If your initial lockdown-work-from-home jubilation has now transformed into exhaustion, then you are not alone. Companies are increasingly worried about employees being burnt out as each passing day has started to look the same. That's where the folks at Microsoft come in. The tech giant has come up with a solution of 'virtual commute'.
The software is a nod to the commute after work that marks the end of long hours at work -- for some it is also a breather. Virtual commute has no physical significance as in it would not remind you to take out your car for a ride -- it will, however, remind you to take your mind out for a ride. Microsoft Corp's Teams collaboration software is adding the ability to schedule a virtual commute.
"We may not miss that hour of traffic bookending our days, but studies from Microsoft Research shows that commutes can serve as meaningful transitions at the beginning and end of the workday -- and that the reflection we do during that time can increase productivity by 12-15 per cent. Available in the first half of 2021, new features in Teams will make it seamless to structure your day by scheduling a virtual commute that helps you have a productive start in the morning and mindfully disconnect in the evening," said Microsoft.
The feature would remind workers to wind down at the end of work hours and suggest tasks that can help them create a little bit of mental space for themselves. It will prompt users to list tasks as completed or add them to a to-do list. Users can also rate how their days went and take part in guided meditation as prompted by Headspace. The feature would be integrated with the Headspace app. "We are excited to share that we have partnered with Headspace to bring a curated set of mindfulness experiences and science-backed meditations into the flow of work in Microsoft Teams," said the tech giant.
Microsoft said that it is pertinent for managers to keep a check on how work is evolving and how it is impacting employees. "Powered by Workplace Analytics, new insights in Teams allow leaders to ask questions like 'Are employees at risk for burnout? Are people maintaining strong internal connections? Are relationships with customers being maintained?' Operating like a health monitor for organisational resilience, this feature helps leaders track indicators of employee wellbeing, respond to irregular rhythms with research-backed best practices, and measure the impact of change over time," said the tech giant.