Tech For Working From Home & Mental Wellbeing

At Microsoft [and MDS] our Mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. With more than 1 billion people in the world with disabilities, there is no limit to what people can achieve when technology reflects the diversity of all those who use it.

The World Health Organisation refers to Mental health and well-being as fundamental to our collective and individual ability as humans to think, emote, interact with each other, earn a living and enjoy life.

A recent study of 1,400 information workers commissioned by Microsoft found that 40 percent of people work outside of regular hours in a way that interferes with family time.

“You need to regenerate your energy. Unplugging is an emotional recharge that we all need” 

The report also found 70 percent of professionals don’t fully unplug from work. 

There are many ways of enhancing your mental well being. The following recommendations are focused solely on how Microsoft technology can support an employee and employer with the day to day activities.

The foundations of this content are based on driving awareness on mental health among employees and employers; promoting a culture of sharing and learning; and empowering employees to manage their work-life balance.

If you have product feedback on any of the features mentioned, please visit the Accessibility UserVoice.

MINDFUL OF ME

Work flexibly

Starting by leveraging Teams to work flexibly, allowing you to balance personal commitments with your work agenda.

Self-paced learning

Everyone learns in different ways, Stream is a great way to learn on-demand at your own pace (on walks, at the gym or commutes), whether it’s to catch up on a meeting you missed or watch a training session; using your browser or mobile client, turn on captions if you would like to follow along what is being said or search using keywords.

Set your own boundaries

While our mobiles have un-tethered us from our desks, it can be a challenge when trying to switch off. Set your own boundaries by configuring quiet hours and days in the Teams mobile app.

Track your Wellbeing

Remember to keep yourself in check by taking note of the Wellbeing insights you get in Outlook delivered as part of MyAnalytics and see how you’re tracking with your quiet days.

MINDFUL OF OTHERS

After hours impact

Some of us spend most of our days in meetings and therefore spend our evenings catching up on emails. Be mindful of how this impacts your team, particularly if you’re a manager. While you may not set the expectation to reply to the email, the simple act of reading will have an impact. Keep your after-hours impact in check by monitoring My Analytics. Consider delaying the delivery of your email, this way you can still work in the way you like but you can minimize the impact on others.

Inclusive meetings

Be mindful of those that may not be able to make meetings you’ve scheduled or may want a way to review what was discussed and ensure you record your meetings in Microsoft Teams.

MANAGING TASKS

Stay on top of your day

Stay on top of your to-do list with Outlook and Planner integration with your To-Do List app both in your Windows 10 device and mobile device.

Improving work patterns

Leverage the insights from MyAnalytics to understand your current ways of working and whether there are areas that can help you become more efficient and productive. MyAnalytics can provide insights around your out of hours working, your top collaborators, it will also recommend time for focus to actually get work done.

MANAGING TIME

Monitor your work habits

Schedule time to read and respond to email, leaving you more time to focus. Schedule a regular time for self- learning and simply get things done each week. My Analytics will even suggest and book some time on your behalf, particularly if it looks like your week is filling up.

Use MyAnalytics to monitor your work habits. Do you have enough Focus time scheduled each week? Are you multitasking in meetings? Use this data to make decisions on changing your work habits. See Focus tips.

IN THE ZONE

Stay focused

Prevent interruptions while working on critical tasks or projects by setting Do Not Disturb in Teams and prevent distractions by turning on Focus Assist in Windows 10 and disabling Outlook unread email notifications on your taskbar, whilst still being able to get notifications from your pre-assigned priority tasks.

Enhanced learning

Improve focus and comprehension by using the immersive reader in Teams, Office and Edge. Reading comprehension of long documents is made easier when words are highlighted while reading out loud. This feature is a great inclusive design tool for reading long, complicated text, when multitasking, or when folks get tired at the end of the day.

MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS

Improve focus in meetings

Maintain focus on what really matters during the meeting, the people and the content being shared by removing any background noise using Background Effects in Microsoft Teams Meetings.

Disable social media notifications

Prevent unnecessary distractions by disabling all social media notifications on your phone

SWITCHING OFF

Work-life balance

When you’re on off, set your Out of Office automatic replies and stop syncing Outlook.

Additionally, leave your laptop at home and feel empowered to remove work apps off your phone to avoid sneak peeking into your mails.

And whilst we may be tempted to work long hours at times, it is important to remember that sleep is as important as eating, drinking and breathing as described by the Mental Health Foundation - Sleep report so you may want to turn on the Set your night light in Windows 10 in your screen to help you go to sleep.

BUILDING THE CULTURE

Employee Engagement

Improve engagement with everyone in your organization through social networking. Enterprise Social Networks such as Yammer can enhance communication to build a culture of transparency, keeping everyone informed, aligned, and moving forward. Enable you to build communities of interest to bring people together around shared topics, interests, or areas of practice. And gather ideas and feedback from across your network of colleagues to build on the work of others and achieve better outcomes.

This article was written by Microsoft and originally appeared on their website.

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