Microsoft is rolling out a bunch of new features and options for its Microsoft Teams workplace collaboration app to reflect the new normal of remote work as well as the increase in “hybrid work,” where people work from home and also spend some time at an on-premises workplace.
Many of the features are focused on video meetings in an attempt to make them more productive and less fatiguing. There are also features to boost virtual collaboration, both in groups and for accomplishing one-on-one tasks with a teammate.
Perhaps the most intriguing of the new Microsoft Teams features is together mode, where meeting participants are digitally placed in a shared background. Microsoft says the goal is to make participants feel as if they are all sitting in the same meeting room or classroom.
“Together mode makes meetings more engaging by helping you focus on other people’s faces and body language and making it easier to pick up on the non-verbal cues that are so important to human interaction,” says Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365.
Spataro says together mode is especially powerful for open-ended meetings, roundtables, or brainstorming discussions where all attendees speak and share viewpoints “because it makes it easier for participants to understand who is talking.”
In a nod to the recent success enjoyed by Zoom as more people work from home, Microsoft is also rolling out dynamic view, aimed at the more traditional video conferences that have become ubiquitous during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dynamic view adds a slew of enhancements to the daily video meeting that gives users more options on how they share content with other participants and lets them customize the view to fit their needs. For example, Spataro says users can “show shared content and specific participants side-by-side.”
Other new Microsoft Teams features
In addition to together mode and dynamic view, Microsoft is rolling out these new features for Microsoft Teams:
Video filters: Don’t look your best for those early-morning or late-night meetings? With these new filters, you can adjust the lighting or soften the focus.
Live reactions: Worried your non-verbal reactions will be lost or misconstrued at large meetings? With live reactions, you can display an emoji to share your sentiment without speaking up and interrupting the meeting.
Speaker attribution: An extension to the already available live captions feature, speaker attribution will let everyone know at a glance who is talking.
Microsoft says these new features for Teams will begin rolling out next month.
Featured image: Microsoft