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6 May 2021

Take charge of your time with new Outlook and Teams updates

The general feedback from most UK businesses is that remote/hybrid working is here to stay, but it does pose challenges for the future, around security, collaboration and employee wellbeing. Reports have shown that workers in the UK have increased their working week by 25%.

Microsoft’s Work Trend Index research indicates that regular breaks are important to ensure employees can stay focused and engaged amidst all the back-to-back meetings. With that in mind, the new updates across Outlook and Teams will leverage technology to focus on employee wellbeing and introduce breaks into their daily routines.


Create space for breaks in Outlook

The new settings in Outlook will make it much easier for employees to schedule regular breaks between back-to-back meetings with two different options:

1) Users can set scheduling defaults which will instantly shorten scheduled meetings

The great thing about the update is its customisation feature which allows users to choose if the break is before or after meetings, and its durations. E.g. scheduling a 5 minute break before 30 minute meetings, or a 15 minute break after 1 hour meetings. Once users begin to schedule their meetings, the start and end times of the meetings will automatically adjust according to the individual’s or business-wide setting.

2) Admins can now set business-wide scheduling which will shorten meetings and create space for breaks for all employees

For business-wide scheduling, users can change or customise their settings at any time for certain or all meetings. To alert employees, they’ll receive a notification when scheduling meetings, notifying them of any business-wide changes.


Personal wellbeing insights in Microsoft Teams

In one of our previous Microsoft editions, we discussed the release of the new employee experience platform Microsoft Viva, which encompasses communications, knowledge, learning, resources and insights into Microsoft 365 apps. But to further enhance the experience, Microsoft will be releasing new personal wellbeing insights within Microsoft Teams via Viva.

The new personal wellbeing experience features will include:

Reflection feature

The reflection feature will aid users in becoming more self-aware with their feelings and identifying patterns. This will be a personal and private experience for individuals.

Send praise

Designed to express appreciation for colleagues, this feature will schedule praise reminders to help employees form a habit to share gratitude.

Virtual commute

To help employees wind down and wrap up tasks, the virtual commute feature will prepare for the next day, disconnect from work and transition into personal time.

But the mission of wellbeing doesn’t end there! To further support employees relax and schedule in personal time, later in the year, Microsoft will be releasing a set of guided meditation and mindfulness experiences. The feature will be taken from headspace and will integrate into Viva Insights.

Looking for guidance on how to navigate around the new updates? Get in touch with our team today.


By OryxAlign