Martin Pelan, Student Support Manger, talks about how Microsoft Viva Insights has helped him manage hybrid working and improve his wellbeing.
When we first started working off campus at the start of the pandemic, it was a huge change. In addition to the social aspects, it meant getting to grips with a new set of tools and ways of working. When we started coming back to campus to work in a hybrid way, I was more familiar with the tools, but I was still struggling with some aspects of hybrid working.
This is where Viva Insights came in. I have the Insight bar pinned in Outlook, and it reminds me about outstanding tasks and things I need to follow up on, tips for preparing for today’s meetings, recommendations for documents I might be interested in and much more. It’s a bit like having my own personal assistant. Unlike some of the tools that help with this kind of thing, I find Viva Insights has a light touch – supporting me when I need it, but not hassling me.
I’ve found hybrid working quite stressful at times. I miss the regular in-person meetings and particularly those quick chats you’d have between meetings. “Have you seen that email?” “Did you know about…?” Viva Insights helps to fill that gap and stops me worrying about what I might have missed. Its reminders about people I’ve not met with for a while, and display of who I’m collaborating with most, helps to stop me narrowing my focus too much.
It makes me feel calmer, less out of control. If you need a little bit of prompting Viva Insights is for you.
As well as having the sidebar in Outlook, it is worth going to the full Viva Insights page, either in a web browser or in Teams, particularly for the wellbeing support. Automatically blocking out focus time in advance gives me the quiet time I need for concentrated work (but people do need to respect this when booking meetings), and setting a virtual commute helps to stop the blurring of work and home life and encourages me to switch off. I’ve found the “How are you feeling?” check-in useful too, helping me to notice how I am feeling and see where there have been periods when I’ve been a bit low. And if you are feeling a bit stressed, the meditations and breathing exercises are great.
Because all of these features are integrated into one app, working together with your email, calendar and other Microsoft apps, Viva Insights works really well for me.
The Viva Insights sidebar in Outlook is available in the web version of Outlook and the latest version of the desktop app. It isn’t available in the Outlook 2016 desktop app. How to pin and use the sidebar (on Microsoft’s support site).