Microsoft’s range of programs, including Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams, has quickly become an invaluable tool for businesses in recent years. However, in 2020, the adoption of Microsoft Teams experienced an unprecedented increase, as it proved indispensable to help companies maintain communication and productivity, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many companies to switch to external employees. While Teams already offered numerous features that helped employees collaborate in a safe and productive environment wherever they were, Microsoft used the first months of 2021 to continually roll out new features and updates for Teams that have made this program more indispensable than ever. Before. If you’ve never heard of the latest updates from 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
A video conferencing feature that many companies have experienced as essential during the pandemic are brainstorming rooms; however, they were not previously available in Teams. Fortunately, Microsoft has listened to its customers, and members can now create brainstorming rooms for their staff during large meetings.
Brainstorming rooms can be very useful by making large meetings more manageable and productive for your team. It allows you to easily divide your meetings into smaller groups, making discussions, brainstorming sessions, and group lessons easier. This also makes it easy to divide tasks between a larger group, which can meet again later to discuss their progress.
Brainstorming rooms in teams make it easy for organizers to jump between brainstorming rooms to monitor progress, make announcements to all brainstorming rooms at once, and return all rooms to the main meeting at the same time. Teams also helps to keep everything from brainstorming rooms organized and later easily accessible by making all meeting files, whiteboards, recordings, and transcripts available to the meeting organizer so they can view and use them later. If you hold regular meetings in Teams, you’ll probably soon find that brainstorming rooms are invaluable.
Connect your organization to publishing tasks
Another great feature microsoft has added to Teams is publishing tasks. This allows head offices to better communicate with their staff by creating tasks centrally at the company level and publishing these tasks to different locations if necessary. For example, a large nationwide retailer can create a specific list of tasks designed to keep stores safely reopened, 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 distribute the work and keep track of who loads which task. This can significantly improve efficiency and ensure that tasks are completed in a timely manner, as everyone knows what he or she is 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 personnel 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 planned schedules, and make changes to their schedule, all from teams. It’s now easier than ever for staff and management to track and manage their schedules with new flexible staff management tools in Teams.
Track and manage approvals within teams
Managing approvals has never been easier with Team’s new approval feature. Approvals make it easy to 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 have to do is select the type of approval you need, add details, attach files, and choose approvers. Once submitted, the approvers shall be informed of the approval and may assess the request and act where necessary.
Simplify lists and tasks
Newly added features to Teams now make it easier than ever for users to track tasks, prioritize and organize tasks on the go, and access lists. While this feature is limited to Apple users, the new iOS mobile app List gives users access to their full-functionality lists directly 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 in the app from scratch, or use a ready-made template so you can easily keep an overview.
For Android users who are worried about missing this feature, Microsoft says they are working on an Android version and should have an update on 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 based on critical tasks and keywords and deadlines, keeping you up to date with critical projects and maximizing productivity.
What’s new for meetings
Microsoft’s latest updates also include features that make managing meetings easier than ever. With the new chat moderation settings, organizers and teachers can now choose from a variety of chat settings that help create secure and inclusive meeting environments. Meeting organizers can now turn off chats, preventing the organizer and attendees from using the meeting chat at all. Alternatively, organizers can set chats to only be active during the meeting, so that the chat is only used if the organizer is present (however, the organizer can send chats at any time). However, the default setting is that chats are enabled so that all meeting attendees can use chats at any time.
As Microsoft Teams increasingly becomes an integral part of the way businesses do business, Microsoft has done an excellent job of constantly adding new features that allow their customers to 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.