Microsoft Teams logged a new daily record of 2.7 billion total meeting minutes in a single day, on Tuesday, March 31, up 200% from 900 million meeting minutes on Monday, March 16, according to a new report from the company that quantifies the sudden and dramatic shifts in the way people work around the world.
It’s one of several tech platforms seeing major increases in usage as a result of COVID-19 and work-from-home mandates around the world. Microsoft’s Teams communication and collaboration platform competes with both workplace chat app Slack and video conferencing tool Zoom, which have also soared in popularity.
The 2.7 billion meeting-minutes number was released in the first installment of Microsoft’s new Work Trend Index, which the company says will combine anonymized data from Microsoft 365 products, Bing searches and Microsoft-owned LinkedIn to understand changes in the way people work.
Some of the notable findings from the report.
- Audio calls alone increasingly won’t suffice. The percentage of weekly Teams calls and meetings with video more than doubled, from 21% to 43%, from March 2 to March 31, as more states and countries imposed shelter-in-place policies to minimize the spread of the novel coronavirus.
- Work is starting earlier and ending later, with more breaks in between. The company says the average time between the first and last usage of Teams increased by more than one hour between March 1 and March 31.
- There are signs that these changes won’t be temporary. Microsoft is reporting that Teams usage in China is continuing to grow even as many workers in the country return to their physical workplaces.
The Redmond company drew widespread attention last month when it reported a 775% increase in usage of its cloud services in regions where social distancing and shelter-in-place orders had been imposed. The number contributed to a 7% increase in the company’s share price for the day, but it turned out it was only for Teams in Italy. Microsoft shares are up less than 1% today, amid larger market gains.
With the release of the new report, we’ve asked Microsoft for further clarification about how Teams meeting minutes are calculated, and why the company is making the comparison between different days of the work week.
The company says it’s releasing two new features for Teams for Education: a one-click feature for ending meetings, and a participant report for meeting organizers that includes data about when participants join and leave.
The U.S. Defense Department is using Microsoft Teams as the basis for a new remote work platform for more than 4 million of its employees to support their ability to work from home, according to a report this week by Inside Defense. That arrangement does not appear to be connected directly to the DoD’s disputed $10 billion JEDI cloud contract, which was awarded to Microsoft last year but is currently on hold amid a legal challenge from Amazon.