The employee experience has changed a lot over the last year. Companies in Singapore and around the world had to send employees home to work in droves during the pandemic, and many are now considering keeping that arrangement permanently. 

This year, it’s expected that the number of permanent global remote workers will double. This means a change in how employees are managed, encouraged, and trained. Another big change that employees and businesses have undergone over the last decade is a move to cloud solutions. SaaS tools have helped them overcome barriers with the need to be at a single location or a single computer to access work applications and data. People can now work from virtually anywhere. The virtual office is becoming the main office and its one that Microsoft has been thinking a lot about. It just brought out a brand-new employee experience platform called Microsoft Viva that is designed to address four key challenges that are especially prevalent with a remote and digital workforce. These include challenges such as:

  • How to keep employees feeling engaged & part of your corporate culture when they work away from each other.
  • How to ensure employees aren’t becoming overworked because they’re not able to separate home and work when telecommuting.
  • The best way to continue important training and career development now that the “office” looks completely different.
  • How to keep information and corporate knowledge centralized and easy to find, even with everyone spread out and working from multiple locations.

What is Microsoft Viva

Microsoft Viva was announced in February 2021 and it was described as “the first employee experience platform to bring tools for employee engagement, learning, wellbeing and knowledge discovery, directly into the flow of people’s work.”  Technically speaking, Viva is a collection of four add-ons for Microsoft Teams that help unify and enhance the employee experience across four key areas. These add-ons include:

  • Viva Connections
  • Viva Insights
  • Viva Learning
  • Viva Topics

Beyond the functions that each tool provides individually, which we’ll discuss in a moment, Viva consolidates the employee experience and fosters engagement by keeping everything in a single application. By bringing things like training, corporate knowledge, wellbeing, and more into Microsoft Teams, companies provide a powerful single tool that employees can use as their main work hub, reducing the time it takes to switch between apps all day. Forbes notes that on average employees switch between apps 10 times per hour, which adds up to 32 days in lost productivity per year.

How Can Microsoft Viva Strengthen our Work-from-Home Workforce?

What Microsoft Viva does is to address several items tied to productivity, wellbeing, and employee engagement through a naturally delivered cloud experience inside Teams. Here are how the four key areas of Viva can help you improve your employee engagement and productivity for both remote and in-office workers.

Viva Connections

One of the first things that are often diminished when employees begin working remotely is their connection to their company culture. They feel cut off from their team’s, from company news, and can often feel isolated. Only about 26% of employees feel they are kept up to date on company news. Viva Connections brings a personally curated news portal into Teams for employees. It’s designed to deliver up-to-the-minute company news and announcements, including conversations happening in the company. Connections ensure employees aren’t feeling cut off from the company even though they may be working from home. They also can join in and help shape culture and become part of the daily company conversation. 

Viva Insights

One of the dangers, when employees begin working remotely, is that they become overworked and burned out. Often, they will work later, and on the weekends, because their desk is always there. Viva Insights gives workers and their managers insights that promote employee health and wellbeing and help mitigate overwork that can lead to drops in productivity. For workers, it provides insights and reminders about things like:

  • Taking regular breaks
  • Doing a “mental commute” between home and work
  • Continuing to learn
  • Focusing work and avoiding non-productive multi-tasking

For managers, it provides visibility into potential burnout from after-hours work, meeting overload, and more.

Viva Learning

Whether your team is working in-office or at home, keeping them trained and promoting ongoing development can be challenging. It’s especially so when employees are not all in the same location. Viva Learning is designed to make learning simple and easy to access by connecting multiple learning modules and bringing them into Teams. Employees can access their company’s training tools and managers can easily link their team to pertinent educational courses. The module can connect to multiple third-party and custom learning platforms.

Viva Topics

Company knowledge often comes hard-won, and it’s a valuable resource. But keeping it all accessible is difficult. How is a new employee supposed to know that there’s a tip sheet for handling difficult customer calls that a great customer support person made two years ago? Viva Topics uses AI to search your company knowledge files within Microsoft 365 and serve up links to the relevant topic pages, which it generates automatically. For example, if someone begins talking about how to handle “difficult customers,” while in a Teams conversation, Viva Topics can link that text to a customer service topic page with all the available related articles, including that tip sheet about difficult customer calls.

Improve Your Remote Team Experience With Help from Managed IT Asia

Managed IT Asia can help your Singapore business empower your remote team to keep them engaged and productive through innovative cloud tools like Viva and others. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. Call +65 6748 8776 or reach us online.

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