With global employee stress levels continuing to rise, it’s obvious we’re in the middle of a workplace wellbeing crisis. Of course, there’s no one magic bullet solution. But, due to the sheer range of options, the various wellbeing apps on Microsoft Teams can be good places to start.

At the beginning of 2023, Gallup put out their latest State of the Global Workplace report, reflecting on the previous year. And the results are concerning.

According to Gallup’s findings, global employee stress is at an all-time high. 44% of employees reported experiencing a lot of stress the previous day. And, despite “record-breaking” (but still low) levels of global engagement (23%), many people are still actively disengaged at work. Additionally, nearly 6 in 10 are “quiet quitting.”

Engagement and wellbeing may not be the same thing. But they overlap heavily. In fact, Gallup’s findings show that engagement has 3.8x as much impact on employee stress as their work location.

Why employee wellbeing matters

But do we really need to bother with all these wellbeing apps on Microsoft Teams?

In short, yes. And that’s because wellbeing is an essential cornerstone of workplace culture.

Employee wellbeing is vital for all sorts of reasons. For one thing, taking care of your people is the right thing to do. Employees spend a good deal of their waking hours furthering your business objectives, and so you owe them a certain level of care and support.

But, if you need a more pragmatic reason, poor employee wellbeing can impact your business in several ways. For one thing, it feeds into disengagement. Those 6 in 10 quiet quitters from earlier are a clear example of this.

Let’s look back at Gallup’s report to see this in action. Actively disengaged employees (as well as the 6 in 10 quiet quitters) cost the global economy $8.8 trillion dollars. That equates to roughly 9% of the global GDP.

And it’s not only the so-called quiet quitters you need to worry about, but real ones too. Gallup’s report shows that more than half of employees are either passively watching for or actively seeking a new job. The three most common reasons for seeking new employment were:

  • Increased pay.
  • Better wellbeing.
  • Growth and development opportunities.

This potential for high employee turnover has been accompanied by an increase in job opportunities in many countries. The US and Canada were an exception, according to Gallup. But only because they had already experienced their own job booms the previous year.

Some research has put the average cost of employee turnover in the UK at around £30,000 per employee. But this varies by the individual and their role. Highly senior or specialist positions can end up costing significantly more. And, if more than half of your people are eyeing the door, that has the potential to become blisteringly expensive.

It’s not only the immediate financial cost you’ve got to worry about. Every day, as a society, we seem to get more online and interconnected. As a result, it’s now much easier for people to share their experiences. And that includes their experience as employees.

Getting a reputation for ignoring wellbeing problems will poison your recruitment well, so to speak. Why should anyone work for you if you disregard their physical or mental health?

The role of Microsoft Teams in the world of work

Microsoft Teams started out as one of many video call apps vying for supremacy. But, by focusing heavily on the professional market, it’s become a hugely popular app. In 2023, they have an approximate 300 million users, up from 270 million last year.

Microsoft Teams has always been a popular service. But it rose to particular prominence during the Pandemic. Without Teams, it would have been that much more difficult for isolated remote workers to connect and collaborate. It was a time when many doubted remote workers could keep businesses afloat. And apps like Microsoft Teams helped to prove those doubters wrong.

But why are we hyping it up so much as a tool to improve employee wellbeing?

It’s highly accessible, for starters. If your organisation uses it, every employee has their Teams profile ready to go. It embodies the core philosophy of digital-first communication. And that’s equal accessibility.

But that’s not the main reason it’s a useful wellbeing tool. The main reason is because of all the various app integrations you can download through Microsoft Teams. There are wellbeing apps on Microsoft Teams, as well as polling tools, payroll software, and much more. That includes our own Zensai plug-in!

5 useful wellbeing apps on Microsoft Teams

Of the many app extensions you can download, not all are wellbeing tools. If you want a more general list of useful extensions for your Teams app, we’ve got you covered.

But, today, we’re talking about wellbeing apps on Microsoft Teams in particular. There are plenty to choose from, and your preferences may vary. But these five apps are a great place to start.

1: CoffeePals

The social bonds we form at work play a key role in our ability to handle job stress. And the first app on our list is one that can help break the ice and build up those social bonds.

CoffeePals is an app that randomly assigns employees for chats in their at-work downtime. These conversations can be in-person or virtual, over lunch or at your desk. It’s great for if people in your organisation aren’t networking or socializing beyond their immediate teammates. It can also be very useful for remote workers, who are at greater risk of social isolation at work.

Some of its features include:

  • Customizable matching settings.
  • Outlook integration to schedule based on availability.
  • Cross-group matching so different departments socialize.
  • Onboarding introductions for new hires.
  • A virtual “coffee-maker/water cooler” to generate conversation topics.

Over 2,000 remote and hybrid teams use CoffeePals, and it currently has a five star rating on the Microsoft Teams store. While the Teams store doesn’t list price, they have a free subscription model. It’s available for groups of up to 24 users. Their pro version (costing £49 a month) hosts unlimited users and comes with an expanded list of features.

2: Zensai

You can’t blame us for including ourselves on this list of wellbeing apps for Microsoft Teams. We’re one of the leading employee engagement, performance and wellbeing apps on Microsoft Teams.

At the heart of Zensai is our employee check-in. A weekly check-in gives you a real-time, moving picture of employee engagement and wellbeing. The first half is a set of small, customized questions addressing those issues and others. Employees get the chance to put things in their own words, give their boss critical feedback, and ask for help or support when required.

The second half of a check-in is weekly goal-tracking. Whether you use SMART Goals or OKRs, your next update is always around the corner. Zensai’s other features include:

  • 10Pulse engagement metric.
  • Employee recognition and visibility.
  • 360 feedback.

All of this is backed up by a suite of AI-driven analytics that help managers and HR spot areas of concern or where interventions may be needed. This is a super useful addition when it comes to wellbeing and getting people support early.

3: Happybot

Happybot by HappyTeams has some things in common with our own service. But we’ve included it in our list of wellbeing apps on Microsoft Teams because of a couple of things it does differently. It’s a little rough around the edges, with its Microsoft Teams app only having 3.5 stars.

Like Zensai, is a system for collecting employee feedback on a regular basis. But, unlike our service, Happybot:

  • Gives each employee a different, randomly selected set of questions.
  • Gives employees questions to answer every day.

The idea of daily feedback is interesting. In theory, it can be an even more detailed moving picture of employee sentiment than weekly feedback. The problem is that, when feedback is too frequent, employees stop engaging with the process. Pretty soon, they’re just clicking through it as fast as they can.

Then there are the randomly selected questions. On the one hand, the random nature lacks control. This can make it difficult to focus on current key issues. But, on the other hand, the randomness also ensures a wide variety of information.

A Happybot subscription starts at €1.99 per employee per month. More advanced memberships with additional features can be set up with custom pricing.

4: Accessibility Bot

Overall, Microsoft Teams is very user-friendly. It’s responsive and easy to navigate. But Accessibility Bot can take things a step further. It’s designed by Future Worx to help you find whatever Microsoft accessibility features you need.

It’s something that can make a huge difference for employees with permanent disabilities. But, really, anyone can benefit from it. Maybe you’re telecommuting from a noisy area and need live captions. Or perhaps your home office is messy and you need to blur your background.

While these features do exist in Microsoft Products, they’re not always immediately apparent. Accessibility Bot pulls these things up for you, so you never need to go looking for them. At the moment, Accessibility Bot has 3.9 stars on the Teams store. Unlike other entries on this list, it’s completely free.

5: Breakthru

Stepping away from your desk can be easier said than done. And we’re not just talking about overtime. Regular breaks throughout the day are important for our ability to stay fresh and maintain focus.

So, for all the workaholics out there, Breakthru can really make a difference. The app prompts you at regular intervals to take small, two-minute breaks. These breaks take users through small movement and breathing exercises to help them unwind.

Two minutes may not sound like much of a break. But, as with similar approaches like the Pomodoro technique, those small increments of time can be quite refreshing. Breakthru has 4.9 stars on the Teams store. Single subscriptions cost $3.25 a month or $32 a year. Breakthru: Together subscriptions for groups are $3 a month, or £25 a year.

So, there you have it. No matter what your needs are, the sheer range of wellbeing apps on Microsoft Teams has you covered. But, remember one thing. To get the most out of your wellbeing support tools, you need to pair them with good communication practices. Fortunately, that’s another thing Microsoft Teams can help to enable.