Front Line worker efficiency with Microsoft 365

Make Frontline Workers more efficient by improving communication via first class productivity tools.

How engaged are your frontline workers with the information they need to have access to and share with colleagues off the shop floor or in a different department?

How much time is spent providing information to these workers in paper form or in person?

Does this lead to a lack of information or worse incorrect information which in turns reduces productivity?

Think you’ve already got it covered?

If your Frontline Workers are already licensed for Microsoft 365, is it the right licence?

Example: Microsoft 365 Basic licences can not be used alongside Microsoft 365 Premium licences – Microsoft deems this a contravention of their Terms and Conditions.

What is a frontline worker? 

A Microsoft frontline worker licence is a cost-effective way to connect workers who traditionally haven’t had or don’t necessarily need all the tools that a knowledge worker might have. Frontline Worker examples include a manufacturing operative or a service engineer on the road. Historically, statistics show up to 80% of a manufacturer’s work force has not been part of the company digital infrastructure. This is changing rapidly.

What is a knowledge worker? 

A Knowledge Worker brings some level of expertise to a business and uses a laptop or PC to deliver it. Often involved in decision making at various levels within the business a Knowledge Worker will typically require a broad set of productivity tools in their day to day. These workers will commonly have access to Business Basic, Business Standard or Business Premium licences for example. 

Why should I provide by Frontline Workers with Microsoft productivity tools? 

Providing an appropriate set of connectivity tools will enable more effective two-way communication with your Frontline workforce. Rolling out Microsoft tools to your entire workforce will enable your business to digitise manual processes and onboard new employees more effectively among other things, all the while harnessing the security features within M365 to protect the organisation’s data.  To put this into context, Frontline Worker licences are deemed Microsoft Enterprise licences thus carry the same security features as a Business Premium licence. 

Consider these real-world applications. 


Approvals can be linked to a central system like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central for purchase orders and so on but approvals can also be entered manually to a separate to a central system:

  • Can I take a break – I feel unwell?
  • Please approve courier cost
  • Please approve this list of training delegates
  • Can I order more packing tape?

Small things that need signing off with an audit trail, every day.

Replacing your existing time management system

Use Shifts in Teams to allow staff to clock on and off AND book holiday.  

Managers can create shift team members and advise staff of future shifts allocated to them. 

Walkie Talkie

Enable your staff to speak to colleagues using Walkie Talkie in Teams. Communication is instant, effective and push to talk.


Ensure staff can access required & current documents (instructions, drawings etc), health and safety check lists and internal learning documents  

SharePoint and Teams is commonly used to create a full onboarding portal for staff. Where staff turnover is high in areas of the business, digitising staff onboarding saves time (and therefore money), ensures consistency, and provides HR with signed proof that the onboarding process has been completed. 

F3 & ‘On The Road’ (Line of Business) Power Apps

Service Engineers can have access to all their productivity tools and access a Power App for site visits, preventative maintenance visits and more. Using an F3 licence + a Power App will provide your business with real time, signed call sheets, and visit reports. A Power App licence will be required for these Frontline Workers along with their Frontline licence but the overall cost for your road warriors is still incredibly competitive when compared to licensing for many specialist apps or ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) licences. 

Look at this Visit Report example

What is the right type of Frontline Worker licence for my workforce? 


The F1 plan provides a subset of tools to manage and protect devices or organisational data and access to the web-based version of the Office productivity suite.  

The F1 plan does not offer a mailbox facility, but users are still able to access Teams and Yammer for communication, and they can store files and collaborate as with all knowledge workers across Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint. Many Frontline Workers will not need a mailbox function during their working day,   


M365 F3 is much more feature rich, comprising all the features of the F1 licence in addition to a Windows Enterprise E3 licence, mailbox (2GB of storage), Power Platform and a greater capability across the entire management, security, and compliance suite. An F3 licence costs a little more than a Business Basic but has all the additional security benefits you need to protect your data and infrastructure. 

If F3 licenced users access their productivity tools using a company device, the security features ensure that you know where your device is, removing the risk of ‘walkabout and walk off’.  

Devices for your Frontline workers 

It is not always necessary to provide a company device for every single employee.  Multiple staff based on site, can log on and off from a single device, on a shop floor for example, to clock on and off. If your business supports BYOD (bring your own device), staff can clock on and off from their smartphone for example.  

(Please note that F3 licences require devices with a screen smaller than 10.9 inches) 

What Device do we recommend?

Consider a Microsoft Surface Go for Business 

Cost affective device – unfettered from shopfloor PC workstations with access to Microsoft 365 web apps available up to screens of 10.9 inches – for workers not sitting at a desk – by design. 

Microsoft Surface Go for business devices can be fully ruggedised and come with the commonly required accessories for shop floor – such as BCDC scanning. This makes them ideal for shop floor use or being out on the road with a service engineer for example. 

These devices are also readily available to purchase and cost less than a laptop or notebook. 

In Summary 

10 reasons to use Frontline Worker licences.  

  1. Improves workforce productivity – better sharing of information reduces manual processes and keeps your workforce engaged with cross-company and departmental communications. 
  1. Digitise your onboarding process and create a learning portal for your staff, ideal for seasonal/agency staff.
  1. Multiple staff can log on to a single device with their F3 licence credentials to access emails and Teams messages. 
  1. F3 licences ensure company owned devices can’t ‘walkabout and walk off’.  
  1. High level security and protections against breaches and attack and inappropriate use make Frontline Worker licence ideal for Cyber Essentials, Zero Trust and Pen Testing. 
  1. Use Frontline Worker licences to allow staff to clock on and off using Teams Shifts. Retire your current time recorder system, Teams Shifts + Frontline Worker licensing will replace it. 
  1. Team Shifts allows staff to request holiday, time management, clocking and clocking out.
  1. Ideal licence type for BYOD as staff can log in to the Microsoft Surface Go on the shop floor or use their mobile device – the protection provided by the F3 licence protects their device AND your data. 
  1. Deploy Microsoft Planner and Frontline Worker licences to provide task and project management with full traceability of progress.
  1. Provide your service engineers with an F3 licence and the right Power App and keep connected with them real time. 

Thought for the Day 

How many mistakes are made due to poor communication? How much time does it take to onboard staff? How much is your current time management system costing? How much more productive would your workforce be, it they were ALL ‘in the loop’. Get in contact with Qi and we will take you through the specific areas that will benefit your business.