We have written recently about The Next Normal: trends impacting the future workplace. As organisations’ continue to plan what ‘the next normal’ looks like for them it’s important to reflect on the impact of remote working on wellbeing and culture.
Research and lived experience has shown us that employees have been working longer hours with less defined boundaries between work and home life. Stats say that nearly 60% of people feel less connected to their team after shifting to remote working.
LinkedIn recently conducted a 3-month study of almost 500 of their employees which found that remote working directly correlated with longer working days, more meetings and a rise in after hours instant messaging. They also found that happier employees tended to have fewer meetings and more uninterrupted blocks of time for ‘focus work’.
Many organisations are already alive to the dangers posed by these trends. But it can be hard for managers and leaders to know how employees are feeling and coping, and therefore what solutions can be put into place to resolve these issues.
…Enter Microsoft Viva, an ‘employee experience platform’ that is helping organisations’ to be better equipped to build, deliver and maintain great employee experiences across a remote or hybrid workforce.
What is Microsoft Viva?
Viva a platform built on top of Microsoft’s SharePoint technology for improving remote working and helping businesses adjust to it. While there is still debate about what the future workplace will look like post-pandemic, Microsoft firmly believe that the way we are working now is the next normal.
Jared Spataro, head of Microsoft 365 said: “We need to stop thinking about work as a place, and start thinking about how to maintain culture, connect employees, and harness human integrity in a hybrid world.” Spataro predicted early on in the pandemic that it would forever change the way we work and learn.
Microsoft is splitting Viva up into four specific modules, which will role out during 2021: connections, insights, topics, and learning.
Transforming employee wellbeing with Viva Insights
Microsoft Viva Insights provides leaders with data and visibility into the work patterns of their team like how many meetings employees are involved in, how long their working day is, how many emails and instant messages they are sending and receiving out of hours. Individuals’ privacy will be protected with personal insights only visible to the employee. Managers and leaders will receive de-identified and aggregated data to protect individual privacy.
Organisations can combine this data with survey data gathered using tools such as Microsoft Forms to understand how employees are feeling and how to increase employee engagement, wellbeing and retention by introducing tangible solutions to negate issues and improve employee experience.
Microsoft Viva doesn’t just provide valuable data and insights for managers and executives, it also provides tools to help employees better manage their work-life balance by empowering them to define their work hours, take breaks, schedule quiet time for focus work, build mindfulness into their day, and much more.
A single solution to a layered problem
The quest for improving employee experience is nothing new. For years organisations have been searching for ways to:
- Provide better working experiences
- Maintain momentum and productivity
- Avoid employee burnout
- Improve the onboarding process
- Find better ways to collaborate and knowledge share
These issues are complex and often require more than one platform or technology to solve. But Microsoft Viva has the potential to reduce multiple technology decisions to one. Bringing tools for employee engagement, learning, wellbeing and knowledge discovery directly into the Microsoft 365 apps your staff work with every day. Viva is embedded across the Microsoft 365 suite and is integrated with Microsoft Teams and SharePoint.
Some of the features of Microsoft Viva Insights
- Employees can enable an online ‘commute.’ Use this time to wrap up your tasks from the day, prepare for tomorrow’s activities, and mindfully disconnect from work, helping you ease into the start of the day and decompress at the end of the day.
- Plan for scheduled breaks throughout your calendar to take time out for yourself.
- Ringfence blocks of time for ‘focus work’ and help with focused work tasks and learning.
- Integrate Viva with apps like Headspace, that can truly nurture wellbeing and help with mindfulness.
- Diarise regular updates and emotional check-ins with colleagues to avoid feeling isolated and detached.
- Schedule reminders to send ‘praise’ to their colleagues and collaborators and build a habit of sharing gratitude.
- Managers are able to check on wellbeing and productivity for employees and then tailor plans for each to help prevent complete burnout.
The organisations that understand and invest in the wellbeing and happiness of their people are the ones that will be equipped to retain and attract talent, build a strong culture and improve employee experience and engagement in a changed world.
Supporting your with your ongoing transformation in a changing world
While it’s still early days in the rollout of Microsoft Viva, this platform is a truly exciting one.
BCN Group are here to advise and guide you on every step of your ongoing IT and digital transformation. So please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need advice and support, we’d love to hear from you.