Five Essential Habits for Leaders to Maximise Productivity with Microsoft Copilot

As AI and Copilot transforms the workplace, leaders must adopt new habits to enhance productivity and efficiency. Here are five essential habits to guide your employees through this transition effectively.

Five Essential Habits for Leaders to Maximise Productivity with Microsoft Copilot in 2024

By now, almost everyone has experimented with generative AI in one way or another, whether in work or personal life. As employees utilise Microsoft Copilot in their organisations, individual productivity gains and business-wide effects will become evident. While 2023 focused on the potential of AI, 2024 will showcase the proof.

However, business leaders must help their teams adopt new mindsets and habits to create an AI-driven organisation where technology complements human ingenuity. Here are five essential habits to cultivate as you guide your teams through this transition. 

1. Utilise Time Gained from Generative AI Effectively

With Copilot enhancing efficiency, over half of its users report spending extra time on focused work, according to Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index Special Report. This is a positive trend but about one in six use the time for additional meetings, which could be counter-productive if they already spend long hours in online calls or face-to-face meetings. 

We advise you to be deliberate about how you use this newfound time, and encourage your teams to do the same. Reflect on the priorities of your role and organisation, and think about how to empower your team to engage in work that energises them, and drives the business forward. For instance, managers might spend more time coaching, while sales personnel might focus on nurturing customer relationships. For many roles, fostering human connections will be crucial.

Colette Stallbaumer, General Manager of Microsoft 365 & Future of Work states “As leaders, it’s our duty to help people allocate the time saved by generative AI to other high-value tasks.”

2. People Skills Are More Important Than Ever

Management, communication, leadership, and teamwork are among the most sought-after skills for employers, according to LinkedIn job-posting data. In other words, “soft skills” are crucial in the age of generative AI. As AI reshapes work, LinkedIn VP Aneesh Raman foresees “a work environment that’s more human, not less.”

“People skills will be central to individual career growth and company expansion,” Raman, head of LinkedIn’s Opportunity Project said. Employers will become educators as employees acquire new skills and master new tools: “Leaders must begin by communicating clearly, compassionately, and empathetically with their teams.”

3. No Question Is Too Basic with Copilot

In Microsoft Teams meetings, private side chats with Copilot are judgment-free zones, and employees should see them that way too. Lost track of the conversation? Use Copilot to catch up. Need help thinking of a question? Ask Copilot for suggestions. “Customers tell me Copilot provides a sense of psychological safety,” says Alexia Cambon, a Senior Director at Microsoft who leads Work Trend Index research. “It’s a support system that alleviates the pressure of note-taking or capturing every detail.”

This support is especially beneficial for those participating in meetings in a second or third language, or for neurodivergent individuals. “The positive impact on those with workplace accessibility needs has been remarkable,” says Vicki Holman, Collaboration Platform Owner at Hargreaves Lansdown, a UK-based financial services firm. “Some employees with stress-related challenges find it hard to stay present in meetings, but Copilot’s recaps help them review information and reduce meeting anxiety.”

4. Reduce Time Spent Searching for Information

A significant portion of our workday is spent searching for information. Where is that data point? Who sent it? Is the latest file in an email, Teams message, or video conference? Employees may not even realise this is a pain point.

A global survey of 18,100 people revealed they spend more time searching for information (27% of their day) than creating (24%), communicating (24%), or consuming it (25%). Moreover, only half (50%) of the information they process daily is relevant to their job. Copilot simplifies this by scanning your entire data ecosystem—emails, meetings, chats, documents, and more, plus the web—to find what you need. Leaders should encourage their teams to start every search with Copilot, sharing effective prompts and key insights along the way.

5. Shift from “Command Mode” to “Conversation Mode”

The web has trained us to search using quick keyword strings. With generative AI, we need to master the art of conversational interaction. “Search is typically a one-off question,” says A.J. Brush, a researcher on human-computer interaction and Partner Group Product Manager at Microsoft. But with Copilot, follow-up questions are crucial. If you’re not getting the desired result, provide more context: “I’m trying to do X.” “The goal is to Y.” “Can you help with Z?” Continue the conversation as long as needed—there’s no risk from asking too many questions.

As Microsoft CVP and Deputy CTO Sam Schillace notes, “If you want a better answer, you have to ask a better question.” Working with Copilot is like having a patient assistant by your side, helping manage workload, process meeting content, and boost creativity. This requires building new habits, a task that all leaders must approach with exploration, empathy, and humanity.

Listen to Microsoft’s Deputy CTO Sam Schillace’s Podcast  on ‘How AI Will Shift Our Productivity Paradigm.’

Embrace Copilot for AI-Driven Success

In conclusion, leveraging Microsoft Copilot effectively requires businesses to foster new habits in their teams. 

By incorporating these five habits—using time effectively, prioritising people skills, fostering a judgment-free learning environment, reducing search time, and embracing conversational interactions—business leaders can harness the full potential of Microsoft Copilot.

These strategies boost individual productivity and drive organisation-wide success, creating a more efficient and human-centric work environment in 2024 and beyond.

Ready to revolutionise your workflow and supercharge your team's productivity? Talk to us about how Microsoft Dynamics 365 applications can help you and your business!

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