How New Updates to Microsoft Teams Can Help Hybrid Work

With businesses across the world embracing hybrid working, and staff combining remote working with visits to the office, there has never been such a reliance on technology. Hybrid working comes with challenges that were never faced when staff worked in offices every day. It is vital that businesses have the right technology in place, to allow for seamless work from any location, at any time.

One of the most used technologies for remote and hybrid working is Microsoft Teams. Teams has changed dramatically over the last few years, as we’ve embraced the switch. Here are some of the additions and changes made that have supported hybrid work.

Office Space for Hybrid Working

In mid-2021, Microsoft announced new features designed to support inclusive hybrid meetings such as front row for Teams Rooms, a refreshed Teams experience on Surface Hub, and an enhanced Microsoft Whiteboard to enable visual collaboration whether you’re physically in the room together.

On top of this, Microsoft have added category of intelligent cameras. There are three unique technologies that power this new category of intelligent cameras:

  • AI-powered active speaker tracking, to enable in-room cameras for audio, facial movements, and gestures to detect who in the room is speaking, zooming in for a closer perspective.
  • Multiple video streams, allowing in-room participants to be placed in their own video pane.
  • People recognition, identifying and displaying the profile name of enrolled users within their video pane.

When intelligent cameras are paired with Dynamic View in Teams, you can deliver more fair meeting experiences where everyone feels seen and represented. As people join the meeting, Teams automatically adjusts various elements of the meeting, so remote participants see the room and content with ease.

Companion mode in Teams mobile gives in-room attendees quick access to engagement features like chat, live reactions, and Microsoft Whiteboard. It is now easier to access meeting and device controls, like the ability to join a meeting, cast a PowerPoint, mute the room, turn room cameras on and off, and more. The updated companion mode experience will be available in the next few months.

Meeting planning and collaboration will be easier too. New features in Outlook capture details about when and where teammates are working, and how they will join meetings. The redesigned Working hours lets you include work schedule specifics directly in your calendar, so others can know when and where you’ll be working. The new RSVP feature lets people specify whether they will attend a meeting in-person or online so the meeting planners can best prepare by booking a room with video conferencing resources or bringing a speaker puck. New hybrid work experiences in Outlook will start rolling out early next year.

Finally, the hot desking experience on Microsoft Teams displays lets people locate and reserve flexible workspaces in the office. You can book a space from the device or in advance using Outlook or Teams and access your personal Teams calendar, chats, meetings, and more. Teams displays can be used as a standalone device or as a second screen when hot desking and upon signing out, all personal information will be removed from the device.

Effective Remote Meetings

Hybrid presentations are not just about delivering content, but also engaging the audience with non-verbal social cues like facial reactions and gestures. Cameo is a new PowerPoint experience that seamlessly integrates your Teams camera feed into your presentation, letting you customize how and where you want to appear on your slides and offering layout recommendations for optimal viewing. When it’s time to present, use PowerPoint Live in Teams for an immersive remote presentation.

As we work to create an inclusive hybrid work culture, where all voices can be heard, Speaker coach in Microsoft Teams uses AI to privately share guidance on your pace, notify you if you are interrupting someone, and remind you to check in with your audience.

Lighting corrections will help you show up well in video-on meetings even in low-light environments. Lighting corrections will be available in the coming months.

Free up desk space at home or in the office and get clear sound quality for meetings with the new Logi Dock. This docking station has a built-in speakerphone with touch controls, designed to work seamlessly with Teams. With just a touch of a button, you can join Teams meetings, adjust your audio, and more. 

Microsoft Teams for Flexible Remote Work

Flexibility comes from knowing that no matter where you work from, you are connected to your colleagues and work. The latest innovations in Teams bring your favourite applications and experiences together to help you remain efficient, focused, and connected in hybrid work.

With Microsoft Teams meetings and calling coming to Apple Car Play, you can now join Teams meetings and make calls hands-free on the road using Siri.

Microsoft Viva brings communication, knowledge, insights, and learning into the flow of work. With Viva Connections, you can stay informed of company news and resources directly from Teams. You can find personalized announcements, company conversations, and a dashboard of resources for actions like submitting a daily health check or expense reports. In the upcoming weeks, Viva Connections mobile app will be available in preview.

The updates Microsoft are making to Teams benefit the way we work now – flexibly, from a number of different locations. For assistance with remote work, get in touch with ACUTEC today.

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