Microsoft is looking to change the way working from home operates with its new platform, Microsoft Viva, which is undergoing a slow, partial release. Viva seeks to act as a hub for a company's remote working needs, improving a company's workflow and lifestyle.
While working from home was always a concept, the COVID-19 pandemic kicked the concept into overdrive, with almost all office-bound companies adapting to the social distancing rules and retreating to their homes to work.
And while there is a multitude of software that makes this easier, like Slack or Zoom, Microsoft Viva is looking to push the concept even further, as they predict that, while we may be returning to the offices, working from home is here to stay.
What is Microsoft Viva?
As the world experienced a mass exodus from office life and people started to work from home, Microsoft noticed that there was a vacuum when it came to software that specifically facilitated remote working.
“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 CEO Satya Nadella
To fill this vacuum, Microsoft began work on a platform that integrates into Microsoft Teams and allows people to view work as something more than a physical space. Microsoft Viva is broken into four main functions: Connections, Insights, Learning, and Topics.
Connections is kind of the company FAQ. If you started working at a company during the lockdown and didn't know who to ask for what information, like benefits or general policies, this is where you'd find your answers.
Insights allows managers to stay on top of their reports' workflow, without being too invasive into individual stats. People will be able to see their own stats, of course, but won't have to worry about feeling watched.
Learning is where you'd find all of your onboarding resources. Again, if you were a new hire at a company, your first week or two would be spent around the Learning module, getting to know the ropes of your position and your company as a whole.
Finally, Topics is one of the most interesting and revolutionary aspects of the whole platform. Topics uses AI to scour the workplace for resources, then links those resources up under a relevant umbrella.
For example, if one of your business's various revenue streams was selling water bottles, then any videos, documents, or even team members directly related to water bottles would be compiled under the “water bottle” topic card, allowing you to quickly find people or information you need.
How Will Microsoft Viva Change Working From Home?
While it may not completely rework the way we work from home, Microsoft Viva is certainly a unique platform that, if used to its fullest extent, could improve a company's flow, even if everyone is in different buildings.
While it might suit some to simply have everything in a Google Drive and pull it up when necessary, the idea of having certain hubs for individuals to seek out resources certainly has some allure to it. Whether it's veteran employees looking to refresh themselves on the pension plan, or a new hire looking for a tutorial on how to use a certain piece of work-related software, having these resources under dedicated banners will help anyone in need.
While Microsoft Viva would be a huge help for those trying to avoid commuting for fear of endangering themselves or their loved ones, it may also open the door for more diverse hiring options too. Without being restricted to a geographical radius around a building, Viva could allow people to comfortably onboard from across the country, or even the planet.
And while it may not seem to be an absolute necessity at the moment, the platform is in very early days. It's entirely possible that after a few updates or new features, Microsoft Viva may be a crucial tool for any company with a large remote working base.
What Are Alternatives to Microsoft Viva?
Since Microsoft Viva is going to be the next step in remote working, there really aren't any alternatives just yet. Microsoft is banking on this being the first true foray into working from home, so it's already pushing the envelope.
In the meantime, the closest thing you'll be likely to find are team management software, like CoSchedule or Trello. These allow you to stay on top of a team of people, visualise tasks and workflows, and communicate using tags and notifications.
This software isn't intended solely for remote working, and is often used in conjunction with office working, but is still very effective ways to keep track of a business or team without being in the same room.
The obstacles around remote meetings have largely been addressed by video conferencing software.