As COVID restrictions ease slightly again, many businesses are once again evaluating the transition into hybrid working. To support and empower workers, Microsoft have released new innovations in Microsoft Teams, Fluid and Viva.
Engaging experiences in Microsoft Teams
New features in Teams meetings and Teams Rooms have been carefully thought out to improve the hybrid meeting experience for those in an alternative working environment. This will ensure workers feel connected, engaged and a part of the session whether they’re at home or on the go.
Front row in Teams Rooms
Expected to release later in the year, Teams Rooms will feature ‘front row’ – an immersive room layout designed to make interactions more natural. The layout will also connect hybrid and remote participants.
The Team’s video gallery will also be shifted to the bottom of screen, allowing participants to be face-to-face with those in the meeting room. To further keep engagement centralised, meeting content will contain contextual meeting information, encompassing the agenda, task and notes, and the meeting chat will be easily visible to members in the room.
New video layouts
Teams Rooms will now expand the screen using new video layouts. They will spread out the video gallery across several displays when content isn’t being shared. This will allow remote members to establish their presence and feel included.
Teams Rooms for desktop will also be getting new features to encourage more attention towards remote participants including:
- Live reactions
- Pinning multiple video streams
- Chat bubbles
The feature will additionally allow remote participants to clearly see who is in the meeting room. Using AI technology like Jabra, Logitech, Poly and Neat, the camera technologies will create new video views which are optimised especially for hybrid meetings.
To clearly identify participants when speaking in meetings, Microsoft are introducing Teams intelligent speakers from EPOS and Yealink. The speakers will use Microsoft’s voice recognition technology in Teams to correct align remarks to the room speaker in the transcript. The meeting transcription means participants can keep focus of who’s speaking instead of having to take notes, and any members who were unable to make the meeting can view a record of the full conversation.
Surface Hub experience for Teams Rooms
Surface hub is a staple for teams to meet and co-create no matter where they’re working from. The new experience will feature modernised meeting stages, ‘together mode’ scenes and PowerPoint Live. Microsoft Whiteboard will also be later available for Surface Hub for meeting participants to brainstorm with one another.
Whiteboard experience to support hybrid work
Whiteboard experience will also support remote/hybrid workers and enable them to visually collaborate across a digital canvas. Rolling out in the summer, the new features will allow participants to pull in existing content to the whiteboard for co-authoring. New templates will help kick-start brainstorming sessions.
Fluid components for collaboration
Fluid components create collaborative experiences which are editable in real-time across Teams and Office apps. The components enable getting work done in the context of chat, emails and meetings. The latest expansion for Teams meetings, OneNote, Outlook, and Whiteboard makes it easier for collaboration synchronously and asynchronously across Teams and Office apps.
New chat features are also being introduced to enhance asynchronous collaboration to keep track with work amidst meetings. Participants can also pin a message to allow chat members quick access to critical content, whilst being able to reply to a precise chat message with context of the ongoing conversations.
An increase in Teams chats and ad hoc meetings being on the rise has been taking a toll on workforces. To help manage the burden, new Fluid components within Teams meetings will now make it easier for users to co-create an agenda, take notes and assign tasks. Users can also brainstorm ideas together to create and edit live Fluid components in whiteboard. The Fluid components can also be made use of across Outlook, in email and in the calendar for easier management of time. agenda and tasks.
New features in Microsoft Viva for wellbeing
Guided meditations and mindfulness exercises from Headspace
Many employees have been experiencing stress and longer hours of working accelerated by the pandemic – resulting in lack of engagement and staying focused. Viva Insights help addresses this issue with a curated set of meditation guides and mindful exercises from Headspace, enabling a better start, and end, to the day.
New focus mode
The new mode will feature Focus music from Headspace and include timers to help users make progress of critical tasks in regular intermissions with planned breaks.
Enable ‘quiet time’
For many, the pandemic has created a blur between their work and home lives. To help users in this positions, Viva Insights will configure quiet time to silence mobile notifications from Outlook and Teams outside of working hours. To help users track how often and enough they’re disconnecting, personalised insights will be provided.
The settings for this mode will be available to users in Teams and Outlook mobile, as well as IT admin controls in Microsoft Endpoint Manager to enable the making of organisation policies for muting after hours motivations.
If you’re looking to learn more about the various new features across Microsoft, contact our team today.