Introducing Focused Inbox

Soon Office 365 users will begin to enjoy a new feature called Focused Inbox. This is an improvement to the Clutter feature that some LOVE and others HATE. There’s seems to be no in between and the difference between Love and Hate is in how you work. More on that in a minute.

Clutter is being replaced by Focus. Focus will be the main tab of your Inbox and the stuff that used to go into the Clutter folder will now instead be a tab in your Inbox called Other. This video shows that well.


Outlook decides what will come into your Inbox on the Focus tab and what will go to the Other tab based on your previous interaction with that email. This is an example of machine learning in that Outlook is learning from your behavior. If you normally read an email quickly from the person then future emails from them will show up in Focus. If you normally let those email go unread for a longer period then future emails from that person will go into Other. It is sorting your email based on your behavior.

The effect is to have a nice clean Inbox that has just the stuff that’s actually important to you in it. In this era of information overload it’s important that something sort email for us.

Here’s where the Hate and Love factors come in.

Love: I have loved the clutter feature and I will love the Focus feature. My inbox gets jammed with stuff that I don’t have to read right now to do my job. I want to see email from my staff and clients right up front. Email from anyone else, I can and do look at later. That email goes into the Other tab. This makes me very happy because my Inbox is now very manageable. This feature saves me hours and hours.

Hate: Missy works in a completely different way. My email activity tends to be immediate. My staff and clients need my response now. Missy is our accounts payable, payroll, taxes, HR and all that office stuff ninja. She works on categories of activities. Meaning that today she will work on quarterly taxes, tomorrow she will run payroll, the next day she will pay bills, etc. On the day that she isn’t paying bills, she doesn’t look at the incoming bills. To do so would be a distraction for her. So eventually Outlook learns that she doesn’t interact with most of her email on a daily basis and it will put most of it into Other. This is why we had to turn off the feature for her. Machine learning for a person whose job requires them to shift rather than flow doesn’t work.

There are Administrative controls

Fortunately the use of this feature doesn’t have to be all of nothing in your company. We have the ability to turn it on or off for each individual or groups of individuals. Your technical contact here at Harbor can help you make that determination and set the appropriate setting for each person.

– Amy, president Harbor Computer Services

About Harbor Computer Services

Harbor Computer Services is an IT firm servicing Southeastern Michigan. We work exclusively under contract with our clients to provide technology direction and either become the IT department or provide assistance to the internal IT they already have. We have won many awards for our work over the years, including the worldwide Microsoft Partner of the Year in 2010. We’re the smallest firm to have ever won this most prestigious award. Most recently we were recognized as one of the top 20 visionaries in small business IT by ChannelPro Magazine (2015). And in 2016 as the top Michigan IT firm for Manufacturing. There are a few simple things that make Harbor Computer Services the best choice for your business. •We are Professionals •We are Responsible •We are Concerned About The Success of Your Business


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