Microsoft rolls out new feature to help with work breaks

Microsoft has rolled out a new feature in Outlook that helps schedule employee breaks during virtual meetings.

Video Transcript

- Well, if you're tired of all those back-to-back virtual meetings, there may be a solution.

- Yeah, Microsoft is working to give workers a break. Here's how.

- The new setting is rolling out to help reduce the digital overload of working remotely. Right now, calendar software like Outlook defaults to an on-the-hour meeting. Even the dropdown doesn't let you select a custom time. Now companies can set their own scheduling defaults to have five minutes blocked off before or after a 30-minute meeting or 10 to 15 minutes after hour-long meetings, meaning employees can actually take a break. Just last month, our Action 13 team told you about fake commutes, where workers use bike rides to separate their work and home life.

- Talk about the day not ending, answering one more email. Telework puts you in the position of having instant always-on communication. And so having a ritual to help you turn that off is very important.

- So, how do you make the most of those breaks? A lot of researchers back what's known as the Pomodoro technique which calls for work sessions of 25-minutes followed by a 5-minute break with a 15-minute break at least once every two hours. To get the full benefit of a break completely disconnect from work. Ideally, stand up at your desk and walk away from your computer. Other ideas, read a book for pleasure or have a short chat with a friend or colleague.