Microsoft Teams will soon let you schedule a 'virtual commute'

Virtual Commute
(Image credit: Microsoft)
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The sudden transition to working from home during the pandemic has completely upended the lives of workers around the world.

While many employees used to use their morning commute as a chance to relax or reflect on the day ahead of them, the switch to remote working has taken this personal time from them. To make matters worse, many organizations now expect their workers to begin their jobs right at the start of the day since they no longer need to travel to and from the office.

According to a study from Microsoft Research (opens in new tab), commutes can serve as meaningful transitions at the beginning and end of the workday and in fact, the reflection done during this time can increase productivity by 12 to 15 percent.

In order to give remote workers more time at the beginning and end of every day, Microsoft has announced a new feature, which will be available in the first half of 2021, for its video conferencing solution Teams which allows users to schedule a virtual commute that helps them have a productive start in the morning and mindfully disconnect in the evening.

Microsoft Teams panels

As employees begin to return to the office, meeting rooms will provide a welcome change to their work from home setups and will likely be at a premium.

To make it easier for workers to know when a meeting room is occupied, Microsoft has unveiled a new category of devices called Microsoft Teams panels that can be mounted outside of a meeting space. 

These devices are essentially small tablets that can also use information from other connected certified Teams devices such as cameras to show room capacity information and help workers follow their organization's social distancing guidelines.

The first companies to partner with Microsoft to create Teams panels are Crestron and Yealink but expect others to join once it comes closer to the launch of these new devices.

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.