During last week’s Ignite event, Microsoft introduced a ton of new capabilities to help people stay connected and collaborate efficiently. Apart from the expected features such as breakout rooms, meeting recaps, etc, Microsoft also has taken a keen interest in improving employee wellbeing amidst this pandemic.
One such feature that has been well received is the 'Virtual Commute'. A virtual commute is essentially a short break at the start or end of work to wind down and transition easily.
Some good WFH advice here:— Daniel Pink (@DanielPink) September 9, 2020
- Create a "commute" -- a short period to transition from home to work.
- Design a closing ritual to mark the day's end.
- Focus on your daily "must win."
- Schedule & protect uninterrupted heads-down time.https://t.co/QkWV8jkn7D
‘Virtual commute’ or ‘Fake commute’ appears to have gained popularity in recent times and we have our very own clan members like Kevin follow this routine to maintain a work-life balance. Hrishikesh also mentions this on a post dedicated to disconnecting from work.
Apart from our community, Microsoft also recognized the need for such solutions as the company's CMO states that corporate users are now increasingly focused on its employee wellbeing and connectivity.
Previously, workers used the commuting period to relax, listen to music, and do mindful activities but with offices now shifting to homes, separating work and personal life has become a common concern.
Microsoft Teams solves this by reminding users about the end of the workday, suggests tasks to help workers wind down, and also creates a small mental space. Microsoft will also enable its workplace analytics software to help employers spot and support workers who are at risk of burnout.
Announcing new wellbeing and productivity insights in #MicrosoftTeams.— Microsoft Teams (@MicrosoftTeams) September 23, 2020
☑ Unwind with @Headspace on your virtual commute
☑ Keep your team connected and focused
☑ Build a resilient culture
Learn more: https://t.co/p2NtvzB7qQ pic.twitter.com/D83BR8SDeB
It took quite some time until companies realized this as they began to notice an increase in employee burnouts. Companies that were initially worried about employees having the right tools to work from home are now concentrating more on emotional wellbeing, mental health, and team culture.
Mine, an experienced remote workplace consultant on Remote Clan, also noticed a change that companies are recently focusing more on purpose & employee engagement.
But of course, there has been a backlash to this, as remote workers argue that the best way to wind down is by not spending so much time in front of a screen. There are many ways to decompress like going for a walk or practicing meditation and another tool could add up to the very problem this feature tries to solve.
What do you think about this 'Virtual Commute' solution?