Remote working is now more prominent than ever, and Microsoft Teams is the ultimate tool for keeping employees connected and engaged as they work from home.
2020 has already been quite a year for the collaboration platform, with heaps of new features introduced to improve the remote working experience. We’ve put together a list of the updates that we think have made the biggest positive impact on working from home…
1) Background Effects
Keep the focus on you! Participants in Teams meetings can customise their backgrounds using a pre-selected list of images, or even upload their own background image if they wish (check out some of our own custom backgrounds below) This feature improves the experience of remote working and enables employees to keep their homes private.
2) View 9 participants videos instead of 4
In April, Teams rolled out a much-anticipated update; you can now see up to 9 participants video feeds simultaneously during a Teams meeting. The new feature is designed to improve collaboration during meetings and enable more face to face conversations while we all work virtually.
3) Raise your hand
The new ‘raise hand’ feature in Teams meetings lets participants indicate when they’d like to speak, enabling large meetings to run more smoothly and reduce the amount of talking over each other.
4) Background blur for iOS
The hugely popular background blur has gone mobile. iOS users can now keep the focus on them when they are on the move; you could be out walking the dog and still maintain a professional presence on your virtual meetings.
5) Live captions on mobile
Hard of hearing? Connecting from a loud location? Participants can follow along and read what is being said during Teams meetings by turning on live captions on their PC and mobile devices. Captions are currently only available in English.
6) Yammer within Teams
The popular business social platform can now be accessed as an app in Teams, helping you stay connected to what’s happening across your business without having to switch platforms. Easily share announcements and pin conversations just as you normally would on Yammer.
7) Pop-out chats
Gone are the days of awkwardly trying to multi-task while in a Teams meeting! Users can now pop-out chat windows instead of having to move back and forth between the different Teams functions and potentially miss something important being shared in a meeting.
8) Improved voice quality
Teams now keeps media and video streaming within the boundaries of corporate networks, improving both performance in Teams meetings and calling as well as security.
9) New Teams certified devices
Microsoft has worked closely with device partners recently to bring a variety of certified devices to the market. The devices are all designed to support remote working and offer enhanced reliability and comfortability while on calls or in meetings.
10) Teams for frontline workers
Using targeted communications in Teams, you can communicate with recipients based on their role and shift pattern; perfect for frontline organisations. Microsoft has also made major upgrades to the ‘Shifts’ function; schedule filtering makes it easier to manage large shift schedules, and the ‘your shifts’ view makes it easier for team members to quickly access their information without needing to scroll through the entire team schedule. Microsoft are also introducing a new frontline worker SKU for M365, designed to meet the unique productivity and security needs of workers at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19.
The updates made so far in 2020 definitely address a number of needs for SMBs and larger frontline organisations in these trying times. With many companies relying on remote working solutions to survive right now, Teams has stepped up to make virtual collaboration simple and seamless.
Stay tuned for the next batch of updates in Microsoft Teams and talk to us today to find out more about integrating the platform into your business strategy with our 6 month trial. Learn more here
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