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Microsoft acquires learning start-up TakeLessons

Microsoft has acquired an educational start-up called TakeLessons as it looks at hybrid working.

Daniel Richardson

Hybrid working Microsoft
Credit: @ijeab via Twenty20

Unleash Your Curiosity Can Microsoft’s latest acquisition improve the hybrid workplace?

  • Microsoft has acquired a startup where people book paid online and in-person classes called TakeLessons.
  • The move shows Microsoft’s commitment to employee education.
  • There are hopes that the new acquisition will help with hybrid work demands.

Microsoft recently pushed back the date for its employees to return to the office indefinitely. Despite this, the company is continuing to make plans for a hybrid workplace and its latest acquisition could be a key part of this strategy.

Through its ownership of LinkedIn, Microsoft already offers learning opportunities to find educational content. Premium subscriptions to the professional networking service include access to LinkedIn Learning that enables courses on topics related to the business world.

However, its acquisition of TakeLessons marks a transition to even broader educational topics. This is because TakeLessons provides classes beyond business areas, to include subjects such as music, languages, and the arts.

A spokesperson for Microsoft explained the reasoning behind the acquisition to CNBC: “TakeLessons is a unique, trusted online marketplace that connects diverse, qualified and vetted instructors with students of all ages pursuing their goals”

They went on to state that “this acquisition is in response to the growing demand on personalized hybrid opportunities and expands our product offerings to TakeLessons consumers, a leading online learning platform.”

Hybrid working at Microsoft

In the latest, Work Trend Index from Microsoft, the company looked at hybrid working. Cindy Rose, President of Microsoft in Western Europe, noted: “Some Microsoft employees find work-life balance and focus time by working from home, others by going into the office. It’s a strong case for hybrid work.”

Due to differing opinions on how was best to work, the company outlined how it would enable trust and flexibility. The first component in this was maintaining a growth mindset. This mindset “embraces every misstep as a learning opportunity, not as a failure”. In terms of learning and reaching a work-life balance, TakeLessons could help the business.

According to Microsoft, it has already managed success during the pandemic with “97% of employees who’ve talked with their manager about how they work best say their manager supports their desired work style” and “90% of Microsoft employees say they feel included in their work.”

Looking to the future, the Index stated “there is no precedent, and we don’t have all the answers, but we hope that sharing what we are learning will help other companies consider what flexible work means for them in order to develop a culture that makes hybrid work, well, really work.”

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