There are many startups out there powered by workforces who have never met in person.

The COVID pandemic and resulting shift to working from home is now giving way to hybrid working to some extent – but the majority of people work from home for at least part of the week.

There is a danger that as businesses grow, staff will become increasingly disconnected – and there will be a big impact on mental health as a result.

Indeed, figures from the Royal Society for Public Health show that 67% of employees feel less connected when working from home. 

Matt Weston, founder and managing director of Vantage 365, says new technologies can mitigate the impact of this – with Microsoft Viva, launched last year, among the most notable examples. 

Viva Connections

“Viva 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,” he explains.

“The Viva Connections app 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 gives them the opportunity to make their own contributions.

“Keeping teams engaged through Connections is likely to deliver benefits for employee wellbeing.

“Furthermore, there is a good chance that the app will also provide a boost to profitability.”

Viva Insights

The Viva Insights app is also helping to improve mental health at work.

“This 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, which are often caused by regular after-hours working, meeting overload, or too little focus time. 


“Using these insights, managers can gain a better understanding of current team norms and work towards helping employees strike a healthier balance between productivity and wellbeing.

“‘Leader insights’, meanwhile, support business leaders in addressing critical questions regarding organisational 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 to understand how work is impacting their staff and business.

“This information can then be used by business leaders to take steps towards protecting employee wellbeing, and to identify opportunities where a change in process could improve business outcomes.”

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The app has also introduced a curated set of guided meditations and focus music from Headspace, the 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 to find focus before starting an important project,” explains Weston.

“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.”

He adds: “While so much has been achieved in recent times when it comes to having frank and honest discussions about mental health at work, technologies such as this are really helping to push the issue further, and to truly bring employee wellbeing to the forefront of their organisations.”