Track user activity in Microsoft 365 with Viva Insights

Genericblogimage Featured 09

Learn how Microsoft Viva Insights allows employees and leaders to track work activity in Microsoft 365 to increase productivity and well-being.

Managing user activity in Microsoft 365 has simple goals: you want to gain insights into users’ habits so that you, as the administrator, can make changes for an optimal user experience.

There’s a selection of Microsoft 365 OOB functionalities that can provide insight into how users are interacting with the platform. Namely: 

  • Microsoft Purview audit log
  • Search-UnifiedAuditLog
  • Office 365 Management API

But what about the users themselves?  

In today’s environment—where we interact, collaborate, and learn from each other more than ever—there’s more untapped potential to be found in understanding the details of how we work.  

What if we had a tool to manage our time communicating with others and ensure activities align with our top priorities? What if we could better gauge how productive and proactive we are in the workplace?  

This isn’t some far-off fantasy. Fortunately, users can access these impactful features with Microsoft Viva Insights.

What is Viva Insights?

Microsoft Viva Insights is a component of Microsoft Viva. It’s an employee experience platform designed to empower employees remotely. It gives you data-driven, privacy-protected insights and recommendations to help you improve productivity and wellbeing, and build better work habits.  

Different roles within your organization require different insight functionality. Viva Insights offers a wide range of visibility options depending on your needs: 

  • Personal insights are data that users can access about themselves (only the user can see). You can gain invaluable information about how you work, as well as what you may want to consider doing differently to work smarter. Get helpful recommendations on increasing your productivity and well-being, such as setting aside time each day for learning, focused work, and regular breaks. 
  • Manager insights provide much-needed insight into work behaviors within your team that may cause stress and burnout. With access to this information, managers are empowered to nip unhealthy work patterns in the bud before they get out of hand (e.g., ongoing after-hours work, meetings overload, insufficient focus time). By identifying these patterns early, managers can assist their teams in finding a balance between productivity and well-being. 
  • Leader insights allow business leaders to leverage this data to better understand how their work culture affects organizational resiliency and employee engagement. Leaders can use the recommendations on the Outcomes page to identify worthwhile opportunities for process changes that could enhance their business outcomes. 
  • Advanced insights offer business leaders visibility on how the existing culture impacts both their people and their business. Leaders can see where things aren’t functioning optimally and can then make changes that not only improve the business but also improve the work-life balance for employees. 

These are valuable insights that administrators, managers, and business leaders can leverage to help increase business outcomes and work-life balance within the organization. Not only that, but users can also access insights about their own activity. By owning visibility over their activities, users can feel empowered to craft their optimal work processes based on data, stats, and recommendations. 

How to install Viva Insights in your organization

To install Viva Insights, you need to be assigned the admin role in the Microsoft 365 admin center.  

  1. Sign in to the Microsoft 365 admin center.  
  2. In the left pane, expand Settings and then select Org settings
  3. On the Service tab, select the Microsoft Viva Insights option. This opens a page where you can enable and configure access to the different personal insights elements. 
Enable Viva Insights2

Viva Insights integrates with Microsoft Teams

Once Viva Insights is installed, you can add it to your Teams navigation bar menu. 

In Teams, open More options (…). Right-click on the Viva Insights app and pin it to your Teams for easy access.  

Teams Viva Insights 1

The Viva Insights app integrates seamlessly within Teams. This means that accessing these insights will not interrupt your workflow – on the contrary, it’s streamlined, and the information you receive will help to enhance your workflow.  

You can see tailored recommendations in the app to assist you in producing your best work. Learn how to create healthier work habits by keeping your word to colleagues and setting aside uninterrupted blocks of time each day for focused, independent work. It gathers information about your emails, meetings, calls, and chats from Microsoft 365. This is all information you can already access, but it would be far too time-consuming to gather and analyze it all manually. 

Viva Insights Home

What are the key benefits of Viva Insights?

Viva Insights empowers users to:  

  • Access crucial data regarding their own process and workflow 
  • Tap into suggestions on how to improve via personal insights 

Team, organization, and advanced insights allow team leads and business leaders to access important data points (such as how their habits impact their team), as well as get suggestions on how to optimize their own processes for both team productivity and employee wellbeing. ​​ 

With personal insights, employees are provided with a roadmap to do their best work, working smarter (not harder), ensuring that they enjoy going to work every day.  

The Viva Insights dashboard offers a window into the key benefits that this tool offers. Let’s explore each section of the dashboard and its benefits: 

Home: Get a big-picture high-level overview of stats related to all the insights you can access. See key work patterns relevant to your activity. Do you have enough uninterrupted time to get your work done? Are you able to disconnect and recharge? These questions, among others, are answered with big, clean graphics, giving you a taste of the in-depth data you can access. 

Viva Insights Home 1

Focus: See if you have enough uninterrupted time to finish focused work. If you’re constantly bombarded with interruptions – from pings to meeting requests – this impacts your workflow more than you realize. Viva Insights offers tips on how to protect your calendar and manage distractions so you can focus when you need to.

Focus Viva Insights

Wellbeing: How often are you checking your work email during off-hours? Viva Insights knows! The Wellbeing section ensures you can see that you’re not disconnecting when you should and offers tips to reduce stress and burnout. 

Wellbeingdashboard Viva Insights

Network: See data related to workplace interactions and activities with other people in your network over the past year, offering you valuable insight into your work relationships. 

Network Viva Insights

Collaboration: See who you have actively collaborated with on workplace activities in the past month, including emails, chats, calls, and meetings. This highlights your most valuable relationships, as well as offers the chance to identify which relationships you would like to foster. 

Collaboration Dashboard

How to track user activity with Viva Insights

As a manager or a leader within your organization, you have access to the team and organization-wide insights within the Viva Insights app in Teams. You can access visibility on your team’s activities and habits, see which areas would benefit from change, and get recommendations to improve. 

It’s important to emphasize that managers and leaders within the organization don’t see any information from individual team members that would allow them to track their activities.

What you do have is ​​visibility into your team’s experience, habits, well-being, and productivity as a group. You can use these insights to understand current team norms, see where you need to step up and model behavior and habits for your team and take action to create positive change. 

Manager insights

Managers can access a My Team page within Viva Insights, which shows you insights and suggestions to help you maintain positive employee experiences. You can evaluate how much time your group is working after hours, or determine if your group is getting enough 1:1 time with you and other managers. 

For example, a manager with access to manager insights may see a widget on their dashboard that indicates: “30% of your group spends the majority of their time in long and large meetings.” This helps to give you a general overview of how your team is spending their time and triggers you to consider a shift in culture from the top down.  

Leader insights

Leaders can view leader insights in My Organization within Viva Insights, which provides a snapshot of how your company is doing. Examples of insights include company-wide business outcomes and leading indicators for each outcome, which help you see why it’s important to pay attention to that outcome. 

A leader with access to leader insights may see a widget on their dashboard that indicates: “42% of employees are working after hours for more than 3 hours each week.” Around this stat, you’ll see additional information related to burnout risk, as well as specific suggestions on the next steps to take action in helping employees to disconnect. This triggers leaders to consider prioritizing work-life balance within the work culture. 

Data protection and security

Viva Insights tracks personal data to provide in-depth insights to improve work efficiency and prevent burnout by promoting employee well-being.

Naturally, users want to know how Viva Insights uses their data for personal insights, where it stores that data, and how it was designed to keep it safe. 

First and foremost, it’s important to reiterate that only you can see your personal insights data. These are privacy-protected insights. No one else can access this data unless you purposefully and independently share it. Managers and leaders within the organization don’t see any information from team members that would allow them to track their activities.

For example, a manager can use their insights to see if they’ve sent an email to a team member after hours, but they cannot determine whether the team member opened the email. They may also see general stats about their team, but nothing related to any individual. 

Wondering where your data is stored? It’s all in your Exchange Online mailbox. What if you change your mind about sharing your data? Not to worry, you can opt in or out at any time. 

Additionally, personal insights within Viva Insights are designed to support your organization’s needs to follow General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements and support GDPR compliance. 

Visibility is a key part of maintaining a productive and healthy Microsoft 365 environment and an empowered team.  

If this kind of visibility is enticing, you’ll want to get your hands on ShareGate’s reporting for SharePoint and Teams. Reporting is crucial to maintaining a secure and organized environment. ShareGate is an IT professional’s dream when it comes to gaining insight through a wide variety of pre-built and custom reports, as well as managing Microsoft 365.  

What did you think of this article?

Recommended by our team

Getting started is easy

Try ShareGate free for 15 days. No credit card required.

Spot Icon Rise up

Live event RISE UP - ShareGate’s new M365 management features