Here is my summary of noteworthy sustainability news in the Microsoft 365 area since March this year. Focus is on climate and people wellbeing in organizations.
- Surface emissions estimator tool.
- Surface devices now get firmware and driver updates for 6 years.
- Prevent mobile phone notifications on non-working hours and days by using “Quiet time”.
- Scheduling when messages are sent in Teams and Outlook.
- Carbon emission dashboard from Surface now in the Surface Management Portal in Intune.
For a full set of sustainability guidelines and recommendations, I have all of them including the below additions gathered in the Microsoft 365 Sustainability White paper.
1. Surface emissions estimator tool
If you want to do a precise estimation of carbon emissions either when you already have Surface devices, or as part of procuring Surface devices, you can use the tool Surface Emissions Estimator tool at Microsoft Surface Emissions Estimator (exploresurface.com).
The tool let you choose not only the models and the number of devices, but also where in the world the devices will be used as the amount of “green” electricity differs quite a lot depending where in the world you are located. The last parameter is how long you are planning to use the devices.
In the end you get a clear description and numbers on carbon emissions based on your choices.
The Surface Emissions Estimator will let you estimate the carbon emissions based on model, where the devices are being used as well as for how long the device lifetime is expected.
2. Surface devices now get firmware and driver updates for 6 years
Microsoft announced at their Surface event in September that they now have a commitment of delivering six years support with driver and firmware updates. This means that you can use your Surface devices longer than before without having to replace them. Read the official statement at New Surface devices bring more value to business | Microsoft Devices Blog (windows.com).
3. Prevent mobile phone notifications on non-working hours and days by using “Quiet time”
Notifications for work related messages when you are not on duty are often stressful and can contribute to a bad working environment. In an ideal world, you only get notifications when you are working, and when off duty you will not receive notifications from Teams or Outlook.
The great thing here is that there are technical solutions for making this reality, and the technical solution in this case is Microsoft Intune which provides the feature “Quiet time”.
That means that if your workers mobile phones are managed by Intune, you can create “Quite time” policies that will stop notifications for non-working hours, certain days of the week or a specific date range for instance.
For information on creating the policies and configuration to prevent notifications, see Create quiet time policies in Microsoft Intune | Microsoft Learn.
4. Scheduling when messages are sent in Teams and Outlook
Use scheduled messages to send emails via Outlook only during business hours
Respecting work hours is something to strive for, and unless agreed, any email message in Outlook should be sent so that the message is delivered during business hours.
This can be achieved in two ways:
1. Instead of clicking Send, click the Arrow down in the new Outlook client, and then choose Schedule send.
2. By clicking Options and then the icon to use the scheduling feature to send the message during business hours.
Use scheduled messages to send Teams chat messages only during business hours
Respecting work hours is something to strive for, and unless agreed, any chat messages in Teams should be sent so that the message is delivered during business hours.
This is easily achieved by right clicking the send button in a Teams chat and use the scheduling feature to send the message during business hours.
5. Carbon emission dashboard from Surface now in the Surface Management Portal in Intune
If you are using Surface devices managed with Intune you will find the new Carbon Emissions tab in the Surface Management Portal.
In the tab you find details on how much carbon emissions are generated by your Surface devices, from production to end of life.
Microsoft are working hard on sustainability and these new or new-ish additions are really good for both the climate and wellbeing of people within organizations. For a full set of sustainability guidelines and recommendations, I have all of them gathered in the Microsoft 365 Sustainability White paper, which is now updated with all additions of this blog post.