Back in February I wrote about the new employee experience platform Microsoft Viva, which began rolling out this year. Viva Connections was the first of four modules (Connections, Insights, Learning and Topics) to be introduced, making its appearance in April. The Topics module followed in May. Currently, Viva Insights is rolling out, from now until the end of 2021. A new Viva Insights homepage with personal insights will replace MyAnalytics. These data-driven insights are intended to improve your staff’s productivity in the workplace. At the same time, the Insights module strives to enhance each employee’s personal wellbeing. Certainly sounds like a win-win proposition!
What is Viva Insights?
Like MyAnalytics, Viva Insights provides personalized recommendations to help you do your best work. The goal is to help you build better work habits such as following through on commitments made to collaborators and protecting focus time in the day for uninterrupted, individual work. The personal insights and actions are derived from data that is already available to you in your Exchange Online mailbox. Insights simply gathers that data and translates it into tools you use to organize your day and build better habits.
How Viva Insights helps you stay connected
Insights has a number of AI-based features that help you stay on top of your collaborative projects with colleagues. In the Stay Connected tab on the Insights homepage, you can:
Identify and pin important collaborators
You might receive insights from various people but some items might deserve more attention than others. Based on your collaboration patterns, you can pin some of your contacts as important. All insights from pinned important contacts are shown with higher priority at the top of the page.
Set up 1:1 meeting reminders
Staying in touch with top collaborators can be difficult. But a quick 1:1 meeting with key contacts can help you nurture your professional network. Microsoft Viva Insights can help you set a target 1:1 meeting frequency for each contact. Further, it can provide you with meeting recommendations if you are falling out of touch with anyone.
Get 1:1 meeting suggestions
If you’ve set up a target 1:1 meeting cadence with your colleague through the Microsoft Viva Insights app and are falling out of the set cadence, Viva Insights will remind you to set up a 1:1 meeting and help you schedule it.
Reschedule a 1:1 in case of conflict
Microsoft Viva Insights also helps you follow through on your intent to have 1:1 meeting with your colleagues. If, for some reason the 1:1 meeting invitation you sent to your colleague has a conflict, Viva Insights will help you quickly reschedule the meeting.
Stay on top of outstanding task suggestions
It is easy to lose track of commitments that you’ve made to your colleagues in email. This insight helps remind you of tasks that you’ve agreed to do. That way, nothing falls through the cracks! It is based on emails that you’ve sent and requests from your colleagues during the last 14 days of email communication, and includes:
- Commitments – Something that you promised or committed to do for someone else in an email
- Requests – Something that another person asked you to do in an email
- Follow-ups – Something that you asked for from someone else in an email
Catch up on unread documents shared with you
Have you searched for that document that you planned to read but you just cannot find it? With so many documents shared across meetings and emails, it can be tough staying caught up on documents shared by your colleagues. Use this insight to see a list of the shared OneDrive and SharePoint documents that you need to catch up on.
Use @Mentions for pinned important contacts
@Mention is a common way to tag colleagues on important work items. Microsoft Viva Insights can help you quickly triage recent @Mentions from pinned contacts so that you are caught up on important conversations and tasks in Teams.
RSVP to upcoming meetings
Let your colleagues know if you can join their meeting so that they can run effective meetings. Meeting attendance information helps meeting organizers better plan and prepare for meetings and reschedule if needed.
How Viva Insights helps protect your valuable time
Find more time to eliminate distractions, stop multi-tasking, and focus on your core priorities. You can use features found within the Protect Time tab on the Insights homepage to manage your time in a couple of ways:
Schedule “focus time”
Research shows that on average it takes 23 minutes to refocus on a task after a distraction. Furthermore, constant distraction during focused work can cause higher stress, lower productivity, and well, a bad mood (raises hand). It can also be hard to fully delve into challenging work if you have only small chunks of available time between meetings. Or maybe you get easily distracted by incoming emails and chats (raises hand again!). Blocking a few hours every day to focus without interruptions can help you make progress on your important tasks and projects. Microsoft Viva Insights Protect Time feature makes it easy to book blocks of “focus time” into your schedule.
Start a “virtual commute” at the end of the day
Additionally, with the Protect Time feature you can select which days and times you want to receive reminders to get ready to leave work. Near the end of your workday, the virtual commute will guide you to close out tasks, preview what’s planned for tomorrow, and reflect on how you felt about the day. Microsoft has also integrated the popular meditation app Headspace into the virtual commute feature, so you can mentally unwind before your actual headache-inducing commute begins. (Or before your “remote commute”: Instead of sitting in traffic, you might be helping with homework, walking the dog, getting dinner ready…Or all of the above! It is just as important in that scenario to have mindfully disconnected from the stressors of the workday in advance.)
Other noteworthy features
There are a number of other Viva Insight options users might find valuable to both their productivity and mental health. Here’s a quick summary of some available now (with promises of more to come!):
Send acclaim to your employees and coworkers, either in a private chat or in a Teams channel conversation. The goal here is fairly obvious: Help create a more positive team culture in your workplace. For those in working in hybrid situations, this praise can help people not physically at the office feel more included, less isolated. All of this inevitably leads to a more productive team.
Take a moment to check in with yourself, to reflect on how you’re feeling. The app privately tracks these personal reflections over time. That way, you can look back and see if perhaps there is something you might want to change about your routine.
Experience a guided meditation developed by the pros at Headspace. Short, “bite-size” guided meditations helps you relax as well as ground yourself mentally before continuing on with work.
Take a break
During your workday, be reminded to take an occasional one-minute “breathing break.”
And now, a word on privacy
According to Microsoft, the insights for individuals that this app presents are completely personal and private. Personal insights in the app are for each employee’s individual eyes only; neither managers nor the system admins can see any but their own insights. For more information, you can read Microsoft’s Privacy guide here.