In April 2020, 46.6% of people in employment did some work at home (that’s approx. 15.2 million people!) – with so many people working from home, it’s imperative that businesses keep in touch with their workforce. Organisations hoping to build and maintain their competitive advantages will have to evolve with the needs of their workforce accordingly. We’re really pleased to see Microsoft 365 is paving the way to make wellbeing easier to prioritise.
A modern intranet is a platform upon which organisations can unite their remote workers across multiple geographies and time zones to ensure that they are able to easily engage and collaborate and drive results. However, it is important to fully leverage a modern intranet with collaboration apps that will foster both productivity AND staff wellbeing.
In the meantime, here are our top three tools in the Microsoft 365 stack that can help with fostering wellbeing – particularly with remote workers:
Improve your work patterns through personal productivity insights. More people than ever feel they lack control over their time at work. Many teams spend 80-90% of their week sitting in meetings, sending emails, and talking on the phone. But 50% of meeting time is seen to be unproductive and almost half of employees report that their work interferes with their family life.
MyAnalytics is an extension of your Microsoft 365 experience that helps you find opportunities to build better habits and get back in control of your time. From a dashboard view you can see how time has been spent over the past month, productivity insights about work patterns, helpful suggestions for improvement, and information about a user’s network, top collaborators, and collaboration activities.
- Insights Outlook add-in – The Insights add-in for Outlook presents users with activity cards based on their recent work experience with options to respond or follow up on based on the activity.
- Digests – Receive a weekly digest that gives a user highlights about the previous week.
- Inline suggestions in Outlook – Contextual, data driven recommendations to improve work patterns.
- Focus plan – Helps you schedule up to two hours of uninterrupted time on your calendar each day to focus on top-priority work.
Integration with Headspace
Headspace is an app that offers hundreds of guided meditations on everything from stress management and anxiety management to sleep, personal growth, and mind-body health. In early 2021, Microsoft plans to integrate this meditation app into its environment. Enabling users to schedule recurring time to meditate from Teams during their scheduled virtual commute (more on that later) or anytime during their workday, such as before a big meeting or to focus before starting an important project.
“We’re thrilled to work with Microsoft to bring more mindfulness into people’s days all over the world,” says Megan Jones Bell, chief strategy and science officer of Headspace, whose app and online content are used by more than 65 million people in 190 countries. “We hope that by meeting people where they work, we can encourage prioritising well-being and integrate mental health routines into all 24 hours of the day.”
Headspace meditations have been clinically validated to reduce stress, improve focus and increase resilience. Sessions can be as short as 10 minutes a day for people to reap the benefits of bringing awareness to the present. “Mindfulness is a helpful way to step away from the anxious inner chatter we might feel as a result of stressful situations,” Jones Bell says. “It’s essentially an inner pause button that allows us to step out of the busyness trap and check in with ourselves.”
We recommend turning this functionality on when available!
Social apps within Microsoft 365
“Yammer is an important platform to align your employees on key company goals and key company values. It allows us to bring out the best in your culture, in your employees, your people.” Steve Nguyen, product evangelist at Microsoft Yammer is Microsoft’s ‘social media’ tool within the Microsoft 365 suite. You can update others on what you’re working on, connect with relevant folk as well as sync it seamlessly with the rest of Microsoft 365.
This is a great tool to use on a day to day basis with co-workers you may not be directly working on projects with but want to keep in the loop. We recommend that you view Yammer as a forum tool. It can be adopted in several ways (it’s designed to help build a social element within your organisation), but try to open communities with it. Forums where you don’t know who may be best to contribute to a question or build on an idea, or to get broader feedback from the whole company.
Yammer encourages interaction, engagement, communication, transparency and…dare we say it…fun? It’s an important tool that really has a place in a company that wants to connect with its workforce.
Our guide on wellbeing and remote working goes into more detail on how Microsoft 365 can increase wellbeing among your workforce. Wellbeing is something that’s becoming more and more important for employers to pay attention to. We’re glad to see Microsoft is introducing ways to help businesses prioritise wellbeing!