New Features in Microsoft Teams
by Shay Hendrick

What New Features are coming to Microsoft Teams?

In the last several months, Microsoft has accelerated the development of Teams features at a lightning pace. More and more companies are shifting to remote work, with several choosing to remain in a work from home state permanently. This has led to a need for virtual meetings to feel less artificial with more emphasis placed on “humanizing” features to increase the comfort level of employees now geographically far apart.

Together Mode

Teams together mode combines advanced image detection capabilities with customized “scenes”, allowing co-workers to meet in much more natural-feeling settings such as conference rooms, auditoriums, offices, and more.

Together mode has been rapidly adopted across organizations and has already seen highly creative uses of the technology. Teams, with together mode, was featured frequently during the NBA finals games where it was used to bring fans to a fan-less arena.

Teams together mode is an individual setting within Teams, which allows users to toggle the experience in the call for themselves without affecting the broader audience.

Breakout Rooms

Ever been in a huge team meeting and needed to quickly sync about the material with a smaller group? Maybe you’re in a class and working on a team project, or it’s a company-wide morale event and want to take members of your team aside. Whatever the case, this is now possible with “Breakout Rooms.”

The intent here is to reduce the need for team members to leave potentially critical meetings for a quick sidebar discussion. This allows for less context-switching and ensures fewer people are forced to choose between internal meetings of equal importance.

Presenters can move between breakout rooms and push announcements to separate rooms to ensure all attendees stay in the loop. If needed, presenters can even close all breakout rooms to pull all attendees into the primary meeting.

Meeting Layouts

Later this year, custom meeting feeds will be rolled out allowing presenters to “layer” their presentation within their custom background. Presenters will be able to determine their level of prominence to their shared content (Such as a PowerPoint), increasing their engagement with the audience, and helping attendees feel more “connected” to the material.

Meeting Recaps

Find yourself doing a lot of scrolling after a meeting, trying to find that one file that your colleague sent? Soon you won’t have to with the new “Meeting Recap” tab. A recap will automatically be populated after your Teams meeting containing the meeting recording, relevant files, transcript, and other data.

This is especially beneficial for client-facing meetings where critical action items and highly catered content are discussed and shared throughout the meeting. This often required one or multiple resources dedicating part of their attention to “tracking” important information surfacing from the meeting. Now, attendees can focus 100% of their attention on the conversation at hand with Teams doing the heavy lifting to ensure follow up items are tackled.

Well-being/Insights

Microsoft is also putting time into improving MyAnalytics, adding direct insights integration into Teams. This gives users important insight into how their time is spent, with an emphasis placed on ensuring a proper work-life balance and reduce burnout.

Early next year, new well-being experiences will be rolled out to more naturally replicate a typical workday. This includes components such as a virtual commute, break schedules, and integrations with popular third-party wellness tools such as Headspace.

*all images courtesy of Microsoft, and can be found here.

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