Ignite 2021: Hybrid Workspaces

The last few years have seen some huge developments in how the employee experience is viewed and how the modern workplace can be shaped to provide the best environment for employees to stay productive while working from anywhere on the planet. I think its fair to say that the established norms of how we have worked for the last few decades has been changed and for the better.

During the first day of this years Ignite conference Microsoft revealed what their vision of the hybrid workplace may be for the next decade.

In this post I wanted to look at two announcements specifically Microsoft Mesh for Teams and Microsoft Viva.

Into The Metaverse

With the introduction of Microsoft Mesh into Teams you can now move your office space quite literally into the digital workspace.

Mesh builds on existing Teams features such as Together mode and Presenter mode that make remote and hybrid meetings more collaborative and immersive.

Personalized avatars let you customize your avatar and even utilize AI to make gestures giving you a physical presence in the meeting while your camera is off.

Mesh for Teams will be accessible for everyone using any device from standard smartphones and laptops to mixed-reality headsets. It has been designed to make online meetings more personal, engaging and fun. Mesh for Teams will be a gateway to the metaverse – a persistent digital world that is inhabited by digital twins of people, places and things. A space where people gather to communicate, collaborate and share with personal virtual presence on any device.

Organizations will be able to create their own immersive spaces that resemble relatable physical spaces such as conference rooms or staff lounges to enhance the employee experience.

Mesh for Teams will roll out with a set of pre-built immersive spaces to support a variety of contexts, from meetings to social events. Microsoft’s vision for immersive spaces is for them to become one of the many ways people communicate and collaborate in addition to face-to-face meetings, chats, emails and video calls.

Microsoft’s Jeff Teper said “An immersive space within a team’s channel on Microsoft Teams, could serve to reinforce cohesion and common purpose. For example, a product design team within Microsoft might create an immersive space for its daily standup meeting. On one virtual wall might be customer pictures to keep the team grounded, while a whiteboard on another wall displays color-coded tasks. Product prototypes could be displayed on a table.

Mesh for Teams is certainly an exciting development within the Modern Workplace.

Learn more about Mesh for Teams.

Embrace the Digital Employee Experience

As we have now discovered, we are no longer bound by the physical workspace location. We need innovative ways to keep employees engaged and informed to keep us moving forward. Microsoft’s answer to this is Viva.

According to Microsoft, Viva is an employee experience platform that brings together communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights in the flow of work. Powered by Microsoft 365 and experienced through Microsoft Teams, Viva fosters a culture that empowers people and teams to be their best from anywhere.

Microsoft Viva is suite that contains 3 specific modules, Insights, Learning and Topics. Following Microsoft’s recent aquisition of Ally.io. Microsoft will be adding a Goals Management module to the suite in 2022.

Viva Learning seamlessly incorporates employee learning content into Teams. It allows you to:

  • Easily search for learning content across Microsoft, partner providers, learning management systems, and your organization in Microsoft Teams.
  • Develop new skills with personalized content recommendations.
  • Find learning content across the Microsoft 365 suite using Microsoft Search
  • Access bookmarked learning items, recently viewed courses, content assigned from your learning management system, and recommendations in the My Learning view.
  • Get Teams notifications for new learning activity and upcoming due dates.
  • Send learning content in a Teams message, meeting chat, or email.

Viva Insights helps improve productivity and wellbeing with data-driven, privacy-protected insights and recommendations. It is designed to help build better work habits. Track and improve the effectiveness of your meetings. Prioritize wellbeing with actionable recommendations, such as reserving time for focused work or “No Meetings Days”.

Insights helps address unique business challenges by generate valuable insights and flexible reports for business leaders. Allowing them to address complex challenges using advanced tools and a library of prebuilt analysis accelerators, visualizations, and interactive reports.

Viva Topics uses AI to recognise common topics across content and conversations, organize that information and generate topics pages. It can also find related topics by discovering complementary topics from different sources using Microsoft Search.

To learn more head over to the Microsoft Viva page HERE.

I hope this has been helpful. Thanks for calling by.


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