Companies have been prioritising remote workspaces more and more in recent years due to the social distancing restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today as restrictions have loosened, many companies continue offering the option of remote work due to the added benefits and convenience of working from home. In fact, one Stanford study shows that “performance can increase up to 13 percent by working from home.”
While there are benefits to working from home, there are also downsides. Remote workspaces often lack the same connection, bonding, and culture that develops in an office setting, and can lead to greater miscommunication and disorganisation. A recent study that analysed the benefits and downsides of WFH (working from home) found that “the main disadvantages were (iv) home office constraints, (v) work uncertainties and (vi) inadequate tools.”
In an effort to address the issue of having inadequate tools, Microsoft Viva – a new employee experience platform – aims to amplify the benefits of working from home through Viva’s four modules: Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Viva Topics, and Viva Learning.
According to Microsoft, Viva “brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights in the flow of work. Powered by Microsoft 365 and experienced through Microsoft Teams, Viva fosters a culture that empowers employees and teams to be their best from anywhere.”
Since Viva operated within the SharePoint and Microsoft Teams framework, it isn’t considered a new, separate product, but rather an organisational tool to help advance and optimise the best parts of both SharePoint and Teams.
Viva is designed to streamline daily workflows for each employee, individually, as well as collectively. Because of its macro and micro focus on the employee experience, Viva can target low engagement much more precisely than leaders and managers might have in the past.
Viva’s most significant benefit for employers and leaders is a more thorough understanding of their workplace, teams, and employees so they can prioritise high-value engagement, connections, and communication.
Between personal and manager/leader insights through Viva Insights, employers have access to an eagle’s-eye view of operations and can quickly interfere if there is a pattern of operational disharmony. This means being able to catch problems faster before they snowball into a larger issue.
Viva also makes it much easier for leaders and managers to communicate with their team through Viva Connections. Viva’s intelligent AI capabilities also ensure that the information and announcements being shared by management are being placed in front of the right people.
Viva Topics benefits employers by curating information and producing topic pages and topic cards with suggested definitions, related content, relevant conversations, and expertise. Then, the AI organises and optimises the information output for relevant users as it pertains to their role in the company. Since Topics offers a new way of accessing information, it decreases the amount of repetitive questions managers usually answer for their team members.
Finally, Viva Learning significantly streamlines the training and onboarding process with new hires. Since Viva Learning uses learning content from credible platforms such as LinkedIn Learning, Coursera, Udacity, Udemy Business, and Edx, there is no shortage of valuable information available to trainees.
One of the challenges that come with remote work is the feeling of isolation and disconnection individuals can often feel in regard to their co-workers. Working remotely doesn’t offer the same opportunities for social interaction and bonding that naturally happens in an office.
Viva Connections, Microsoft Viva’s company-focused connection and communication platform, aims to bridge this gap by creating more opportunities for team members to interact through an interface similar to social media platforms. This takes the pressure off of maintaining formal communications exclusively through emails and offers opportunities for more easy-going engagement that helps build team rapport and maintain a strong company culture.
Additionally, Viva Insights offers employees a high-value workplace by tracking progress, focus, and engagement and providing suggestions/solutions to the most common pitfalls that lead to burnout and inefficient workflow.
Furthermore, Viva Topics supplements day-to-day tasks and makes it much easier for employees to access the information they need as they need it. AI ensures the right information is placed in front of the right people by tracking the user’s activity and making intelligent predictions about the information the user might need as they work.
Finally, Viva Learning opens up a world of possibilities for employees to expand their skillset within the company structure and constantly exceed their previous performance and capabilities. Viva Learning breathes life into the idea of “life-long learning,” offering employees greater opportunities to grow in their current roles, which can also lead to higher employee retention rates.
What direction is Microsoft Viva headed?
Viva is an important step in Microsoft’s effort to create a better digital world for leaders and their employees. Since Viva isn’t a separate product and rather builds on the tools and features within SharePoint and Microsoft Teams, it makes it much easier to integrate into the overall digital presence of any company well-versed in Microsoft products.
Microsoft Viva is a natural next step in the merged optimisation of SharePoint and Teams. The new features add a greater touch of care, personalisation, and precision to each user’s experience, which helps maximise engagement and promotes harmony in operations, on the management and personal level.
If you’re ready to take your SharePoint and Teams experience and enhance employee engagement, connect with our team today about how Microsoft Viva can transform your digital workspace.