Going into 2020, many business leaders were sceptical about remote working, fearing the impact that doing so would have on productivity. But the work from home ‘experiment’ that the pandemic brought has proved to be far more successful than many predicted.
Collaborative technologies like Microsoft Teams, and now Microsoft Viva, have played a vital role in making remote working a viable option for so many organisations, letting teams stay connected digitally, despite being apart physically.
Viva is Microsoft’s new approach to ensuring businesses can provide a consistently good employee experience, while enabling remote and hybrid work. Part of the drive behind Viva is an acknowledgement of the need to help workers stave off the isolation and loss of connection that can occur with these new ways of working. It is also helping business leaders safeguard the mental health of their workers by providing a full picture of how people across their organisation are working, thereby allowing them to tackle the warning signs of stress and burnout before they become a problem.
While this is, of course, all very positive, and is helping to prove that remote working can be a viable, long-term option for many businesses, there are still challenges associated with working from home. Of all these challenges, nearly half of business leaders say relationship-building is the most substantial. Many workers find working remotely means they feel disconnected from their colleagues and peers, posing a threat to the collaborative harmony of teams.
Microsoft has shown that it understands that organisations can only remain successful if they can build social capital, and to that end has now unveiled Viva Engage. Viva Engage is designed to help workers and teams to be their best, have a voice, and feel included in their workplace.
Features for business leaders and workers
Microsoft defines Viva Engage as ‘a social app for digital communities, conversations, and self-expression tools that builds on the existing capabilities of the Communities app for Teams and Microsoft 365’. Its purpose is to keep employees connected, and to give everyone in the organisation the chance to contribute by engaging with people, wherever they are working from, through Teams and Microsoft 365.
To a certain extent, Viva Engage is an extension of Yammer, building on that app’s ability to enable tacit knowledge to be shared and retained through communities, conversations, and knowledge experiences. However, Engage takes Yammer further, and creates a new experience that sits directly within Microsoft Teams as a key part of the Viva offering, alongside other Teams-based tools like Viva Connections and Viva Topics.
Features for business leaders and workers
Viva Engage brings new features to leaders and employees alike. For leaders, it enables news and strategy to be shared across the organisation, as well as for a strong company culture to be cultivated. What’s more, Viva Engage allows communication with employees, and encourages them to get involved in conversations through features like virtual events, pinned conversations, and announcements.
It also gives staff across your organisation improved tools to develop communities of interest and communities of practice, share what they’re working on and their unique point of view, make connections with a wider group of professionals, and find the answers they need to get the job done more quickly.
Storyline and Stories
Viva Engage gives your colleagues the chance to share their experiences with the wider business via their storyline in two main ways – posts and stories.
They can choose to create posts designed to boost engagement by sharing media and links to relevant material, or by resharing a ‘storyline’ of posts from people they think are sharing engaging content. Users can also use Stories – photos or quick videos – as an engaging way to share their work and keep a connection going with their team and the wider business.
People can choose to upload an important story or to quickly share news with their followers, celebrate successes– such as a work anniversary or a breakthrough in a project – or to cast a spotlight on content that already exists. Stories appear at the top of the storyline, in a way that is intuitive and familiar from other social platforms, and can also be drawn into other parts of M365, like Teams and Outlook, giving them a wider audience and fostering a lively sense of community across your organisation.
Viva Engage is a big step forward
Viva Engage marks a significant step forward for Microsoft Viva’s offering. As businesses continue to roll out remote working, it is inevitable that issues around the loss of connection that some workers experience will continue to emerge. With Viva Engage, Microsoft has shown that it is committed to supporting workers and their organisations through the transition to remote working, and recognises the potential successes that hybrid working can bring to businesses and their employees.
CompanyNet are experts in communication and collaboration technologies on the Microsoft 365 platform. We’ve already delivered successful Viva and Teams projects for our enterprise and mid-market customers. If you’d like to find out more about how Viva can boost your business’s employee experience and engagement, drop us a line today.
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