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Creating space for connections and collaboration

By Contributor
Tue 14 Sep 2021

Article by Avanade Australia modern workplace lead Stef Shoffren.
 

The workplace experience today and in the future looks drastically different from what was envisioned two or three years ago. No one could have imagined the changes experienced since 2019 would be so long-lasting and its impact so profound. 

Before working from home became commonplace, the office was where most professional activity was conducted. At the end of a working day, employees could return home and ‘switch off’, drawing a distinct line between their professional and personal lives. 

Today, companies and organisations are onboarding new-joiners remotely; employee training and team-bonding activities take place virtually; moments that matter for employees are celebrated through different digital channels of communication; and collaborating becomes boundaryless.

A large portion of the workforce consists of vital first-line workers: the people who work as tellers in banks, nurses and porters in hospitals, shopfloor staff in retail. When the world shifted to remote working overnight, it became apparent that the people on the floor were not equipped to do so and lacked the tools to stay connected to their broader organisation. The good news is, this digital gap between office-based workers and field-based employees is diminishing — thanks to smarter technology.

Now with the arrival of Microsoft Viva, the future of work will deliver a seamless, consistent experience for every type of employee: first-line or field-based, knowledge or desk-based, onsite, offsite, hybrid, flexible, full time, part time or job sharing. Viva is Microsoft’s Employee Experience Platform that fosters organisational culture and brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights.

There are four main themes of Viva that are enabled through Microsoft Teams, allowing employers and employees to communicate, share knowledge and support wellness remotely.

Connections 

Organisations are now utilising Microsoft Teams to connect their employees with each other. Employees are informed about what’s happening across the organisation with a personalised news feed and dashboard about stories that truly matter to them. This fosters a strong sense of belonging, building higher levels of engagement and creating the space for employees to re-establish human connections.

Wellbeing

Achieving the right work-life balance is challenging while working from home. This aspect is particularly relevant and critical right now as more people focus on the importance of mental health and wellbeing. 

Viva enables users to undertake a ‘virtual commute’ that helps break up the workday. This same application can also call attention to behaviours that indicate potential burnout risk, empowering managers to reach out and support their team when they might be struggling. 

Learning 

In a space and at a time where people are now inundated with overwhelming amounts of information, first-line workers can now access learning, adopt a growth mindset and achieve an always-learning attitude. By making learning available in their natural flow-of-work, employees can access content easily across the myriad of learning management systems available in large organisations. 

Learning can be tailored to specific teams or projects, helping employees grow and thrive in the new era of remote and hybrid work. 
 
Knowledge

Viva has a built-in knowledge capability that removes the onus from staff to manually surface and curate documents. This eliminates the stress of finding documents that can be a daunting task in a large organisation. 

Microsoft Teams’ AI capability helps put the right data into a format that end-users will find helpful — improving workflow and enriching the employee’s experience. For example, if a new-joiner has easy access to role-specific onboarding information, their learning process becomes simpler and more engaging. 

All these features have come together to make Microsoft Teams the backbone of many companies’ digital strategies. And the evolution isn’t finished. As time continues, we expect to see more engagement with Microsoft Teams and more impactful usage for the application by first-line workers. 

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