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4 Quick and Free Games to Play with Your Virtual Team in Microsoft Teams

Whether you’re part of a fully remote organization or joining calls with clients across the country, you’re bound to find yourself joining a video call and needing to fill a few minutes while everyone logs on. While Mondays are great for asking folks about their weekends and catching up on the usual small talk, by the time Wednesday rolls around you might find yourself searching for new ways to make the most of the first five minutes of meeting time before digging into your agenda.

We’ve curated this round-up of the best free, work-friendly games you can install today to Microsoft Teams or other video applications so you can banish those awkward silences and start hosting the virtual meetings everyone is excited to attend. 

Install these before your next virtual meeting

Frameable Anagrams

If you and your team have been fans of Wordle, you’re sure to love this new game that teammates can play solo or during a meeting. Unscramble letters to make words from 3-6 letters long. Playing Anagrams is a great way to collaborate with your team to solve a quick and new puzzle every day. 

Race to complete puzzles with your colleagues in a meeting or play by yourself as a quick brain break throughout the day from the Anagrams app in the Teams sidebar.

Kahoot Trivia

For the days when you have a few more minutes or want to break out into teams to build connections, a round of Kahoot trivia is a great way to get everyone’s attention and start your next meeting off on a positive note. 

Install the Kahoot add-in to connect your existing Kahoot account and access trivia games without having to leave Teams. Kahoot is great for quick, fun trivia questions everyone can take part in, engaging breaks during long meetings, or checkpoints during learning sessions to be sure your lessons are effective. 

Microsoft’s Games for Work

Last fall, Microsoft released its Games for Work application to provide users with classic games like Microsoft Solitaire, Microsoft IceBreakers, Microsoft Minesweeper, and Microsoft Wordament in their in-call experience.

Microsoft’s native games application is a great option for large meetings, with options for up to 250 players at once so you can engage and excite even your biggest gatherings or break the ice in smaller groups and kick-off calls with a quick, fun game. 

Polly for Quizzes

Polly is an excellent addition to meetings as you can develop quiz questions based on your upcoming meeting topics, your organization’s history, pop culture or current events, and plenty more. Many organizations will have already approved and installed Polly, so playing it should be a breeze.

You can also start with polls to kick off meetings: ask your team what drink they’re currently enjoying, what they’ll have for lunch, brain teasers, and more. 

Create moments for connection and celebration

While it is common to simply think that connection with remote colleagues, clients, or teammates will come with time, it’s important to create space for these small, fun moments to happen as they are crucial for building a sense of connection with your team. These interactions help foster trust between coworkers and help to remind us that we are working with real people with real emotions who want to celebrate big and little wins alike. Although every meeting is different, I’m sure most of us wouldn’t mind an extra dash of fun here and there.

Add Anagrams to Microsoft Teams and explore all that Frameable has to offer with our full suite of productivity enhancements.

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6 Tips for More Effective Virtual Training

Virtual training has become essential in the new age of work, and it comes with benefits!

Virtual training sessions are less costly than renting out a venue and catering a meal for hundreds of trainees, meaning you can allocate that budget elsewhere. And because you can record a virtual training session, you can repurpose its content to provide lasting value. Further, people with accessibility needs can join virtual training sessions more easily from wherever works best for them.

Given this incredible potential, companies should ditch their old new-hire process and build a modern training strategy to reflect the needs of remote and hybrid work. 

How To Host Successful Virtual Training Sessions

Effective virtual training offers many of the same elements of in-person training—small group exercises, Q&A, and hand-outs—while using the digital environment to its fullest potential.

As you restructure your new hire training, consider these best practices for hosting virtual training sessions:

  • Include Breaks Between Training Sessions: Employees need a mental break between training sessions. Breaks also allow them to grab a snack or use the restroom. Ideally, you should provide at least one 5-10 minute break per hour to achieve optimal retention.
  • Provide Engaging Content: Trainees are most focused when given visually engaging presentations and opportunities to interact with the training content. When creating your training slides, include brief details on slides and use bullet points when possible. Further, you should continually outline the processes you are working through and create opportunities for new hires to analyze and think critically about what they are learning. 
  • Recap Material Twice Daily: At the end of a training day, summarize key points and ask team members what concepts stood out. Host a similar conversation the following day and ask if there are questions that trainees may not have realized they had when you initially covered the material. 
  • Vary Your Training Structure: Your training content should be as easily accessible as possible, whether it’s a presentation, video, or hands-on project. Experiment with each training structure and switch up your style across training sessions to keep the content engaging.
  • Ask Employees How They Like to Learn: Employees have different learning styles and may prefer to consume your training content in specific ways. Ask employees about their training experience and how they prefer to learn. Consider catering your training to individual needs and creating resources that repurpose the content for different formats.
  • Create Spaces to Connect: Whenever possible, enable trainees to collaborate during the training. Onboarding is a valuable opportunity for them to get to know each other and build a meaningful connection. 

Virtual Training Is Essential For A Fulfilling Employee Onboarding

Regularly seek feedback about your company’s training and ask employees how you can improve their training experience. By experimenting with different training structures and repurposing your content for new formats, you can appeal to the range of different learning styles within your company.

One of the most common times you train employees is during their new employee onboarding, which can make or break your new hire’s future with your company. Don’t worry: we’re here to help. Download our virtual onboarding ebook for a complete walkthrough of how to deliver a fulfilling virtual onboarding experience, including how to develop a virtual onboarding plan and strategies for engaging new hires. 

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6 Virtual and Remote Training Tips and Tools to Improve Your Workflows

A recent analysis of over 96 studies revealed that virtual learning can be up to 19% more effective than traditional, in-person learning. Not only can virtual learning be more effective and accessible to more people, given its nature, but virtual training, when done right, is an easy way to learn a great deal. 

If your organization is taking the leap into remote training or virtual onboarding, there is much to consider: 

  • What platform should you host sessions on? 
  • How often should sessions be scheduled? 
  • How do you keep attendees engaged? 

Below, we explore how to host successful virtual training sessions from anywhere, and technology and software outside of traditional meeting or conferencing software that will elevate the experience for you and your trainees. 

How to Host Exceptional Virtual Training Sessions

  1. Have a clear learning objective you want attendees to take away
    1. One of the best things you can do for your trainees is provide them with clear guidelines that articulate precisely what you want them to take away from training sessions. Doing this will help both you and your trainees understand where their goals should lie, and you can point back to these objectives throughout the training so they can self-assess their progress. 
  2. Chose different ways to engage attendees throughout the session
    1. Some people love to raise their virtual hand and participate in discussions, while others are more keen to stay behind the comfort of the chat box and participate from there. Regardless of how different attendees like to engage, it is crucial to attempt to engage all participants in multiple ways so that each member has a chance to shine and participate in a way that works for them. When posing questions to the group, switch back and forth between asking for answers in the chat, coming off of mute and answering a question, or using polls and other meeting functionality to encourage participation. Incorporating easy-to-use games like Kahoot! makes checking comprehension and participation more fun for everyone involved. 
  3. Take breaks often
    1. At this point, we’re all familiar with “Zoom Fatigue” and its ever-present strain on remote work and education, but that doesn’t mean dealing with it has gotten any easier! It is still as important as ever to factor in breaks, especially if you want to ensure trainees retain as much information as possible from your sessions. The cognitive load of video calls is significantly higher than other forms of learning and communication, making breaks to stretch, walk around, and look at things other than your screen exceptionally important! Our rule of thumb is to factor in a five-minute break for every 30 minutes of content. If you are delivering a longer content block, consider slotting in breaks of 15 minutes or more between sessions. 

The 3 best tools for virtual training engagement 

  1. Virtual Whiteboard
    1. Whether you are leading a brainstorming session or want to build connections between different ideas, a virtual whiteboard is a great way to help make connections among learners, and encourage participation across the group. Products like Miro are great collaborative options that you can often install directly into your chosen video conferencing software. 
  2. Multiple Screen Sharing Software
    1. If you want to ensure everyone follows your instructions or guide them through a complicated situation, employ a multiple-user screen-sharing software. Sharing multiple screens at once can give you a similar experience as walking around a classroom to ensure everyone is on the same page. Additionally, this allows learners to show they are paying attention without turning on their camera feed—thus providing a reprieve from worrying about how they appear on camera while giving training leaders the ability to verify everyone is engaged with the lesson. MultiShare is an excellent option for unlocking this capability and can be installed directly into Microsoft Teams calls to allow up to 15 users to simultaneously share their screens at once. 
  3. Quiz Software
    1. An engaging quiz platform is essential to the virtual training environment! Platforms such as Quizlet are great for creating flashcards for trainees to utilize or short quizzes to check comprehension, and it’s easily accessible with a widely-used free version. It’s a user-friendly option for training leaders to design study or supplemental materials for your courses and for learners to build their own quizzes to enhance their information retention. 

Training and onboarding are challenging in any format, and virtual training is a unique problem deserving of a unique approach. If you want more resources to host virtual onboarding sessions, explore our Virtual Onboarding Handbook. The guide is packed full of new ideas and proven strategies to make training and onboarding as smooth as possible. And when you need that collaborative spark back in your virtual training sessions, MultiShare is just what you need to bring the classroom feeling to the virtual world.

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9 Technology and Equipment Recommendations to Empower a Distributed Workforce

A shocking 49% of employees who work away from an office at least one day a week say their company does not provide them with remote collaboration tools. Of those given collaboration tools, 26% say the tools aren’t exactly right or haven’t received training to use them well. 

To create a successful hybrid work culture, companies must enable their employees with the tools for remote collaboration and connection. Let’s look at the most important tools that companies should provide.

Remote Work Tools and Equipment Every Company Should Provide

Your distributed workforce needs the right tools and equipment to be successful. Employers should provide the following technology items and equipment in their official workspaces and employees’ home offices:

  • Computer or laptop: Employees need a reliable, updated desktop computer or laptop. A laptop is an ideal choice for its portability and because it provides many of the items listed below. 
  • Monitor(s): Ask employees if an additional monitor would enhance productivity. Provide at least one monitor if you provide desktop computers to your team.
  • Keyboard and mouse: Supply ergonomic keyboards and mice to provide comfort during long working hours and avoid potential adverse health effects. 
  • Headset or earphones with microphone: Improve call quality by giving employees a headset or earphones with a microphone. This will also enable them to type while talking.
  • Reliable internet connectivity: Help remote employees secure a stable internet connection to prevent disruptions in their work.
  • Web camera: Ensure remote employees have a functional webcam for video conferencing and virtual interactions.
  • Collaboration tools: Provide access to collaboration platforms, a digital workspace or virtual office, and project management tools to facilitate seamless asynchronous teamwork.
  • Video conferencing software: Select a platform for face-to-face video communication and virtual meetings, and set up accounts for your team members.
  • Security software: Protect your team and company data from cyber-attacks by providing security tools like antivirus software and VPNs.

Help Virtual Employees Thrive From Day One

The above tools are essential for building meaningful connections in a virtual workplace, but employees must understand how to use each tool successfully.

Your employee onboarding is the ideal time to provide each employee with these tools and explain how they can use them. To help you craft the perfect virtual onboarding experience, download our virtual onboarding e-book to set your virtual and hybrid team members up for success from their first days with your company.

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Why Virtual Onboarding for All Employees is Crucial for Success

Building a great hybrid work culture starts with your virtual onboarding process. But don’t just take my word for it—research shows that 70% of employees believe their onboarding can make or break their experience, and remote employees are 117% more likely to leave if they feel under-trained during the onboarding process. 

It’s crucial to create a positive first impression for remote workers and help them transition seamlessly into your company. Unfortunately, there appears to be a significant disconnect in how companies approach their onboarding for employees outside of the corporate HQ and what their remote and distributed workforce actually needs. 

The Virtual Onboarding Disconnect

A positive onboarding experience will set the stage for your workers to integrate into your company and feel fulfilled in their roles. When their first impression of your team isn’t face-to-face, however, it can be harder to ensure that impression is a good one—and it comes down to having a comprehensive onboarding process.

Where exactly are companies falling flat regarding the virtual onboarding experience? After an uninspired onboarding, remote workers are the most likely to feel undertrained (63%), disoriented (60%), and devalued (52%). 

These feelings are concerning, but companies can address them with intelligent planning. A successful virtual onboarding program should:

  • Include Workplace Technology Training: During onboarding, walk employees through each tool they will use to complete their work. Additionally, explain how they can successfully navigate your virtual workspace, including how to access critical resources. Check out more tips for successful virtual training here. 
  • Extend Onboarding Beyond Orientation: Employees need a clear understanding of what their first day and week will look like at your company. Provide a thorough schedule for their first week, and coordinate video meetings to learn more about their specific role and meet their manager, mentor, and coworkers. Schedule regular check-ins with the employee and their manager to discuss their challenges and ensure they understand their priorities. 
  • Show Them They’re Valued: Remote workers often need additional reassurance and recognition, especially when new to a company. Welcome all new team members through your companywide channels to show them they’re valued. Ensure managers provide positive feedback during every check-in, spotlighting specific achievements or accomplishments. 

Create a Fulfilling Virtual Onboarding Experience

New employees shouldn’t feel undertrained, disoriented, and devalued after they join your company. Following the strategies shared above can address these challenges and give your employees the best experience from their earliest days.

If you’re looking for more guidance on developing a successful virtual onboarding, we have you covered. Download our virtual onboarding ebook to learn the strategies and best practices to ensure your remote workers feel valued, supported, and confident in their new roles.

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3 Microsoft Teams Collaboration Problems Everyone Has and How to Fix Them

Personal preferences aside, we can all agree that remote and distributed work is here to stay in one form or another. But, the more pressing issue for leaders and their employees everywhere remains how to support remote collaboration with tools that fit how employees would like to work. 

With over 280 million active monthly users, Microsoft Teams is likely to be a collaboration tool you and your team regularly use or come into contact with. Even with such a huge user base and a respected brand name like Microsoft, there are still many challenges Teams users tend to encounter that can make for even more frustrating collaboration efforts–especially remotely. We identified three of the most common and easily fixable problems and offer insights into improving team collaboration. 

Are you missing MS Teams notifications? 

Find any Teams user, and they’ll likely tell you a similar story about notifications in Teams: they often miss them completely! This isn’t a new phenomenon either–since its introduction in 2017, Microsoft Teams has been frustrating for users of all ages and industries. While direct messages are a bit easier to keep up with in Teams, messages across varying teams and channels regarding different projects can easily fall through the cracks if you aren’t constantly checking all the correct places.

The first way to combat missed messages from colleagues is to head to your personal Teams notification settings. Here you can customize how you receive notifications and update your preferences for notifications from the “Teams and channels” sections. Since teams and channels are not considered direct messages, this is one of the best ways to ensure you are not missing key communication. 

Your next option to make sure you’re not falling behind is to use the Activity section of Teams. By default, this section should be the top pinned section in Teams. Otherwise, look for the alarm bell icon. The activity section aggregates all of the updates, notifications, and activity you’ve missed across all channels, direct messages, and group messages you are a part of.  

Overall, keeping track of notifications can be a game of trial and error, so it is important to establish clear expectations around expected response times and offer leniency and support to new team members as they work to establish a system that works best for them. Clearly outlining what your team considers an urgent notification versus an awareness notification can greatly help team communication prioritization and collaboration.

Poor search functionality in Teams messages and slow history loading

Whenever I get a new meeting invitation to my Outlook inbox, I am always left cursing myself for accepting the invitation too quickly before saving any attachments or reading the details, as the message disappears into the unknown ether of my inbox. Searching for the details in your inbox or Teams history is also a hassle. If you are a fellow Teams or Outlook user, I’m sure you know the feeling! 

So how do you overcome the frustrations of the search functionality in Teams, especially when you’re in a rush? You have a few options:

  • Are you looking for a specific file?
    • Images, PDFs, spreadsheets, and similar file types are the easiest to find. Head to the “Files” section of your recent chat threads or project channels related to what you are looking for. 
  • Are you looking for a specific message?
    • Use the search functionality to search for any keywords you remember from the message and then select “messages.” Here you can filter based on sender, channels, date, direct mentions, or if the message contained an attachment.
    • If you’re still struggling to locate the message, we suggest using single keywords versus a string to maximize the number of search results Teams can return.
  • Are you looking for an old group message thread?
    • This is the easiest problem to solve for! If scrolling down through your messages isn’t bringing the correct thread to you, create a new message and add the people from the chat you are looking for. Once you start adding multiple people, if you’ve been in a chat thread with them, previous messages will populate. Trial and error adding various users can help you find older threads that haven’t been active recently. 

Difficult to work with switching back and forth between different collaboration applications 

As any remote worker will tell you, the one thing you really can’t replicate with most remote work tools is pulling up a chair next to your coworker, setting your laptop down next to theirs, and comparing notes or ideas across your two screens. 

Working together with coworkers in real-time is one of the best ways to get things done and can often be more productive and collaborative than sending updates or versions back and forth to be worked on separately. But, if you’re a distributed or remote worker, this can become a unique challenge to solve for. 

While some tools offer great collaboration abilities, if you’re working across multiple applications simultaneously, Teams only allows you to share one screen at a time during a call. Switching back and forth between shared screens starts to take up time and just becomes an added annoyance. 

Incorporating tools that ease these small but bothersome problems for remote and distributed workers can not only improve productivity, but also improve job satisfaction by removing friction points from day-to-day tasks. For many teams, this can be accomplished by adding Google Docs or Miro into their tech stack to smooth out any bumps in communication and collaboration. 

But when it comes to being on a video call with colleagues, sometimes it would be easier if multiple people could share their screen at once–and not surprisingly, it’s one of the most requested improvements in the Microsoft community forums! Our team decided we couldn’t wait any longer and decided to fix the problem ourselves, and so MultiShare was born. Adding MultiShare to Microsoft Teams allows everyone to screen share at the same time, without worrying about kicking off the other team members’ shared screens. It’s exactly what we’d been missing for so long.

If you’re ready to level-up your next working session, add MultiShare to your Teams instance today. Explore MultiShare on the AppSource marketplace, or book a demo with one of our experts to learn more.

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Do You Have the Right Technology and Tools to Support Remote Work?

By now, we all know that remote and distributed work will remain a part of many of our lives in one way or another. Whether your team is deciding to go remote to save on real estate costs or because you believe it is in the best interest of your employees to give them the flexibility that remote work offers, providing your team with the proper tools to maximize the benefits of remote work is crucial for both your success and theirs. 

For over five years, our team has been working together from all corners of the U.S. and the world, and we’ve come to discover what is most important not only for productivity’s sake, but also for supporting all aspects of our team’s work and lives. A recent Harvard Business Review survey discovered 59% of workers feel their collaboration tools are not aligned with how they and their teams prefer to work. Just like providing employees with the flexibility of remote work increases employee satisfaction, giving your team the tools they like and need to be productive and collaborative is equally important.

Our fully remote team has compiled a list of tools we use daily to show you what a people-driven technology suite can look like for your team.

Here’s a peek at our team’s collaboration stack:

  • MultiShare
    • Frameable MultiShare is our new app that we designed to make working together as a remote team easier. Born out of our other product, Spaces, MultiShare allows for simultaneous screen sharing by as many users in a call as needed. Just like pulling up a chair at your coworker’s desk to work back and forth between your respective screens, MultiShare gives our distributed team the flexibility they need to get things done faster than ever. Everyone can follow along and toggle back and forth between shared screens without slowing down a meeting or verbally passing along screen-sharing permissions one by one. It’s been a productivity game-changer, especially for our developers and designers, and during big working sessions and brainstorms with many ideas flowing back and forth.
  • Spaces
    • Frameable Spaces is our flagship product that houses all of the add-on features we make to enhance collaboration within Microsoft Teams. Spaces is our team’s virtual office inside of Microsoft Teams, allowing us to see ongoing meetings, join project rooms to collaborate, and view everyone’s status and availability so we always know who to contact with a pressing question. For a distributed team like ours, having a virtual office space that provides more transparency across departments and teams, has given us a greater sense of connectivity and made ad-hoc collaboration more seamless as we crush our goals.
  • Google Workspace
    • Google Workspace offers a wide range of features and functionalities that enable seamless teamwork and enhanced productivity. Our team particularly relies on Google Docs, where multiple team members can simultaneously edit and contribute to a document in real time, fostering collaboration and eliminating the hassle of version control. Google Sheets allows for easy data sharing and collaborative spreadsheet work, enabling teams to collectively organize, analyze, and update information. With an easy-to-use interface and real-time updates, Google Suite is perfect for any team, and essential for a distributed team. 
  • Figma
    • Figma is the primary tool we use for design-centered tasks. Figma makes design approachable and its elegant interface is great for cross-team projects involving both designers and non-designers. Being a distributed team, Figma’s real-time collaboration capabilities are top-notch, enabling multiple designers to work simultaneously on the same project. Figma also creates more increased visibility into what others are working on, meaning if one team member is out on vacation it’s easy for another to pick up right where they left off. Being a web-based product also means Figma projects sync across all devices automatically so designers never have to worry about accessing the correct, most updated version of a project.
  • Microsoft Teams
    • Since we built our products to integrate with Microsoft Teams, it’s no surprise our team also employs Teams for instant messaging and video conferencing. We love using Teams since it seamlessly integrates with our in-house products, and has a familiar feel to the rest of the Microsoft Office suite. The best part is that you can access chat, video calls, your calendar, and group messaging threads within a single application. Our team loves that we don’t have to switch back and forth between different applications for messaging, calls, and collaborating.
  • Jira
    • Having a centralized project management tool is something every remote team needs. Jira provides a centralized platform where team members can collaborate and track progress on tasks regardless of their physical location. It enables efficient communication and eliminates the need for lengthy email threads or scattered information across different channels. Jira’s comprehensive features, like issue tracking, task assignment, and workflow management, allow remote teams like ours to organize efficiently. Team members can create, assign, and prioritize tasks, set due dates, and monitor progress in real-time, ensuring everyone stays aligned and accountable. Jira offers transparency by providing visibility into the team’s work and progress. Being a remote team, it’s essential that members can access the latest updates, view project timelines, and generate reports from anywhere. Lastly, Jira integrates seamlessly with other popular collaboration tools, such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, Confluence, and Trello, making it easy to add into your suite of tools.

If your team is ready to stay ahead of the curve and stay connected, finding a group of applications that work best for your team is imperative for your success. For those with the means to survey your team on their preferences of collaboration software, this is a great opportunity to gather their feedback on how they like to work best, and provide solutions to make them feel both heard and supported. 

Finding the right tools to support a diverse and collaborative team is a constant effort from all parties, especially leaders. Explore how MultiShare can bring back the collaborative energy your teams want without sacrificing the value and benefits of remote work.

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8 Trends in Employee Benefits and Perks for Remote Workers

The remote work revolution has already drastically changed the job market landscape, what people expect from their jobs, and how they want their jobs to fit into their life. Now, with such a hot remote job market, people are taking a closer look at what companies offer beyond the salary and expected benefits to ensure they are joining an organization that values their skills and them simply as people. What does this look like in practice? We’ve compiled a list of some of the best perks remote workers receive as a part of their employment agreements and some companies redefining what it means to take care of your employees.

Common Remote Work Stipends

  1. Home Office Stipends
    1. At this point, most remote first organizations offer some form of a stipend for their employees to furnish their space and update their equipment. 
  2. Wifi Stipends
    1. In addition to home office stipends, stipends to go towards wifi bills have been growing in popularity for remote organizations to offer to ensure their employees have a strong internet connection for their home office.
  3. Wellness and Wellbeing stipends
    1. We’ve seen organizations offer stipends and reimbursements for gym memberships, health clubs, massages, other needs to help take care of your physical health. 
  4. Coworking Memberships 
    1. Getting out of the house during the day helps employees feel like a part of their local community, and feel less lonely. Bonus points if it also means they get the chance to work alongside colleagues that live in the same area more regularly. 
  5. Continuous Learning Stipends
    1. We’ve seen this type of stipend offered as lump sums, yearly allowances, or monthly subscriptions to various services that provide online courses and education.
  6. Blanket “Remote Work” Stipend
    1. Many organizations, regardless of if they operate under a fully or partially remote work model, offer some form of general monthly or yearly stipend. These funds help cover some of the costs associated with working from home, and let their employees determine how best to spend the grant based on their current needs.

Perks for Remote Workers

  1. Mandatory Time Off in Addition to PTO. 
    1. A few years ago, news of organizations offering unlimited PTO was everywhere, and it was a groundbreaking concept—employees could take off as much time as they wanted, within reason. But companies started to discover that the social pressure around not taking too much time off was stopping employees from even taking as much as they had been when their days off were capped (such as three weeks per year). Some organizations have company-wide or mandated weeks off where employees are required to log off and recharge. Others require employees to take a certain number of days of PTO each quarter or year to maximize their bonuses and to encourage a healthy work-life balance.
  2. Work From Anywhere
    1. Many remote-first companies, such as AirBnB, have embraced a work from anywhere policy, allowing remote employees to do their jobs wherever they’d like. Such workplace policies can manifest in various ways, such as working from a remote cabin for a month or from a different co-working space every week. The only stipulation most organizations have with this rule is that you have to stay in the country where you are based—otherwise it’s up to you!

Including all of these perks might not be a fit for every organization. But it is a great reminder that taking care of your employees helps them take care of you and your organization. Keeping a remote team feeling both connected and fulfilled is no small feat. When it comes to getting stuff done, see how a virtual office integration like Frameable Spaces for Microsoft Teams can enhance your day-to-day workflows and improve both team morale and productivity. Book a demo today and start experiencing a better way to work.

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Elevate Your MSP and VAR Services Through Differentiation

In today’s fast-paced and technology-driven business landscape, it’s more important than ever for organizations to optimize their IT operations and stay ahead of the competition. This is why the managed services market is experiencing explosive growth, with more and more businesses turning to MSPs to provide a comprehensive suite of IT services tailored to their specific needs. As a result, the global managed services market was valued at $179.33 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $393.72 billion by 2028. The highly saturated market showcases the need for differentiation to stand out.

The importance of differentiation

It has become increasingly difficult for VARs and MSPs to differentiate themselves. With over 1 million global information service providers, most of which offer Microsoft 365 products, there is often a significant overlap between offerings. A recent study determined that over 80% of VARs and MSPs offer the same services. As a result, VARs and MSPs need help to stand out in a crowded market and attract new clients. They must now focus on offering unique value propositions, such as specialized expertise in a particular industry or technology, personalized customer service, or innovative solutions that can solve specific pain points for their customers.

Ways to differentiate your services

If you are a VAR or MSP struggling to differentiate your services from the competition, there are several strategies you can employ to set yourself apart in the market.

  • Become a thought leader
    • Becoming a thought leader effectively allows VARs and MSPs to differentiate their services and establish themselves as experts in their field. By sharing their knowledge and expertise with potential clients, VARs and MSPs can build trust and credibility, increasing business opportunities. One way to do this is by publishing blog posts that offer insights and advice on industry trends and best practices. VARs and MSPs can also share their expert advice on local media outlets and podcasts to increase their visibility and reach a wider audience.
  • Offer flexible pricing and packaging
    • Pricing is a crucial part of MSP’s profitability and revenue streams. There is no “one-size-fits-all” model. Kaseya’s 2022 MSP Benchmark survey respondents indicated billing model data is relatively evenly distributed. Offering flexible pricing and packaging options can give MSPs an advantage in a competitive market. By tailoring pricing and packaging to fit their customers’ needs, MSPs can create more value for their clients and make it easier for them to do business.
Predominant Billing Model for MSPSAll Respondents
Combination of per user and per device22%
Per user (all-in seat price)21%
Per device17%
Value-based (fixed fee subscription) managed services15%
Tiered bundles for managed services12%
A la carte11%
Kaseya, 2022 MSP Benchmark Survey Report: MSP Industry Trends.
  • Invest in marketing
    • Marketing is a valuable aspect of any business; VARs and MSPs are no different. Create content that is useful for your ideal customers and that helps your current customers get more out of your offering.
  • Expand your product offerings
    • Consider expanding your product offerings to differentiate your services and provide more value to your customers. One way to do this is by adding a virtual office integration to your product suite. With more businesses adopting remote and hybrid work, virtual office integrations offer a great way to upsell current offerings while opening up recurring revenue streams. In addition, a 2021 survey identified managing remote workers as one of the biggest challenges for MSP clients. 

Communicating your differentiation

It’s not enough for VARs and MSPs to differentiate themselves—they must also effectively communicate their unique value propositions. This can be achieved through targeted marketing efforts, including social media campaigns, email newsletters, and website content highlighting their expertise and showcasing what sets them apart. By taking the time to understand their clients’ unique needs and challenges, VARs and MSPs can offer tailored solutions that provide maximum value.

VARs and MSPs can also leverage customer testimonials and case studies to demonstrate their differentiation in action. These resources can be used to showcase successful projects and satisfied clients, providing evidence of a particular VAR or MSP’s value to a business.

Differentiate your offerings with Frameable Spaces

In today’s remote work environment, businesses rely on digital collaboration tools to stay connected. As an MSP or VAR, you have the opportunity to differentiate your offerings and stand out from the competition by providing innovative solutions that enhance the remote work experience for your customers.

Frameable Spaces offers a powerful Microsoft Teams integration to help you achieve this goal. Our app allows you to expand your product offerings and increase retention by providing a valuable add-on to Teams. Connect with us today to help your clients communicate and collaborate more efficiently while delivering advanced collaboration features, visibility, and analytics.

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Future of work online meetings remote work

The Future of Work Begins Now—Here’s Who’s Designing It

By now you’ve probably heard this a thousand times: hybrid work is here to stay. People love their remote and hybrid jobs, and everyone has come to the general consensus that workplace flexibility is not something that people will easily forgo. As companies and workers alike look to the future, it’s helpful to keep an eye on the biggest change-makers in the industry. Here’s a look at our team’s round up of the people and organizations to watch as we navigate the ever-changing future of work. 

Nicholas Bloom

Bloom, a Stanford Economics professor, is the foremost expert on remote work and remote work trends, authoring some of the most insightful research on the subject to come out in the last decade. In 2017, when only 8% of the U.S. worked from home, Bloom gave a talk about his research and how leaning into work from home could change the world. Now in 2023, he’s become a key advisor to many Fortune 100 companies, and definitely someone everyone interested in the remote work revolution should keep their eye on.

Katie Burke

As Chief People Officer at Hubspot, Katie Burke has shaped the company’s post-pandemic approach to business and has even shifted how they pay their employees. Compensation at Hubspot is now based on one anchor city per country; for example, New York City is the anchor for U.S. based employees, so no matter where U.S. Hubspot employees find themselves, they are being paid fairly. With this move, Hubspot is leading the way as many other organizations look to become both more equitable and attract top talent—no matter where they are in the world. 


Canva is an approachable graphic design platform that is changing the way people create and collaborate on visual content. With a user-friendly interface and extensive library of design templates, Canva is empowering individuals and teams to create professional-quality designs without the need for specialized skills or software. This democratization of graphic design is helping to break down barriers to entry for those interested in design and enable more creativity in the workplace across various industries. Furthermore, Canva’s cloud-based platform allows for seamless collaboration and sharing of designs across teams. Canva is playing a key role in enabling remote collaboration, they even bolster a large roster of entirely remote employees around the world.

Cheryl Cran

Cheryl Cran, the founder of NextMapping, is a recognized expert in the future of work and its surrounding thought leadership. She has been at the forefront of the conversations surrounding the future of work, providing insights and guidance to organizations worldwide. Cheryl’s vision for the future of work is one of innovation and human-centeredness, where organizations are able to adapt quickly to changing circumstances and leverage the latest technology to achieve their goals. As an acclaimed author of 10 books and an inspiring keynote speaker on the topics of remote and hybrid work, Cran is a visionary thought leader in the future of work. Her insights and expertise have been featured in top-tier publications including Fast Company, Huffington Post, and Forbes as she works to shape the future of work by empowering individuals and organizations to embrace change and create success regardless of their industry.


Frameable has brought a new perspective to what it means to collaborate remotely. Developing sleek and easy to use tools for elevating day to day meetings, productivity, and even large-scale virtual events, has positioned them to become a stand out in the remote work space. Their flagship product, Spaces, gives teams a virtual office that is straightforward and easy to use. And for organizations that already use Microsoft Teams, they even offer a built-in application specifically for Teams users to make work more streamlined and collaboration seamless no matter where coworkers are located. 

If you’re looking to take your remote team to the next level, see how Spaces can improve your team’s connectivity and productivity–no matter where they are. Schedule a demo to learn more.


Front provides a shared inbox platform for teams to manage their emails, social media messages, and other communication channels in one place. Its platform offers features like email templates, message assignments, and automated workflows to help teams work together more efficiently and effectively no matter where they are. On top of this comes integrations with top technologies already in use by many, like Slack. By simplifying and automating many repetitive tasks that come with day-to-day work, Front is positioned to keep changing how we work.

Chris Heard

CEO of Firstbase, Heard founded the company that is now changing the way organizations handle the hardware needs of their remote workforce. By giving teams access to the physical items they need to get their jobs done and keeping track of everything in the cloud, Firstbase is making it easier and more efficient for companies to take advantage of going remote. Follow him on LinkedIn where he regularly discusses the future of work and shares conversations from his podcast Against the Herd.


Hive is a new platform for managing both projects and teams. It offers a centralized workspace where team members can collaborate, track their tasks, and communicate with each other. Hive’s big differentiator is its ability to integrate with other tools that teams often use, such as Google Drive, Salesforce, and GitHub.Its user-friendly interface and powerful features make it a popular choice among teams of all sizes, from small startups to large enterprises. 


Notion is the productivity and project management app taking the world by storm. From solo-entrepreneurs to full teams, Notion’s user base has quickly grown and it’s easy to see why: Notion is approachable. Whether a team needs to plan and scope a large project, or a young adult finds themselves needing to create a budget, Notion is straightforward and customizable to users’ needs. This all in one powerhouse that can be a CRM, calendar, note taker, and even an Excel competitor is definitely one to pay attention to. 


Okta provides identity and access management solutions. With a cloud-based platform, it allows organizations to securely manage and authenticate users’ identities across different applications and devices. Okta’s platform is highly scalable, allowing businesses to easily integrate it into their existing infrastructure. As remote, hybrid, and work-from-anywhere models continue to grow, the need for secure and efficient identity management solutions is definitely not going anywhere.Their continued expansion of capabilities has positioned them to become a new leader in the industry.

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