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Microsoft’s patent for understanding the stresses of remote work

by | Apr 29, 2021 | Patent Law

Unique challenges come with shifting to remote work, and a newly published patent from Microsoft could be the next step in understanding what makes workers tick.

The company’s design collects data from every corner of a user’s working world to better predict and dissipate stress. This patent may not be a product just yet, but the information the process brings forward could pay enormous dividends in time.

Happy and healthy productivity

While most employees want to continue at least part-time work from home in the future, nearly 87% believe time in an office is important for developing relationships and collaborating. Just over half have felt their connection slipping over the past year when studies have shown that those with strong social bonds with coworkers can triple productivity.

These symptoms of disconnect can come with frustrations that may not be present in a traditional office environment. And so Microsoft is looking at taking the information it has available to better understand emotional stress on the job. The patent offers a “wellness insights service” that uses biometric data and combines it with contextual information to create an anxiety score.

Never type angry

An employee could spend more time focusing on emails from managers with a higher heart rate. Or blood pressure could worsen when meetings run from one right into another with no downtime. The system could also interpret harder-than-normal keypresses or voice changes that indicate stress.

Employees might use this information immediately to course-correct when they are feeling agitated. Or employers, in the long run, can make working remotely a better, healthier experience. The answers may rest in the data, and it can take this streamlined, patented process to mine those answers out.