This article was originally posted to the Microsoft 365 blog.
Time is one of the most precious and scarce resources, and managing it well has been a goal for people in both professional and personal settings. Time is fragmented in real life, where you need to manage your work and personal times, and your digital life where you keep track and manage it across various apps.
Over the past few months, managing time has become even more challenging. While there are benefits to a more flexible schedule, people are now facing changes in how they live, work, collaborate, and take care of themselves and their loved ones. Those changes have resulted in overcrowded calendars with more meetings and the prep and follow-up work that come with them; that, in addition to the blurred lines between personal and work time and space, has been emotionally and physically draining.
The insights we shared last week from Microsoft’s own research and telemetry show that the changes people are facing are real and contribute to the lack of well-being they are feeling. Across Microsoft 365, there was a 30% increase in scheduled meetings and a 1000% jump in video calls in the last few months. This abundance of meetings with 30% of them going over the scheduled time and a 52% jump in the number of instant messages between 6pm and midnight are also blurring the lines between work and personal spaces.
It is understandable why many people are feeling overwhelmed and stressed. People report feeling the need to be “always on” now more than before, without time to disconnect and recharge as we see a month over month surge of 30% in created tasks starting in March. In a time where people feel the need to be “always on”, not even the weekends are safe as a 200% increase in Teams chat on Saturdays and Sundays was recorded.
You need ways to manage your time that evolve as the world changes. We recognize that and are working to do so across Microsoft 365, whether in Outlook, Teams, To Do, MyAnalytics and other apps. We hope this first set of new and updated experiences will help you get more control of your day, spend less time preparing for meetings, protect your personal time, and organize your calendar to stay balanced.
Online meetings and video-calls have replaced the informal hallway conversations, the office drop-ins, and even some of the social conversations people have. More meetings also mean more time needed to prepare for them and ensure follow-ups happen. Easily finding the files and emails you need for a meeting can help you spend less time preparing for it.
NEW! Outlook for Android: Find the info you need for your meetings in one place—
In Outlook mobile, you can find Meeting Insights in the event details.
NEW! Get more control over meeting invites—
In Outlook on the web see messages, meeting details, attendee’s responses, and add an online meeting right from your inbox.
NEW! Join online meetings with one tap—
Join in one tap most meetings from Outlook for Android.
Set all your meetings to be created online, automatically—
In Settings in Outlook mobile and web, you can select all your meetings to be created online by default.
Insights from “The future of work” mention that the concept of the 9 to 5 workday may be fading away, but also giving people a more flexible schedule. People are working at the hours that are convenient for them and adding their personal and family commitments to the mix. Working hours have increased in the morning, evening hours, and the weekends as people take time during the workday to tend to personal or family matters. As personal and working hours and spaces blur together and devices are next to you all the time, you need to make sure the time set for your personal matters is accounted for.
Now rolling out: Add your personal calendar to your work account to protect the time of your personal events—
Add a personal calendar so your coworkers know when your real availability is.
NEW! Easily share time slots that suit your preferences—
Soon in Outlook mobile, suggested replies will include an easy way to share your availability.
NEW! Schedule when your emails are delivered—
Schedule your message to be sent later at a better time e your message to be sent later at a better time.
Snooze an email message for later when you can deal with it—
For additional help on how to protect your personal time and be mindful of others, make sure to check what MyAnalytics in Outlook can do.
As people look for ways to maintain a sense of wellbeing and being balanced within a more flexible work schedule, making sure you plan your work and make space for self-care into your calendar is key. Getting things done at a convenient time and making sure you plan and prioritize your tasks and breaks in your calendar can help you feel more in control and balanced.
NEW! Easily create a task from a mobile email message—
Easily add a task to To Do from Outlook mobile.
Now GA! Highlight part of an email message and add it as a task—
Select a part of the message to add that as a task, the email message is always attached to it.
Plan when your tasks need to be completed in advance—
Drag and drop a task from My Day into your calendar to turn them into an event with blocked time and reminders.
Get help from Cortana as you prepare for your day—
The Briefing email contains personalized recommendations and actions you can take directly in your inbox.
Get a little break between meetings by making them shorter by default—
Set appointments and events to end early as default in Calendar Settings in Outlook for Windows and web.
Now rolling out for Android: Catch up what’s new in your inbox and changes to your day with Play My Emails in Outlook—
You can also join a Teams meeting from Outlook with voice commands.
Update your meeting hours to let coworkers know when you are available—
In these challenging times we’ll continue to look for ways across Microsoft 365 to help you manage your time more efficiently and effectively; whether it’s managing your time while working from home,identifying insights to improve your wellbeing, and putting AI to work for you. We hope you will find these updates useful to help you get more control of your day.
While we’re on this journey, we hope you join us at Ignite 2020 to see what is next in this journey. In the meantime, help us share how time management is shaped by sharing your ideas and feedback on our UserVoice channel.