Microsoft has revealed that it's planning to add additional functions to its Microsoft Teams platform, offering tools that can help manage time effectively and reduce the risk of work life encroaching on personal time.
These new features are part of Microsoft's Viva, which is already integrated into Teams, but these additional wellbeing tools are planned to be added next month.
There's no denying the role that video conferencing has played in the pandemic, and Microsoft can't be faulted for its constant rollout of new features for its platform.
What is Microsoft Viva?
Viva was launched earlier in the year, as a tool aimed at aiding remote workers and businesses. It has four main components; Connections, Topics, Learning and Insights.
Connections is, as the name might suggest, intended for communicating with colleagues, as well as a place to find company information such as benefits. It's also designed to be used by new starters at the company, a central resource for finding information. Microsoft itself dubs it “the gateway to your digital workplace.”
Next up is Learning. No prizes for guessing the intent of this module. It is, of course, designed for educational and skill building resources.
Topics is a knowledge center for anything of import to the company, and is pitched as a sort of “internal Wikipedia.” It uses AI to surface relevant information, as well as links to videos and related people.
Lastly, there's Insights. This one generates data for managers on the productivity of their teams, although all data is designed to be anonymous, and individuals can't be pinpointed. It's also a resource for employees to use wellbeing tools, such as meditation app Headspace, and it's this functionality that is being expanded and added to Teams.
What Features Will Viva Insights Add to Teams?
Viva Insights is already part of the Teams experience, but thanks to an update on the Teams roadmap, we now know that the Insights portion is going to be integrated further, and have new features added.
With the pandemic leading to many people working from home, the line between home and “office” has become somewhat blurred. Research into the effects of remote working over the past year has shown that in some cases staff are working an extra two hours a day on average.
It's timely then that the new features from Microsoft are designed to allow employees to manage their time better, including precious personal time that could all too easily be eaten into by the working day.
Viva Insights will allow for the designation of “quiet time,” meaning that employees can't be interrupted, as well as a reporting feature to show them how well (or not) they're disconnecting.
The new wellbeing feature will be added to Teams in November, according to the roadmap.
Choosing the Right Web Conferencing Platform
If there's one thing the pandemic has achieved over the past 18 months, its accelerating the worldwide take up of web conferencing services. Before 2020, very few people had heard of Zoom, let alone used it, and now it's become its very own verb.
Web conferencing has allowed the workforce to work remotely and still maintain regular face time and team meetings, so much so that it has become an essential requirement in the “new normal” of pandemic working.
Of all these platforms, Microsoft Teams has never really taken its foot off the gas when it comes to improving its product, and regular updates have become part and parcel of that experience. The Teams of today is a different beast to that of the one from early 2020, and all the better for it.
Teams isn't the only platform in town, although we'd argue that it's one of the best. If you want to see what others have to offer, take a look at our top picks for web conferencing software:
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