Do We Really Need a Computer Feature to Tell Us We Need a Break?

Do We Really Need a Computer Feature to Tell Us We Need a Break?

Workplace stress has increasingly been focused on as a prescient problem for businesses, with an increased focus on identifying the causes and mitigating the impacts. A recently published patent from Microsoft helps to demonstrate how seriously this is now taken… although it also begs the question: do we really need technology’s help to identify when we feel stressed?

Microsoft’s Solution for Anxiety

Filed in October of 2019, and finally being published a short time ago (as of this writing), Microsoft’s patent describes their “Emotion Detection From Contextual Signals For Surfacing Wellness Insights” technology. By collecting and compiling data from assorted sources, including biometrics from fitness trackers and smart watches and usage data from Microsoft’s Office software, an employee “anxiety score” can be generated and alert the employee of their emotional change. The platform would then provide recommendations to help them wind back down, like taking a break or a brief walk.

For instance, let’s say that James has an important meeting coming up, and is starting to feel anxious about it. This anxiety could manifest itself in a few different ways—perhaps increased typos and spelling errors are popping up in the emails he’s composing, or the email is taking longer than it generally would to write up. If James’ behaviors suggest that he’s feeling anxious, a notification will pop up to inform him of his stress and how it was calculated, along with a recommendation based on his schedule to help him relieve this stress.

This Technology May or May Not Be Implemented

Let’s make something clear: filing a patent is much different than including certain capabilities in a product or service, so there’s no guarantee that these features will ever appear in Microsoft’s software solutions.

Having said that, it does show that software developers—even those of as much renown as Microsoft—are more seriously considering the importance of employee wellness and how impactful it can be to the workplace.

This Isn’t All Microsoft Has Done, Either (Along With Other Software Developers)

This patent is one more in a line of solutions that Microsoft and other software developers have designed to help promote the wellbeing of their employees.

  • Microsoft has also introduced MyAnalytics, an individualized wellness and productivity tool, as well as Viva, a Teams-based tool that combines the benefits of MyAnalytics with Workplace Analytics, an analytics tool intended to deliver insights to managers and business leaders.
  • Cisco has implemented People Insights into its Webex collaboration platform, with data broken down by individual employees, the entire team, as well as the workplace as a whole.
  • Google has also made plans to make similar data available to workers in the interest of self-awareness and improvement.

Do People Really Need An Application to Tell Them That They’re Stressed?

At first glance, this all may sound a little silly. Is (yet another) notification really the best way for one of your employees to find out that they’re feeling anxious?

In so many words: it very well could be.

While we aren’t saying that all of your team members are incapable of identifying their own emotions, they may not feel totally comfortable in responding to them in the appropriate way—in this case, stepping away from a task for a moment to decompress. This kind of feature could potentially not only help make them more aware of their own mental state in the workplace, it signals that their needs are important, that it is okay to take a break if they need one. With the kind of stress that so many have felt over this past year, this message has perhaps never been so pertinent.

What do you think? Is this kind of feature going to be more of a priority for businesses moving forward? Is it something that you’d want to focus on? If so, White Mountain IT Services is here to help. Our services and solutions are designed to help your team remain as productive as possible and provide them with the support they need, whenever they need it. Find out what we can offer your team by calling 603-889-0800 today.

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to

Related Posts

Did you know that, of all the vulnerabilities your business has to cyberthreats, your employees are one of the riskiest, simply due to their exposure to your business technology? If your business isn’t secure, it will become incredibly more difficult...
One of the most common file types you hear about is the Portable Document Format file - although you probably know it simply as a PDF. PDFs are so well known because they are the best way to save a document so that, regardless of the device it is vie...
With so many things that need to be accomplished each day, it always helps to have all the information needed to complete these tasks. If a task has no context assigned to it or no insight into how to approach it, productivity and morale are going to...
If you were to look at any company’s list of priorities, chances are that “productivity” could be found somewhere at the top of the list. Current circumstances being what they are and many processes shifting as a result, this productivity is likely m...
Google Chrome is a very popular browser nowadays. In June of this year, for example, about 65 percent of the overall browser market share was attributed to Chrome. Seeing as so many people utilize Chrome, we thought it would be helpful to share a few...
If you don’t take care of your PC’s files, you will quickly discover that it’s easy to lose track of where everything is. You have countless file types, folders, and applications sitting around without any real sense of organization or continuity. To...
While your attention is likely more dedicated to how you use your computer while it’s on, it is just as important to consider the different ways that you can turn your computer off, in a manner of speaking. The varied options present in the Start men...
Businesses have a variety of communications to manage, including their internal ones. For many, this may be put on the back burner, as they prioritize their operational and sales-encouraging communications. However, internal communications are just a...
Communication is a key part of the workplace, and modern tools have made it more efficient than ever before to stay in contact with one another. One of the most important tools in the modern business’ repertoire is instant messaging, which is somewha...
In business, productivity is the goal. Unfortunately, there are so many interruptions in the workday, you absolutely have to capitalize on the moments where you’re in the groove. To find the groove more frequently, and to measure the ability of worke...
Remote work has been crucial to many businesses as they work to sustain themselves throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as businesses have adopted these new methods of operation, it has become clear that remote work is likely to be much more th...
Technology has made its way into nearly every business, especially in 2020 with all that has been going on. There really is no choice, but with the commitment to technology there comes risk. If technology fails, your business takes a step back. Today...

Onsite Service Coverage Area

Although we provide remote services and support to businesses in over 20 states, onsite services are limited to within reasonable driving distance from our office in NH.  We will manage a local vendor for locations outside of our service area to provide onsite assistance when needed.


Onsite Computer Support Services are available to businesses within 100 miles of Nashua New Hampshire. We have excellent onsite coverage from Concord NH, south through Manchester NH, and then down into Boston. From Northern and Central Mass, we cover from Worcester, east to the North Shore, including the Salem and Portsmouth NH area.


White Mountain IT Services
33 Main Street, Suite 302
Nashua, New Hampshire 03064



map nashua4 1


Open Positions