July 25, 2022
Every Microsoft Outlook user should enable this least-used feature to become a better leader
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talks about a hidden feature of Outlook that every employee who wants to become a leader should pay attention to. He argues that regular use of this feature will help a leader better connect with his team members, which will ultimately lead to employees becoming more productive and satisfied with their company’s work culture.
Recently, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corporation(NASDAQ: MSFT), appeared on a podcast with Adam Grant, a renowned psychologist, to discuss the future of work. He highlighted a simple feature of Microsoft Outlook that helps leaders set the right expectations and promote flexibility in work. Surprisingly, most never cared to use it!
Globally, work culture has undergone a massive shift since the pandemic. Tech allows employees to work from a 9-5 routine. But, says Nadella, if technology is not used correctly, it can do more harm than good.
Employees are facing a wreckage at work that includes the pressures of shifting from the home working model to hybrid, remote working, fear of a global recession, etc.; it becomes quite difficult for a leader to maintain the enthusiasm of the work and perform as a valuable team member.
The same things were discussed in the
Podcast Taken for Granted
, where Satya Nadella suggested that a leader must use the skills to provide flexibility to each individual on the team and motivate them to achieve common goals for organizational benefit.
The duo also discussed that it is problematic for leaders to manage all of these things while focusing on their work and careers. However, a simple solution is already within reach, but a leader must be aware that he is using it correctly.
The Secret Sauce In Microsoft Outlook
If you believe we will advocate another deep tech solution or conduct extensive research to understand employee behavior, you are very much mistaken. Instead, Nadella focused on providing employees with flexibility and understanding their personal space.
These days, emails are very important, and even a simple non-urgent email can ruin employees’ weekends by giving them insight into the work ahead and a sense that the office is always behind. He suggested using the“delay-send option” in Outlook to send an automated email at the specific time you want.
Delaying the delivery of a message
- While composing a message, select the More Options arrow in the Labels group on the ribbon.
- Under Delivery Options, select the Do not deliver before check box, then click on the appropriate delivery date and time.
- Click Close.
- When you have finished composing your email message, select Send.
After you click Send, the message will remain in the Outbox folder until delivered.
The point Nadella made is that no matter what time or day you send an email to your colleagues or team members, the important thing is the time they receive it. Any official email with information or instructions that don’t require immediate action would likely piss off employees if it landed in their inbox over the weekend.
A simple email sent during work hours gives employees a sense of belonging, leading them to believe that the leader understands their personal space. It increases their motivation; as a leader, you see the enthusiasm in their work.
Don’t Make Technology a Challenge
The world is changing faster than ever before in history. The feature you currently use every day may be obsolete within six months.
Nadella said many leaders find it challenging to match a rapid phase of modernization and often fail to understand that technology is designed to provide convenience and flexibility to people.
“All our efforts to be more productive backfire – and only make us feel even busier and more stressed,” says Oliver Burkeman of The Guardian.
Technology offers us great convenience in communication and the transmission of information, but it can easily invade everyone’s privacy. Nadella suggested that leaders should focus on providing flexibility at work by using Microsoft Outlook’s suggested simple feature that automatically ensures privacy and time of communication.
Learn to Set the Right Expectations
Correct use of Outlook is not the only thing discussed in the podcast; instead, Nadella and Grant talked about several vital aspects that gave us a glimpse of what Nadella wants the future of work to look like.
1. Eliminating “Triple Peak Day.”
Hybrid work models allow us to work at our leisure, but this usually stretches the usual 9-5 work hours and makes employees work during their free time. Microsoft researchers studied data from Microsoft Teams, a tool for video conferencing, collaboration and communication, and found a spike in work outside of regular business hours, which they dubbed“Triple Peak Day.
When the host asked, does allowing flexibility from office hours work well, or does it just disconnect the employee from maintaining adequate downtime?
Nadella replied that the area needed more research.
However, he added that a little hybrid peak is common and everyone wants to achieve as much flexibility. This further indicates that completing work earlier will ease the workday as a burden is distributed. But it needs more research for specific conclusions!
2. Physical space is still the best collaboration tool
Offices are evolving and employees prefer the home-working model, but Nadella focused on promoting a physical office space for better collaborations. That’s another reason why tech giants are turning to hybrid working models rather than switching the online mode entirely.
At Microsoft, researchers evaluate tons of data on how employees should use the space. Evolution has taught us to be physically together to achieve a common goal, but technology has separated us while we connect online via video calls or emails. Sometimes it becomes difficult for a leader to motivate employees online and the space between physical and digital has yet to be evaluated.
3. Leaders must evolve for hybrid collaborations
All recent shifts in work patterns have highlighted the importance of the future of work and indicate that leaders must evolve to adapt to hybrid collaborations. Companies will focus on building online and offline work patterns for a long time. A leader must have all the skills necessary to perform tasks online or offline.
Nadella focused heavily on adopting new skills to manage people in the new work models that several organizations are currently shifting toward. He explained: “Before the pandemic, you could get away with creating some standards and forcing people into one or two [van deze]. Whereas now [at all] you have to be excellent, at all times, to get work done and to make collaboration happen.”
During the pandemic, we all believed the world was shifting from offline to online, but when it was all over and companies called employees back to the office, it left us all in a dilemma of what would the future of work look like?
In the podcast, Nadella focused on some crucial facts that will be important in the coming time, especially providing space and flexibility in work.
With that, it is also true that the way we currently work will see huge shifts, but a lot of research and experience is needed before we shift completely to acquire a working model that is good for everyone.
From Nadella’s point of view, it seems that companies will continue to work with hybrid models; let’s see what surprises “Future of work” holds for all of us. Until then, keep using the delay-send option in Outlook!
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