Remote work has quickly become a normal part of life for millions of people around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated an already-present shift in the workforce as both companies and employees found benefits of work-from-home models. Although that can’t be said of all positions (or people) it’s true that there are several advantages to remote work.
However, there are also many drawbacks. For instance, it can be difficult for team members to stay connected with their co-workers and brainstorm new ideas.
To help make remote work easier, Microsoft recently unveiled Viva. The platform is designed to work well with Microsoft 365 and Teams, making it a perfect addition to the tools people are already using.
When companies are operating normally, intranet is a great way to keep people connected. Even if it isn’t utilized by all employees, it provides a central location for key announcements and helps a company build its culture. Remote work makes it very difficult to do the latter. Microsoft hopes that its new Viva platform could give employees at least some of the same benefits.
The company’s CEO, Satya Nadella, says, “We have participated in the largest, at scale, remote work experiment the world has seen. As the world recovers, there is no going back. Flexibility in when, where, and how we work will be key.”
Viva includes a multitude of new tools, including Connections, Insights, Learning, and Topics. The first is designed to let companies send out internal communications and updated policies from within Teams.
Insights goes a step further, focusing on employee performance in a number of ways. The Verge’s Tom Warren likens it to an advanced version of Microsoft’s Productivity Score. Of course, privacy is always a concern when it comes to managers collecting and analyzing data on their employees.
Microsoft is making it a priority with Viva Insights. Microsoft 365 head Jared Spataro says, “…personal insights are visible only to the employee, while insights for managers and leaders are aggregated and de-identified by default to protect individual privacy.
Learning is designed to give employees a way to engage with training sessions and other educational materials. Businesses will be able to integrate their own content and employees can also access courses from LinkedIn Learning and Microsoft Learn.
Finally, Spataro says that Topics is like “a Wikipedia for the organization.” The feature compiles relevant content in the form of topic cards with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).
Tools for the Future
In all likelihood, people will continue to work from home once the pandemic ends. Though it’s not a guarantee, there are plenty of people that would love to never step foot in an office again.
Companies that have successfully made the transition to remote work models can benefit from things like reduced office space costs and the ability to hire people from all over the world.
While some businesses will certainly aim to resume their “normal” activities in the post-pandemic world, others will stay remote. Tools like Microsoft Viva are poised to cement that transition.