Reality, MR technologies, extensibility option, and the Microsoft Teams platform.

More information can be found on Metaverse One website: https://metaverse-one.rocks and follow our Twitter account @MetaverseConf.

Event registration and schedule will be launched in August.

The organizing crew:

Microsoft Inspire

Microsoft’s partner conference – Inspire – happened in July. This year, again, in 100% digital format. Here are my top five sessions to checkout reflecting hybrid work.

Unlock business growth with Microsoft Teams: Latest innovations and upcoming features for Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Viva Goals: Now generally available: Introduction to new Viva Goals, and how it’s used to bring clarity and drive towards an organization’s goals.

Enable Hybrid Meetings with Teams Rooms: Less than 8% of meeting rooms are video-enabled. Teams Rooms play a key role in democratizing and having more inclusive hybrid meetings.

Enable digital employee experience with Microsoft Viva: Announcement of the Viva Engage. Yammer is transforming into the Viva product family, and will be Viva Engage in the future.

The digital imperative in hybrid work: Innovation to support hybrid work, including Excel Live announcement, which enables collaboration with Excel files right in the meeting window.

“Let’s make hybrid work work.” -Microsoft