Microsoft launches Viva for Remote Work

Microsoft has launched Microsoft Viva as a new push to helping businesses with remote work. It is a big bet on the way of working that’s becoming the norm in the current working environment. It’s designed to act as a portal for both employees and businesses to navigate the complexities of working from home. Microsoft has launching Viva, with parts of the platform rolling out throughout 2021.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement, “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.”

Microsoft Viva isn’t an app or a service but rather a platform for improving remote work and helping businesses adjust to it. While businesses collectively spend billions of dollars each year on employee wellbeing, Microsoft thinks Viva will help in this new digital era of work.

Designed for a flexible and digital era of work, Viva integrates into Microsoft Teams and works rather like the intranet of old by collecting essential parts of a business into a central location. Microsoft is splitting Viva up into four specific modules: connections, insights, topics, and learning.

“We need to stop thinking about work as a place, and start thinking about how to maintain culture, connect employees, and harness human ingenuity in a hybrid world,” says Jared Spataro, head of Microsoft 365. Spataro was quick to predict early on in the pandemic that it would forever change the way we work and learn and Microsoft Viva is result of that.

Connections includes internal communications, or resources like benefits and company policies. It’s also designed to be the portal you’d head to if you just started working at a company and you’ve never even met your co-workers due to pandemic lockdowns. Viva Connections will include company news, town halls, or even employee resource groups and communities. It’s basically a dashboard for connecting with colleagues remotely.

Insights will include data for managers and leaders to monitor work patterns and trends, but that privacy will be protected. This part of the tool looks like the next step in Microsoft’s controversial Productivity Score feature. Microsoft was widely criticized for allowing managers to drill down into data on individual employees through metadata collected from its software and services.

Viva Learning is Microsoft’s third module in Viva, and is about employee learning and development. This is where employers will house training materials, courses, and other content for employee education. This will include content from LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, and even a business’ own content, alongside training material from third-party providers.

The last module inside Viva is Topics. It uses AI to organize content and automatically surfaces topic cards with documents, videos, and related people. Viva Topics will generate topic cards from apps like Office, Teams, and SharePoint.

Viva Topics is available now for Microsoft 365 customers, and a public preview of Viva Insights also starts today. Microsoft is also launching a private preview of Viva Learning and plans to announce more additions to Microsoft Viva throughout 2021.


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