In 2020 businesses had to make a herculean shift in how they operate, forcing dining room tables to become desks, children to become workmates and collaboration tools to become lifelines. Whilst tech companies have made isolating at home so much easier; the consequence is that people become isolated. Microsoft has realised that this is an issue and is taking responsible steps toward prioritising mental health in their products and business.
With mental health-related absences and staff turnover costing employers of £33 billion annually* it is no wonder that employers are keen to implement tools and resources that technology can offer; this is where Microsoft comes in.
Communications platforms are not actually new. Businesses have been using communications tools for a long time; however, for the first-time companies are using them as a primary form of communication and collaboration where face to face interactions have been prevented. However, Microsoft has taken “stay connected experiences” one step further and at the end of last year announced several additions to their products to help overall staff wellbeing.
Starting in Q4 of 2020, Microsoft started rolling out insights and wellbeing check-ins to help people consciously have better days. The introduction of personal insights for MyAnalytics users means that people can strengthen relationships, schedule 1:1’s, and block out time for concentrating on tasks that help create a structure where pyjamas have replaced uniforms.
In the first half of 2021, several new experiences will also be rolled out. One of those is a Virtual commute so that employees can bookend their day to create a better work/life balance. They are also partnering with headspace on an app integration in the Teams platform for employees to integrate meditation and calmness into their working day.
Microsoft has been running an AI for Accessibility program for a while now, and through that program, they discovered considerable gaps in mental health services around the globe. Teaming up with grantees, Microsoft uses their programmes to help businesses and individuals tackle mental health obstacles.
Leading by example, Microsoft has also been one of the leaders in putting their own employee’s mental health above the business and have added specific COVID related programmes for their employee assistance platform.
Last year Microsoft’s HR Manager Carolyn Byer gave an interview to HRD magazine saying:
“We made sure all of our resources sat together on a platform – including tips on setting up your home office, how to stay fit at home, webinars on dealing with isolation and uncertainty etc. We also enhanced some of our existing offerings to an include the ability for employees to purchase ergonomic office equipment and apply that to their fitness credit.”
Do you know of any other technology companies who are taking steps to help employees wellbeing? We would love to hear about it.
Author: Sammy Loveridge
Published: February 4, 2021
Read Time: 3 minutes (500+ words)