Wow, it’s already a new year. Even if 2020 was a weird year, it went by fast! And for those who wonder, the deer doesn’t have anything really to do with this post. It’s more of a pun… Deer 2020… Okay, I’ll show myself out….
A lot of things to look forward to in 2021, such as a vaccine against Covid-19, new Windows preview builds, new Teams features and much, much more.
The start of a new year is wonderful opportunity time to reflect on the past year, because even though 2020 was a weird year a lot of things happened. I’ve decided to split this one into different areas just to be able to sort out my thoughts a little bit.
So personal life… This doesn’t really qualify into this blog usually. But since 2020 ment working from home all the time, personal life is an important part. Relaxing and disconnecting got even more important for me during 2020. I found something that allowed me to disconnect from work stuff and focus on something else which I haven’t really done the last couple of years. Like a lot of other people, I took up golf again during 2020. Not so much because of Covid-19 but more in the sense of this is something I’ve been playing since I was like 6 or 7 years old and I finally found the joy in it again.
2020 was the strangest year in my professional life, as for everyone else. I started a new job just a few months before Covid-19 happened, went back to being a consultant again. Since I started right before the pandemic really took off, it’s been a little bit of a weird start for a new job since you haven’t been able to really meet your co-workers nor your customers physically. Strange times!
Also, regarding my professional life I’ve shifted over to this blog as a platform to share my experiences, findings, and learnings. I’ve tried to keep a consistent flow, but my inspiration went on isolation during the end of the year (I blame the darkness). I’m hoping that the lighter times which are coming, and the snow, will get me back on track!
Modern workplace life
This heading is weird, I know, but bear with me…
2020 was probably one of those years that forced a lot of companies and workplaces to jump forward in their thinking and implementation of workplace services. We all saw Teams skyrocket as a meeting platform, VPN usage was of the charts and collaborating digitally is the new black.
I’ve written a bunch of different blog posts about the modern workplace the last year, and also published some old LinkedIn articles.
During the last year, a lot have happened. We are working in a different way and everyone has gotten a taste of what working remote means, proving that we can do stuff while not at the office (hopefully killing that old face-time requirement). The term “work is not a place, it’s something you do” has definitely come into play!
I think the biggest impact for the modern workplace during 2020 was in fact the Covid-19 pandemic. This challenged a lot of companies to drive their adoption fast, or even in some cases get started. It has also put a bigger trust in that the end-user knows how to handle the tools provided and IT’s role in providing the correct information and education has become increasingly important.
During 2020 we saw a lot of great improvements to a lot of popular Microsoft products. One of the most obvious one for the modern workplace was Microsoft Teams. We got A LOT of new functionality during 2020, not only post Ignite, but as a steady stream of news. This really improved on an already great platform. Oh, and let’s not forget about the increase of Teams usage!
Intune also got its steady stream of updates and the “Corporate-owned devices with work profile” management method for Android finally saw the light of day (still in preview however). I think this will be a really nice add-on when released based on the user experience it provides for corporate devices.
One of the most exciting new things, which I still have not tried out, is Microsoft Tunnel. A simple VPN solution for mobile devices which doesn’t require large investments or changes in your infrastructure if you are using a Microsoft based VPN for you Windows devices today. It will be exciting to see this product go into general availability.
I most likely forgot a lot of things that I should have included. But hey, it’s been a weird year!
Now let’s focus on what 2021 holds. This blog will keep on living and my focus will stay on the “softer” stuff around modern workplace and not the hardcore technical stuff.