New tools can help boost wellbeing and soothe unexpected stresses of working from home

Six months into the pandemic, working at home has become routine for many people — but at a cost. For Kamal Janardhan, it’s a loss of afternoon tea breaks when she used to chat with co-workers. For Shamsi Iqbal, it’s a lack of time to focus between endless video calls and parental duties. For Charles Morris, it’s the blurring of boundaries among work, home and family.

The three Microsoft employees — an engineering leader, researcher and HR leader — feel lucky they’ve been able to work remotely. As experts in workplace wellbeing, they’re also addressing the universal stress it can cause. Collectively, they’re teaching mindfulness, researching productivity and learning surprising insights, like the fact that many people’s pre-pandemic, traffic-clogged commutes were actually beneficial.

At Microsoft Ignite this week, the company is announcing new features in Microsoft Teams and Outlook to help people around the world with their wellbeing and productivity. The features include a virtual commute experience for better work- and home-life transitions and integration with Headspace, a global leader in mindfulness and meditation.

They will also include tools to help people connect more easily with colleagues, schedule time for focused work and breaks, and see insights and patterns personalized for individuals, managers and leaders.

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Published by Vanessa Ho

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