Microsoft’s suite of programs, including Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams, have quickly become an invaluable tool for businesses in recent years. However, in 2020, Microsoft Teams adoption saw an unprecedented surge as it proved indispensable in helping businesses maintain communication and productivity as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to switch to remote workers. While Teams already offered numerous features that helped employees collaborate in a secure and productive environment wherever they were, Microsoft used the early months of 2021 to continuously roll out new features and updates to Teams that have made this program more indispensable than ever. made. before. If you’ve never heard of the latest updates to Microsoft Teams, check out some of the latest features added to make sure you get the most out of this platform.
Breakout Rooms have been introduced
One video conferencing feature that many companies have found essential during the pandemic is breakout rooms; however, they were previously unavailable in Teams. Fortunately, Microsoft has listened to its customers and members can now create breakout rooms for their staff during large meetings.
Brainstorming rooms can be very helpful in making large meetings more manageable and productive for your team. It allows you to easily divide your meetings into smaller groups, which can better facilitate discussions, brainstorming sessions and group lessons. This also makes it easy to divide tasks among a larger group, who can come back together later to discuss their progress.
Team breakout rooms make it easy for organizers to jump between breakout rooms to check progress, make announcements to all breakout rooms at once, and bring all rooms back to the main meeting at the same time. Teams also helps keep everything from breakout rooms organized and easily accessible later by making all meeting files, whiteboards, recordings, and transcripts available to the meeting organizer for later viewing and use. If you regularly hold meetings in Teams, you’ll probably soon find that breakout rooms are invaluable.
Connect your organization with job publishing
Another great feature that Microsoft has added to Teams is task publishing. This allows corporate offices to better communicate with their workforce by centrally creating tasks at the company level and publishing those tasks to different locations as needed. For example, a large nationwide retailer could create a specific list of tasks intended to allow stores to reopen safely, send the list to specific affected locations, and track the progress of assigned tasks in real time. Managers can even assign subtasks to specific employees, making it easy to divide the work and keep track of who is in charge of which task. This can greatly improve efficiency and ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner because everyone knows what they are individually responsible for.
New partnerships simplify planning
Microsoft Teams has also entered into new partnerships with Blue Yonder and Reflexis that have allowed them to add new workforce management tools to their platform. With this new integration, Teams customers now have access to a more unified workforce management solution that allows employees to see and switch shifts, view their scheduled schedules, and make changes to their schedule, all from within teams. Now it’s easier than ever for staff and management to track and manage their schedule with new flexible workforce management tools in Teams.
Track and manage approvals within teams
Managing approvals has never been easier with Team’s new approvals feature. With approvals, you can easily create, share, and manage approvals in teams from the same place you send chats, in a channel conversation, or in the approval app itself. All you need to do is select the type of approval you need, add details, attach files and choose approvers. Once submitted, the approvers are notified of the approval and can review the request and act as necessary.
Simplify lists and tasks
Newly added features to Teams now make it easier than ever for users to track tasks, prioritize and organize, and access lists on the go. While this feature is limited to Apple users, the new List mobile app for iOS allows users to access their full-featured lists right on their iPhone. This makes it easier than ever for you to keep track of your lists, as you can quickly reference, edit, or add to a list wherever you are. You can even create a new list from scratch in the app, or use a ready-made template for easy overview.
For Android users worried about missing out on this feature, Microsoft says they are working on an Android version and should have an update on its progress in the coming months. Of course, all Teams users now have access to To Do. Microsoft To Do uses AI to help you plan your day better and keep you focused on the tasks that matter most. AI helps you identify critical tasks and keywords and deadlines, so you stay on top of critical projects and maximize productivity.
New Meeting Features
The latest updates from Microsoft also include features that make meeting management easier than ever. With the new chat moderation settings, organizers and educators can now choose from a variety of chat settings that help create safe and inclusive meeting environments. Meeting organizers can now disable chats, preventing the organizer and participants from using the meeting chat at all. Alternatively, organizers can set chats to be active only during the meeting, so that the chat is only used when the organizer is present (however, the organizer can send chats at any time). However, by default, chats are enabled so that all meeting participants can use chats at any time.
As Microsoft Teams increasingly become an integral part of the way companies do business, Microsoft has done a great job of continuously adding new features to help their customers get the most out of this platform. If you’re new to Teams, or if you don’t feel like you’re getting the most out of it, feel free to contact us to see how Teams can better serve your business.