Restoring human connections in remote work: A conversation with Microsoft

4 min read
Stephanie Darling
  •  Apr 20, 2022
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Remote and hybrid work can lead to a loss of human connection, underscoring a feeling that everything is more of a task rather than a process of building things together, according to InVision’s Chief Product Officer Jeff Chow, something that he says the company has taken to heart.

“Our philosophy is that these pain points are short-term. What’s exciting about the shift to remote and hybrid work is an appetite for change. The future is bright for organizations to express this change. We believe this will bring more digital engagement and increase equity and inclusivity, leading to better business outcomes,” says Jeff.

Jeff recently shared insights about the short- and long-term challenges of remote and hybrid collaboration at the Microsoft 365 Collaborative Showcase. Below, his four takeaways on how to better unlock a new level of visual collaboration across teams.

Watch the full video here

Related: 3 tips for better hybrid collaboration using Microsoft Teams and Freehand

Fortune favors those who adapt


InVision’s existence as a remote company was intentional from day one. While there are advantages to remote work models, such as an ability to hire top talent (no matter the zip code) and offering team members flexible schedules and more authorship over their lives, it is not without obstacles. As noted in the 2022 trends report, remote and hybrid teams face several challenges, including how to best utilize their tech stacks or select the tools that ensure everyone has a voice.

In response to the stream of challenges remote teams were facing, InVision created Freehand, a collaborative canvas, to connect team members’ work across distances and disciplines, which is now used by millions of teams worldwide.

“InVision is used by 100 of the fortune 100 companies with over 8 million users. A fun fact — we are the first fully remote company with over 400 employees distributed across the world. We haven’t just built these tools to make customers succeed, we built them to make ourselves succeed.” says Jeff.

Context switching saps productivity 

Sixty-eight percent of workers toggle between 10 different apps per hour at work. Establishing processes that allow their cross-functional partners to centralize data and streamline feedback is more important than ever for hybrid and remote teams. 



Companies can circumvent tool overload and alleviate lack of focus by replacing single-use tools with those that can be used across the organization, Jeff notes.

“InVision’s integration with MS Teams means you no longer need to constantly context switch from communicating and then working elsewhere – everything is accessible in one place instantly,”  says Jeff.

Quiet collaboration supports inclusion efforts

Companies can also benefit from “quiet collaboration”, where introverted team members that are less likely to command attention have an opportunity to be heard during the meeting, as a means to bringing the best ideas to virtual meetings. Jeff cites brainstorming sessions as a key example of this, and how using Freehand’s sticky notes and reactions features can help in meeting platforms such as MS Teams.

“Rather than someone presenting at you, everyone is sharing the canvas from the start. Meeting fatigue becomes a collaborative moment,” says Jeff. 

Plan your next meeting quickly with the MS Teams meeting template from InVision. 

Reclaiming time previously lost to poor collaboration is key to success

A recent Society of Human Resource Management survey found that 52% of workers who stayed at their jobs during the pandemic reported taking on more work. By prioritizing people before tools, companies can give time back to team members and untangle the remote/hybrid collaboration processes, which Jeff highlighted as a benefit to visual platforms like the combination of InVision and MS Teams.

“Our goal is for anyone to be able to use InVision immediately with zero learning curve, no matter their profession or industry,” says Jeff. 

Why start from scratch?

InVision offers a variety of templates tailored to different industries and workflows so you can jumpstart your next project. 

Additional resources:

Freehand for MS Teams start guide 

Freehand for MS Teams support page

Microsoft Teams partnered with InVision to fuel Collaborative Intelligence.

Use the MS Teams Freehand app to share a Freehand with meeting members, giving everyone the authority to contribute to the visual canvas within the meeting stage. Teammates feel empowered to add their ideas and perspectives, lifting up all voices. Since all work is happening in the meeting, creative momentum takes off while distractions fall away, helping boring and unproductive meetings become a thing of the past.

Try the app

Collaborate in real time on a digital whiteboard