Microsoft Introduces Viva to Make Working From Home Easier-news

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While many companies are still mastering the art of working from home, Microsoft this week introduced its virtual solution: The Viva employee experience platform helps folks learn, grow, and thrive—even from their kitchen-table desk.

Powered by Microsoft 365 and Teams, Viva makes it easy for customers to merge existing systems and tools with fresh features for a more accessible, discoverable workplace.

“We have participated in the largest at-scale remote work experiment the world has seen, and it has had a dramatic impact on the employee experience,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. “Viva brings together everything an employee needs to be successful, from day one, in a single, integrated experience directly in Teams.”

At launch, Viva includes four modules, with more on the way.

Connections

Viva Connections (Photo via Microsoft)

A majority of people feel less connected to their teammates since lockdown began—a problem no amount of daily Zoom meetings can fix. Accessed via Microsoft Teams, Viva Connections provides a single entry point for employee engagement and chit-chat.

“You can think of it as a gateway to your digital workplace,” Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, wrote in a blog announcement. Catch up via corporate town halls; access company news, policies, and benefits; share resources from across the web. Content can also be customized for specific roles and teams.

The Connections app for Teams will be available on desktop in public preview in the first half of 2021, with a mobile app coming later this year.

Insights

Viva Insights

Viva Insights (Photo via Microsoft)

No matter how busy work is, it’s always important to unplug and engage in a bit of self care. Enter Viva Insights—which adds personal wellbeing experiences, insights, and recommended actions to your daily routine.

Everyone benefits: from individuals scheduling breaks, focused work, and learning or winding down at the end of the day with a “virtual commute,” to managers encouraging team members to turn off notifications, set boundaries in their calendars, and arrange daily priorities.

Viva Insights in Teams is now available in public preview.

Learning

Viva Learning

Viva Learning (Photo via Microsoft)

“Viva Learning helps make learning a natural part of … every employee’s daily work and company culture,” Spataro boasted, highlighting discoverable and shareable training courses.

Housed in a central hub—with an AI that recommends the right content at the right time—it aggregates content from LinkedIn, Microsoft, Skillsoft, Coursera, Pluralsight, edX, and your own company.

The Viva Learning app is now available in private preview. Starting later this year, it will begin offering integrations with third-party learning management systems.

Topics

Viva Learning

Viva Learning (Photo via Microsoft)

It can be especially difficult for remote workers and new hires to find information quickly and easily without interrupting colleagues. Viva Topics can help, automatically organizing company-wide content and expertise into relevant categories. “Think of [it] as a Wikipedia with AI superpowers for your organization,” Spataro said.

While working in Office, SharePoint, and Microsoft Teams, simply hover over an unfamiliar subject or acronym to surface a topic card; click to see documents, videos, and related people from Microsoft Cloud and third-party services including ServiceNow and Salesforce.

Viva Topics is now generally available as an add-on to Microsoft 365 commercial plans.

“As the world of work changes, the next horizon of innovation will come from a focus on creativity, engagement, and wellbeing so organizations can build cultures of resilience and ingenuity,” Spataro said in a statement. “Our vision is to deliver a platform for the employee experience that helps organizations create a thriving culture with engaged employees and inspiring leaders.”

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