M365 Copilot: Supporting Neurodivergent Employees with Copilot

Microsoft Copilot, the new AI companion tool, is currently being rolled out across a wide range of Microsoft products, including 365, Windows 11, Edge and Bing. Every day, more and more employees in businesses all over the world are discovering how it can transform their working lives. Copilot is providing assistance in many of our everyday tasks, helping maximise productivity, reduce errors and free up time to spend on more creative, value-adding work.

SCC is already actively exploring the potential of Copilot, and as part of Microsoft’s early adopter programme (EAP) we’ve licensed it across around 50 members of our staff. Representing a broad cross-section of different job roles and user capabilities, we can better understand the ways in which Copilot can be so beneficial.

This means that Copilot isn’t just being used by tech experts familiar with artificial intelligence. It’s also being used by neurodivergent people, many of whom are less experienced with this type of tool. 

Supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Diversity and inclusion is a vital part of modern business, so that everyone feels that they have the chance to grow and succeed. This includes people who are neurodivergent, which is those considered to be on the autism spectrum or those who mentally process information in atypical ways. 

According to a recent internal survey, conducted by our neurodiverse employee network, around 10% of the SCC workforce consider themselves neurodivergent. Enabling better wellbeing and productivity for these employees can make a real difference not only to their success, but to us as a business, too.

The idea of neurodiversity has gained much greater publicity in recent years, which has led some to feel that it’s a ‘fad’ or a bandwagon to jump on. But the importance of it is real: neurodivergence is about accommodating people who think differently and work differently. Understanding is the first step, and then it’s embracing and providing tools like Copilot.

The initial feedback that we have had from neurodivergent members of our Copilot cohort has been extremely positive. A lot of the capabilities are still being explored at the time of writing, but four common benefits have been cited by many within our workforce:

Meeting summaries: generating summaries of meetings and Teams meetings, and providing action points has been transformative for those who struggle with organisation. Relieving the burden and time pressure of post-meeting admin is boosting the value that all employees derive from collaboration, both physically and virtually.

Note-taking: instead of notes being collected in a less organised format and in multiple different places, Copilot’s meeting summary reduces the risk of information getting missed and important actions not being followed up on.

Generating content: Copilot is already being used by many employees to generate content in Word. For example, giving Copilot a few words and a request to create a campaign around a particular topic can deliver a great starting point from which to build on.

Email summaries: Copilot can help summarise large email trails, and save time by cutting out the extraneous or irrelevant information. This is proving useful not only for neurodivergent employees, but everyone within the pilot cohort.

It’s worth remembering that neurodiversity can vary substantially from one person to another, and that different people will benefit from AI assistants like Copilot in different ways. And it’s because Copilot can suit so many different mental characteristics that it can be beneficial for everyone, neurodivergent or otherwise.

It’s clear that Microsoft is committed to accessibility in its products generally, and Copilot is a big step forward in meeting the needs of anyone at work who wants to work smarter and faster.

Copilot does represent a departure from many traditional ways of working, so encouraging the cultural shift among the workforce, alongside effective change management, is one of the biggest barriers to adoption. 

It’s natural that some people may avoid or be unaware of the possibilities of Copilot, because many don’t necessarily use their Microsoft package to its fullest extent. And that’s why we at SCC are strong advocates of internal Copilot ambassadors who can connect wary or resistant employees to a new level of efficiency. 

At SCC, we have a Copilot community, who meet regularly to discuss the use of Copilot, and really push its functionality to the limits. We feel it’s essential to have a community that is really going to drive adoption success, with communications and support material available to help them spread the message. That way, we can be better placed to help our customers on their own adoption journey. 

SCC, in partnership with Microsoft, runs a special pathfinder programme to assist in Microsoft Copilot adoption. Our experts, training services and support programmes can ensure that everyone realises the benefits of AI, while also helping your business get the most from its investment. Find out more on the pathfinder programme here.

Ready to start discussing your journey with Copilot? Or learn more about our Microsoft-funded Pathfinder engagements? Fill in the form below and our experts will get in touch…

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