Have trouble juggling team meetings, appointments, and projects at work? Microsoft thinks that data analytics might be the answer. Ahead of its Inspire developer conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Redmond company today announced enhancements to two of its productivity insights products, Workplace Analytics for teamwork and MyAnalytics, designed to “put individuals and teams at the center of change.”
“Collaboration habits can make or break teamwork,” Microsoft said in a statement. “When people run efficient meetings, create time for focused work, and respect work/life boundaries their teams thrive. Putting these habits in place is difficult and takes the support of the entire team. Data can create a common language to help members build consensus on important teamwork norms. By shedding light on how work actually gets done, organizations can build more efficient, creative, and engaged teams.”
Workplace Analytics for teamwork, which is available in preview starting today, applies algorithmic smarts to data (e.g., emails and meetings) from Office 365, identifying patterns that affect productivity, workplace effectiveness, and engagement. “[You can] combine these insights with engagement survey results to find connections between work patterns and indicators of team health like engagement and innovation scores,” Microsoft said.
It also allows managers to enroll team members in programs that help them build better habits, like bringing agendas to meetings and setting aside time for solo projects. Team members get productivity insights and action plans delivered to them through Office 365, and the groups’ overall progress toward goals is tracked over time.
Workplace Analytics for teamwork isn’t the only data-centric product Microsoft announced today. MyAnalytics, its workplace insights app for Outlook, is gaining “nudges,” a collection of collaboration tips that will surface in your inbox periodically.
There are four types of nudges, Microsoft said: A “focus time” nudge will remind you to set aside time for focused work before accepting new meeting invites; an “effective meetings” nudge will encourage you to practice good meeting habits, such as recruiting coworkers to cover a meeting if your schedule is jam-packed; an “after-hours” nudge will discourage you from sending emails outside of regular working hours; and a “to-do’s and unread email” nudge will remind you of tasks you’ve promised to complete for team members.
The new and improved MyAnalytics will also allow you to block off times in your calendar for focused work, surface reminders as you read emails from coworkers, and remind you of unread emails from important contacts.
Nudges will roll out this summer in Outlook on the web, where they can be switched off using the MyAnalytics add-in for Outlook.
In addition to updates to MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics, Microsoft made broadly available its Whiteboard app for Windows 10, launched a free version of Teams (with a 10GB cap per team), and added live events with facial recognition and speech-to-text transcripts to Microsoft 365.