How Microsoft Viva is helping to shine a light on mental health in the workplace

microsoft viva- mental help

Matt Weston, founder and managing director of Vantage 365, gives insights into the useful ways Microsoft Viva can help tackle mental health in the workplace

In recent years, there has been an increased willingness to recognize mental health as a vital part of one’s wellbeing, with public debate around the issue making it no longer the taboo subject it once was. A large part of this change has been driven by various high-profile, celebrity-endorsed awareness campaigns, which have led to broader discussions about mental health across multiple settings, including among friends and family, at school, and in the workplace.

However, with recent figures from a ‘Mental health and work’ study revealing that one in every six workers experience mental health problems, there is still much ground to be covered inadequately addressing the issue in the workplace. Fortunately, new technologies are being developed to help cast a greater spotlight on mental health at work, with Microsoft Viva among the most notable examples.

Launched in early 2021, this ‘employee experience platform’ built on Microsoft 365, which became generally available in November, promises to help firms ‘foster a culture of human connection, purpose, growth, wellbeing, and results’ as they move towards a hybrid work model in the wake of the pandemic.

One of the ways that Viva is helping to improve mental health at work is through the use of insights. The Viva Insights app is designed to help people and businesses thrive with data-driven, privacy-protected insights, as well as recommendations to improve productivity and wellbeing.

For example, ‘manager insights’ show managers how their teams’ work patterns could lead to burnout and stress, often caused by regular after-hours working, meeting overload, or too little focus time. Using these insights, managers can better understand current team norms and work towards helping employees strike a healthier balance between productivity and well-being.

Meanwhile, ‘Leader insights’ support business leaders in addressing critical questions regarding organizational resiliency and work culture. They do this by providing a business leader with a snapshot of how their firm is performing, including company-wide outcomes and leading indicators for each outcome, which helps them understand how work impacts their staff and business.

Business leaders can then use this information to take steps towards protecting employee wellbeing and to identify opportunities where a change in process could improve business outcomes. In addition to the insights that Viva delivers for managers and business leaders, the Insights app has also introduced a curated set of guided meditations and Focus music from Headspace, a leading, science-backed app in mindfulness and meditation.

This is aimed at helping employees to keep their day grounded, relax their minds ahead of a big presentation, or find focus before starting an important project. By engaging with these tools for just a few minutes per day, meditation and mindfulness with Headspace can help workers to significantly decrease stress and increase their sense of focus, delivering benefits to both wellbeing and productivity.

While thousands of people are now spending much more of their working time away from the office, figures from the Royal Society for Public Health show that 67% of employees feel less connected when working from home. Viva Connections aims to combat these feelings of disconnection by ensuring teams are united, inspired, and informed every day.

It achieves this by delivering a curated feed of relevant news, resources, and conversations that keeps workers up to date with what is happening around the business and allows them to make their own contributions. Keeping teams engaged through Connections is likely to deliver employee well-being benefits. A Glint survey found that highly engaged workers are 12 times less likely to leave their company than those who are not.

Furthermore, there is a good chance that the app will also boost profitability, as supported by research conducted by Gallup showing organizations with highly engaged employees have 21% greater profitability.

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Organizations that are keen to keep staff happy and productive, regardless of where they are working, should seriously consider the benefits that leveraging technology such as Microsoft Viva can deliver into their existing processes and practices. With its ability to share insights and build connections, it is an employee experience platform built for the new digital age, which places firms in a stronger position to transform more seamlessly towards a hybrid model.

While so much has been achieved in recent times when it comes to having frank discussions about mental health at work, technologies such as this are helping to push the issue further and truly bring employee well-being to the forefront of their organizations.

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Matt Weston

Matt Weston is the founder and managing director of Vantage 365

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