Microsoft’s Windows 11 hybrid work event: what to expect
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
Microsoft will reveal how the company is building Windows for the future of hybrid work next week. A special event, Windows Powers the Future of Hybrid Work, will take place on April 5th and feature Windows and Surface chief Panos Panay and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. It’s expected to cover a variety of new Windows 11 features for security, productivity, and management, both in the client and cloud.
So what exactly are we likely to see next week? We’ll likely get early glimpses at Microsoft’s vision for building Windows for a new world of remote work. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has emphasized how important the move to hybrid work is for Microsoft. “Hybrid work represents the biggest shift to how we work in our generation,” said Nadella last year. “And it will require a new operating model, spanning people, places, and processes.”
Microsoft has made several changes to Microsoft Teams throughout the pandemic, making it easier to use for remote participants and workers adjusting to the reality of hybrid work. While Windows 11 includes some improvements to multiple monitors, multitasking, and Teams integration, it’s clear Microsoft has an opportunity to build a lot more into the core of the operating system.
A smarter clipboard
One of the first new Windows 11 features we’re expecting to see next week is a smart clipboard. Windows 11 already has a clipboard where you can store and paste multiple items, but Microsoft has been working on suggested actions that you can take with items in your clipboard. These could be suggestions to call a number through Microsoft Teams or Skype if you’ve copied one or send an email if you’ve copied an email address.
References to this smart clipboard and suggested actions feature have been appearing in recent Windows 11 dev builds, so it’s likely this is a productivity feature we’ll see Microsoft highlight.
Tabs in File Explorer
Another feature that has appeared in recent Windows 11 dev builds is tabs in File Explorer. This highly requested feature first appeared as Sets in Windows 10, before Microsoft canceled the project to bring tabs to every app. Now it looks like tabs are set to return to File Explorer in Windows 11 soon.
Tabs support is currently hidden within Windows 11 dev builds, and Microsoft said last month that it would start testing experimental features in Windows 11 that might never ship. It’s possible that tabs in File Explorer are just an experiment, but if Microsoft is aiming to improve Windows 11 productivity, then this feature looks like an ideal example for its April 5th event.