Working. Evolved.

Today’s post was written by Thom Gruhler, corporate vice president at Microsoft.

The way we work has evolved. Dynamic teams that span time zones are no longer the exception; collaboration is how work gets done and people expect to be able to access their work from any device. In addition, co-working spaces like WeWork are positioned at the center of this change and offer a new generation of workers an exciting alternative for the traditional physical workspace.

It’s with this in mind that I’m pleased to announce we’ve joined forces with our friends at WeWork to launch a special offer for Office 365. Launching in February and running through June of this year, WeWork members around the world can get 25 percent off an Office 365 Business or Business Premium subscription, giving them access to the tools and technology that empower them to achieve their goals. In fact, check out this video to learn how Dash, the mobile tech startup that helps turn any car into a “smart” car, is unleashing the era of smarter, safer and greener driving with the help of Office 365 and WeWork.

WeWork is home for freelancers, startups, a generation of millennial workers and others who aspire to be something much more than a success in business. They’re looking for meaning in their work and they surround themselves with people that share their unique set of perspectives and expectations when it comes to where and how they work.

While physical spaces are adapting to the way people want to work today, we’re also seeing three other important developments that will forever change the way we work.

We’re moving to the cloud. Fueled by the explosion of mobile devices and the growing need for innovation, productivity and collaboration across teams and portfolios, today’s startups and small businesses are the greatest indicators of what’s ahead and proof that the future of work will live in the cloud. While some of us are already experiencing the preliminary stages of this shift, 2016 will be the year that the cloud breaks past its tech-savvy early adopters and begins to integrate itself into the larger work culture at more traditional firms.

Freelancers will dominate. The companies who will fare the best in this fast-paced atmosphere will have deep connections to a network of freelancers who can provide in-demand skills on demand. The workforce is beginning to step up to this challenge by taking on more specialized skills and engaging in continuing education, both online and in person. This shift isn’t driven solely by their genuine love for learning. Millennials are attracted to the flexible nature of freelance work and are very open to working for themselves, with 80 percent of them responding to a survey by Elance-oDesk that they would be willing to leave their current job to go freelance. By 2020, I believe we will see a hugely different workforce of skilled freelancers with flexible work schedules dominating the market, with 2016 as the tipping point.

There will be new expectations for leaders. Whether they’re freelance or fulltime, modern workers—especially millennials—are looking for jobs that bring purpose to their lives. Creativity, collaboration and work-life balance are priorities for many. According to a Career Builder survey, 25 percent of workers have held five jobs or more by the age of 35. Each time they leave a job, it costs the company somewhere between $15,000 and $25,000 to replace them. That means that supporting the priorities of today’s workers isn’t just a nice thing to do—retention is a business imperative. If leaders want to attract top talent, they must find ways to inject purpose into the jobs they’re offering and create a culture that’s attractive to workers with in-demand skills. They need to tell the story of their brand in an impactful way, give workers projects that align with their goals and manage their teams in a way that allows for the freedom to engage their passions outside of their career.

At Microsoft, our mission is clear. We’re in the business of empowering everyone on the planet to achieve more. And Office 365 is built to fuel the growing anywhere workplace. We’ve designed Office 365 to deliver the latest technology and tools to help employees work in a modern way.

  1. It moves with you. Most of us are using multiple devices for work and we need a fluid experience from one device to the next. With Office 365, you can begin an Excel workbook on your laptop, edit it on your phone during the bus ride home and finish it with your tablet later in the evening. Office 365 is a productivity tool for you, not for any particular platform. We’ve removed all barriers between devices and operating systems so that Office 365 can be your consistent ally in achieving your goals, regardless of device.
  1. It’s built for today’s collaboration. Office 365 makes working on a project with your colleagues simple. Have a presentation to give tomorrow, but a key colleague doesn’t fly in till first thing in the morning? No worries: You can revise your PowerPoint deck together, in real-time, as if you’re in the same room—even though you’re on opposite coasts.
  1. It works for you. In today’s workplace, we have too many apps, devices and tools—we just don’t have enough time. Office 365 is built with intelligence to cut through the complexity and help you get things done quickly. It gets work done for you, whether that’s automatically removing low-priority email in Outlook while also making sure everyone in the “To:” line has access to modern cloud attachments or helping you easily and quickly find the right Office command with Tell Me.

If you’re new to Office 365, get started today with Office 365 for your business. Office 365 is enabling this new world of work today and for the changing workplace to come.

—Thom Gruhler