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Understand and Drive Productivity with These Microsoft Tools

A triple peak day is a concept developed by Microsoft WorkLab, a digital publication that explores the future of work. The concept is based on research which suggests the typical 9am to 5pm workday with two peaks of productivity is fading. Instead, researchers are seeing three peaks of productivity when work hours are flexible to accommodate work-life schedules.

It is important for business leaders to understand this emerging trend so they can optimize their workforce's productivity and well-being. Companies can capitalize on productivity tools from Microsoft as part of these efforts to help employees increase efficiency and job satisfaction. To start, leaders need to understand the three phases that make up a triple peak day. These are a focus peak, a collaboration peak, and a recovery peak. By understanding these times of productivity and the tools that can facilitate maximum performance, business leaders can empower their workforce to reach its full potential.

Microsoft tools to maximize productivity in the focus peak

The focus peak is the first phase of the day, when employees are most alert and able to concentrate on deep work. This is the time to encourage them to tackle their most important and challenging tasks without interruptions or distractions. To have a successful focus peak, employees must:

  • Plan ahead by identifying top priorities for the day and blocking out time in their calendar to work on them. Use Microsoft To Do to create and manage task lists and sync them with Outlook calendars.
  • Set boundaries by communicating availability and expectations to colleagues and managers. Use Microsoft Teams to set the status to "Do Not Disturb" or "Focus" and turn off notifications. Focus Assist is also a useful feature in Windows, which silences alerts from other apps.
  • Find a flow. Choose a comfortable and quiet workspace where there are minimal distractions. Headphones can enhance focus with active noise cancellation and immersive sound. Also, Microsoft Edge can provide access to productivity extensions, such as StayFocusd, which limits time spent on distracting websites.

Facilitating productivity during the collaboration peak

The collaboration peak is the second phase of the day, when employees are more sociable and creative. This is the time to foster connections between your teams and stakeholders where they can share ideas and get feedback. There are a number of Microsoft tools to maximize productivity during the collaboration peak, so employees need to:

  • Schedule smartly to avoid back-to-back meetings and allow for breaks in between. With Microsoft Outlook, they can schedule meetings through Bookings or a Scheduling Poll, which helps find the best time for everyone. Microsoft “Bookings with Me” can also be used to let others make appointments with them online.
  • Engage effectively. They can use Microsoft Teams to host online meetings, chat with colleagues, and collaborate on documents in real time. Microsoft Whiteboard is an engaging feature that can be utilized to brainstorm and visualize ideas together. Features, such as live captions, background effects, polls, and breakout rooms, can also help to make meetings more inclusive and interesting.
  • Follow up promptly by summarizing key points and action items discussed in meetings and sharing them with the participants. Using Microsoft OneNote to take notes during meetings, they can sync these tasks with their Outlook calendar. They can also use Microsoft Planner to create and assign tasks to team members and track progress.

How Microsoft tools can help reset during the recovery peak

The recovery peak is the third phase of the day, when employees are most relaxed and reflective. This is the time where they unwind from work, recharge their energy, and pursue personal interests. Still, there are Microsoft productivity tools available to support workers during this period. For employees to excel in the recovery peak, leaders should urge them to:

  • Disconnect deliberately by setting a clear end time for their workday and sticking to it. Employees can set their status in Microsoft Teams "Away" or "Offline" and turn on quiet hours. Viva Insights in Outlook is also available to them and can track work patterns to help set boundaries.
  • Relax mindfully with the wellness apps available through Microsoft Edge, such as Headspace, which offers guided meditation sessions.
  • Reflect positively on achievements and challenges from the day, celebrating wins. Organizations can use Microsoft Power BI to create and view dashboards that display progress and performance. Microsoft Forms are also helpful in collecting feedback from others so employees can improve their performance.
  • If during these hours, an employee needs to send a business email, they can schedule the email to hit inboxes during the focus peak when colleagues are most alert or during the collaboration when colleagues are more likely to follow up.

A triple peak day can seem hectic to leaders with a traditional outlook on the workday, but it is an opportunity for employees to organize their workday according to their personal schedules and natural energy cycles. By following these tips and using productivity tools from Microsoft, you can have a more productive, creative, and fulfilled workforce.

Citrin Cooperman's Digital Services Practice is experienced in helping clients implement these productivity tools to empower their workforce to reach their maximum potential and support their business goals. To learn more about tools that may work for your business, reach out to your Citrin Cooperman advisor or Kris Scuteri at kscuteri@citrincooperman.com.

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