Every Microsoft Outlook user must turn on this least used feature to become a better leader: Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella talks about a hidden feature of Outlook that every employee, aspiring to become a leader, must pay attention to. He advocates that a regular use of this feature will help a leaders to a better connect with his team members, eventually resulting in employees becoming more productive and satisfied from the work culture in their company.

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Recently, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT), appeared with Adam Grant, a renowned psychologist, on a podcast to discuss the future of work. He emphasized a simple feature of Microsoft Outlook that helps leaders set the proper expectations and promote flexibility in work. Surprisingly, most never cared about using it! 

Globally, the work culture has seen a massive shift since the pandemic. Tech allows employees to work out of a 9-5 routine. But, Nadella says, if technology is not harnessed correctly, it can do more harm than good. 

Employees are facing a wreck at work that includes the pressure of shifting from the home working model to hybrid, remote working, fears of global recession, etc; it gets pretty difficult for a leader to maintain the enthusiasm of work and perform as a valuable team member. 

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The same things were discussed on the Taken for Granted podcast, where Satya Nadella suggested that a leader must harness the skills to provide flexibility to every individual in the team and motivate them to achieve common goals for organizational benefit. 

The duo also discussed that it’s problematic for leaders to manage all these things while focusing on their work and career. However, a simple solution already lies at our fingertips, but a leader must be aware of using it correctly. 

The secret sauce in Microsoft Outlook

If you believe that we will advocate another deep tech solution or do elaborated research to understand employee behavior, you are highly mistaken. Instead, Nadella focused on providing flexibility to employees and understanding their personal space. 

These days emails matter a lot, and even a simple non-urgent email can ruin employees’ weekends by giving them an insight into the work lying ahead of them 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.

The point Nadella made is that no matter what time or day you send an email to your colleagues or team members, what matters most is the time they receive it. Any official email carrying information or instructions that don’t demand immediate action would most likely piss off employees if it landed in their inbox at weekends.

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A simple email sent during working hours gives employees a sense of belongingness, making them believe that the leader understands his personal space. It boosts their motivation; as a leader, you can see the enthusiasm in their work. 

Don’t make tech a challenge 

The world is changing at a faster pace than ever before in history. The feature you currently use every day might become obsolete within six months.

Nadella said many leaders find it challenging to match with a rapid phase of modernization and often don’t understand that technology is designed to provide people with ease and flexibility. 

“All of our efforts to be more productive backfire — and only make us feel even busier and more stressed,” says Oliver Burkeman from The Guardian.

Technology provides us great ease in communication and passing on information, but it can easily invade anyone’s privacy. Nadella suggested that leaders must focus on delivering flexibility at work by using the suggested simple feature of Microsoft Outlook that automatically takes care of privacy and time of communication. 

Learn to set the right expectations

Proper use of Outlook isn’t the only thing discussed on the podcast; instead, Nadella and Grant talked about various vital aspects that gave us a glimpse of how Nadella wants the future of work to look.

1. Eliminating “Triple Peak Day.” 

Hybrid working models allow us to work at our ease, but this usually stretches the usual 9-5 working hours and makes employees work during their leisure time. Microsoft researchers studied data of Microsoft Teams, a video conferencing, collaboration, and communication tool, and found a spike in work outside the regular office hours, which they mentioned as “Triple Peak Day.” 

When the host asked, does allowing office hours’ flexibility work well, or does it simply disconnect the employee from maintaining sufficient downtime?

Nadella answered that the area needed more research. 

He, however, added that a bit of hybrid peak is usual, and everybody desires to attain that much flexibility. This further indicates that completing the work earlier will ease the work day as a load gets 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 work-from-home model, but Nadella focused on promoting a physical office space for better collaborations. That’s another reason why tech giants focus on hybrid working models instead of completely switching the online mode. 

At Microsoft, researchers evaluate tons of data on how employees should use the space. Evolution has taught us to be physically together to accomplish a common goal, but technology has separated us while connecting online using video calls or emails. At times, it gets difficult for a leader to motivate employees online, and the space between physical and digital still need to be evaluated. 

3. Leaders need to evolve for hybrid collaborations

All the recent shifts in working patterns have highlighted the importance of the Future of work and indicate that leaders must develop to adapt to hybrid collaborations. For a long time, companies will focus on building online and offline working patterns. A leader must possess all the skills required to accomplish online or offline tasks. 

Nadella firmly focused on adopting new skills to manage people in the new working models that various organizations are currently shifting to. He explained, “before the pandemic, you could get away with creating some norms and forcing people into one or two [of these]. Whereas now, [you] have to be excellent [at all], at any given time, for work to get done and for collaboration to happen.”

Conclusion 

During the pandemic, we all believed that 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 the future of work was going to look like? 

In the podcast, Nadella focused on some crucial facts that will be important in coming times, especially providing space and flexibility in work. 

With that, it’s also true that the way we currently work will see massive shifts, but a lot of research and experience is required before we completely shift to acquire a working model that is good for all. 

From the eyes of Nadella, it seems like companies will continue to work with hybrid models; let’s see what surprises “Future of work” brings for all of us. Till then, continue using the delay-send option in outlook! 

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