On October 1, 2021, Microsoft replaced Workplace Analytics with Viva Insights as part of an all-new employee experience platform rebranded as Microsoft Viva. Viva Insights is a powerful tool that seamlessly integrates with Microsoft 365 apps, giving users eye-opening and actionable insights into work organization and data-driven recommendations to help improve managed IT productivity and wellbeing. 

Let’s take a deep dive into Viva Insights to understand what it is, how it works, and its role in the modern digitally-augmented workplace: 

What Is Viva Insights?

Viva Insights is one of the four core modules making up the larger Microsoft Viva platform. The other three are: 

  1. Viva Topics: Creates an internal knowledge base for the organization. 
  1. Viva Connections: Focuses on boosting employee engagements and collaborations. 
  1. Viva Learning: Serves as a central learning hub where employees and managers can discover and build new ideas and skills. 

Viva Insights is a work analytics tool designed to improve employee productivity while preserving their well-being through a healthy work-life balance. It helps business leaders, managers, and individual employees develop and stick to healthier and more efficient work habits. Viva Insights achieves this by gathering, deidentifying end users account information and analyzing data across the entire Microsoft 365 platform to draw work patterns and other user behaviours. An AI engine then processes this data into informative and actionable insights delivered to the user as reminders, recommendations, and stats. 

The structure of Viva Insights

Viva Insights provides employees and organizations with a clear idea of work patterns from personal and administrative perspectives. The platform is structured to cater to two main audiences — individual employees and managerial staff. 

Viva Insights for individuals

This program provides personalized insights to help individual employees organize their work time and focus on what’s important. Employee experience management was traditionally a managerial or HR administration domain. But Viva Insights puts, in part, employee experience and satisfaction in the hands of the employee themselves. Users can work more mindfully and effectively by leveraging the following Viva Insights capabilities: 

  • Personal insights: Viva’s AI studies an individual’s work patterns and behaviour to determine how they spend their time. For instance, the system may look at the time spent on certain tasks, checking emails, and attending meetings. This information helps the user to understand their work schedules and make decisions to change or improve them. 
  • Focus time: Viva Insights enables users to block out noise and distractions for quality quiet time. This means no alerts, notifications, call requests, or meeting invites for a set period of time. 
  • Well-being focus: One of the main goals of Viva Insights is to improve employee well-being. Viva Insights has several ways of achieving this, including daily wellness surveys, access to mindfulness services and apps and work-life balancing capabilities. 
  • Recommendations: Viva Insights is also a kind of digital assistant, providing useful recommendations throughout the workday. For instance, it might recommend resources necessary for completing a particular task, time for breaks, and relevant emails in the inbox. 

Viva Insights for management and leadership

Viva Insights also provides team managers and business leaders with valuable HR information from across the organization. However, the data that managers see is different from what individuals see. Managerial insights are aggregated and de-identified, only painting a general picture of the work scene without violating anyone’s privacy. Management teams can access the following features and capabilities: 

  • Well-being factors: Viva Insights gives managers a general view of important employee well-being metrics. For instance, managers can identify early signs of work overloading and burnout, such as too many employees working after hours. Managers can then take proactive measures to prevent wellness risks based on such information. 
  • Team cohesion: Viva Insights can track engagements and communications between individuals and teams to show the organization’s internal connections and collaborations. How often team members hold meetings or connect with each other says a lot about that team’s cohesion and sense of community. 
  • Risk factors: Viva Insights helps managers identify risk factors that could jeopardize workplace productivity. For example, employees spending too much time in frequent meetings or lengthy calls could be a red flag. 

Viva Insights key features

Viva Insights is a feature-rich platform with several functions for maintaining a healthy and productive workplace. Here’s a list of its main features: 

  • Advanced Insights and Analysis Accelerators 
  • Dynamic recommendations 
  • Integration with Microsoft 365 and other third-party collaborations tools 
  • Business, collaboration, and HR management templates 
  • Data extensibility 
  • Daily briefing email 
  • Monthly digest email and personal insights dashboard 
  • Overarching data protection, user privacy rights, and transparency 

How Microsoft VIVA Insights can help your business

Viva Insights works on two levels. One, it helps employees create a favourable data-guided work environment. Two, it allows managers and business leaders visibility into HR collaborations and commitment to work. From there, individual employees, managers, and other decision-makers can finetune work habits and other work-related aspects to maximize productivity mindfully. Here is what Viva Insights can do for your organization and its HR community: 

  • Balance employee productivity and well-being. 
  • Provide data-driven pointers to foster healthier work habits. 
  • Eliminate counterproductive workplace risks (burnout, time wastage, overloading workers, etc.). 
  • Nurture a work culture based on meaningful collaborations, engagements, and teamwork. 
  • Address complex opportunities and challenges using Advanced Insights and custom analytics tools.

Viva Insights can also be extended and customized to meet the data analysis needs of your business with a multitude of scenarios that benefit specific organizational needs. HRIS data, including employee surveys, organizational data and additional sets may be mapped and incorporated to provide custom insights that identify your target audience workforce habits thus enabling executives the ability to make data driven decisions on a go forward basis.

Viva Insights pricing

Viva Insights is free for personal insights since it is included in all license subscriptions, E3 and above. However, you’ll need an additional license to purchase Viva Insights for managers and leaders and Advanced Insights. These prerequisites are Microsoft 365 or Office 365 E1/A1/G1/E3/A3/G3/E5/A5/G5, Exchange Online Plan 1 or Plan 2, or Microsoft 365 Business Premium/Standard/Basic licenses. Any of these licenses makes you eligible to purchase Viva Insights at CAD 5.10/user/month. 

The takeaway

It’s about time businesses took a more considerate approach to HR and employee experience management — to try and appeal to the human side of employees rather than simply viewing them as assets. In a business world where machines and software dominate workplaces, it’s easy to virtualize employees, too. You have to understand that behind each profile picture on a screen is a human being whose feelings and well-being affect how they work and live. Viva Insights helps individuals and managers visualize well-being and productivity and how the two correlate in the workplace. 

If you’re looking to balance employee wellbeing and productivity, Viva Insights is the solution for you. Softlanding can help you implement Viva Insights to increase knowledge in your workplace using our in house methodology that addresses both short and long term goals including continuous improvement strategies. Get in touch with us to learn more about leveraging Viva Insights and other Microsoft solutions. 

Written By:


Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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