A lot of people underestimated the psychological impact of working from home during this pandemic, presuming it would actually be more liberating since you didn’t have to come into work every day. Quite the opposite, this new “WFH” lifestyle may have actually increased people’s stress because of the lack of separation of work and personal time, lack of a dedicated space for work, and other elements that have been taken for granted in office spaces. While it can’t really replace your shrink, Microsoft Teams is introducing features that it hopes will keep workers sane which, in turn, will keep them coming back to the app again and again.
These new wellbeing features sound almost ironic given that Microsoft Teams is a service designed to keep workers productive. Productivity, however, doesn’t mean just churning out results. It also involves being physiologically and psychologically fit to actually keep on working, something that people are discovering is more difficult when stuck at home.
To do its part in maintaining a healthy work-life balance even at home, Microsoft Teams is adding a new Insights section to help keep you at your best. Powered by MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics, Insights will offer reminders to take breaks, connect with co-workers socially, or even prompt you to rate your mood or emotional state. You can even schedule a virtual commute that will remind you to bookend your workday as you would normally do if the world were still normal.
Microsoft Teams also has something for managers who need to keep an eye out for their subordinates. In addition to monitoring the team’s overall productivity and morale, Insights also has a selection of tips and programs for coaching and development to help pick workers up when they’re down.
Insights is coming to Microsoft Teams next month and is just the latest in Microsoft’s attempts to sell its service as something beyond regular video conferencing like Zoom or group chats like Slack. A few months ago, it introduced a quirky Together mode that dumped participants into virtual cafes, libraries, and conference rooms in an attempt to make such meetings feel less mechanical and more social.