In recent months, working from home has become inevitable for many (no need to remind you why) and a great number of companies are now using the Teams app in their everyday operations. It should come as no surprise, as this collaboration tool perfectly adapts to your virtual workspace, while being secure, customizable and easy to use.
What is Microsoft Teams?
An integral part of Office 365, Microsoft Teams is a platform that lends itself to collaborative conference calls and facilitates the presentation of PowerPoints or other shared documents, which promotes the flow of information across different teams. Microsoft Teams is included in the Microsoft Office suite and Microsoft Dynamics 365, and can be used from anywhere at any time. Its one major advantage over the competition is its security and efficiency. With it, you can forget untimely interruptions in the middle of a meeting that hinder everyone’s productivity (and motivation!)
Staying at the forefront of innovation, Microsoft Teams has implemented new features that make working from home efficient and fun. A Microsoft Teams meeting is a collaboration tool that facilitates team communication while adding a human touch to video conferencing, which has become the norm in remote team management.
Working from home allows each team member to enjoy the comfort of their living space while respecting health guidelines. When each employee sits alone in their home office, collaborative work proves to be an effective way to build agile teams.
However, virtual meetings becoming the norm has led to some fatigue among many employees. Working remotely offers many benefits, but also creates a certain void in communication due to the lack of interaction and empathy inevitable in a virtual setting. The new Microsoft Teams features make it possible to overcome these shortcomings by implementing elements that resemble the communication of an in-person meeting.
The “raise your hand” feature
The “raise your hand” feature isn’t really new in the desktop version of Microsoft Teams. What is new, however, is that it is now implemented in the app’s mobile version as well, thus facilitating the flow of communication among all participants. This tool makes it easy to talk in respect to best practices, and is available on all devices that use Microsoft Teams.
Polls in team meetings
It is critical to prepare for a meeting in order to ensure its success and effectiveness. Some items can be discussed in a large group, and then the decision making can be done in the form of a poll. The poll feature in Microsoft Teams is a new addition that facilitates decision making and also helps to liven up your meetings. Polls can be created during the meeting by any participant, regardless of their platform.
The poll results can then be viewed live by the others. As a meeting organizer, you can choose whether the responses will be anonymous or not. Questions can be accessed in a window or in chat. Meeting organizers can decide to close the poll at some point or leave it open after the meeting if not all participants have had a chance to respond. Once the poll is closed, the answers are available during the meeting and are displayed directly to the participants.
Two new display modes: Dynamic View and Large Gallery View
Despite physical distance between the attendees, these display modes facilitate a sense of participant involvement and contribute to team engagement. Switching between Dynamic View and Large Gallery View allows you to either focus on the main participants or to have an overview of every person present in the meeting.
- If you wish to focus on the person speaking, Dynamic View is the most appropriate display mode for it, keeping the main speakers in the center of the screen.
- If you wish to see all participants at the same time, you can choose the Large Gallery View As the name implies, you get an overview of each attendee.
Every person in the meeting can choose the display mode that best suits their attention level and the type of meeting they’re attending.
A greater capacity for participation
The new remote work configuration offers benefits like the ability to reach a large number of people at once. Many companies have thus adopted the webinar as a tool for cohesion, communication and even marketing. This presentation format does however require a platform that can support a substantial number of attendees. Microsoft Teams can now host up to 10,000 participants for a Live Event at the same time.
You can hold large events regardless of distance, provided that you have a good IT team, well-rehearsed event logistics and enough bandwidth.
The “Together” mode and its new background images
Many participants can quickly get bored by the frequency of virtual meetings. That’s why one of the most important new features implemented in Microsoft Teams is the addition of fun and creative background images.
The software’s artificial intelligence can now cut the participants out of their background and insert their video image into the environment of their choosing. This makes it possible to virtually recreate a collaborative meeting by putting every employee into the same room. This virtual meeting room thus allows you to bring all attendees together while promoting team cohesion and focus by eliminating distractions in the background. Replacing the traditional mosaic, it places the employees into a shared setting of their choice, like a library, a café, an amphitheater, etc.
Live reactions and emojis to make meetings more engaging
The passivity of the participants is one of the main challenges of running virtual meetings. Everyone sits in front of their screen without having the opportunity to interact with the group in a fluid fashion. With Microsoft Teams, you can now react with emojis so that each participant can share their emotion with the group in real time. It’s much easier to express your surprise with a wide-open mouth emoji, a heart to express that you like something, or show your satisfaction by clapping your hands together.
Emojis aren’t just a gimmick in video conferencing software: they can symbolize micro-reactions that you might have in a real meeting room.
Live captioning and transcripts
Live transcription and subtitles (only available in English for now but soon in a number of other languages as well) make it possible for you to read what is being said in real time. As a major advantage, the full transcript is also made available at the end of the meeting.
Microsoft Whiteboard now available with Teams
Meetings become much more efficient and inclusive with visual collaboration tools. Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams will soon be updated with new features, such as faster load times, sticky notes, text, and drag-and-drop capabilities. This will allow members who do not have access to touch screens or Surface Hub to participate in Whiteboard sessions during Teams meetings.
Other features that enhance video conferencing
Microsoft Teams has added other new features that make it easier to hold virtual meetings, as a way of completing the app and promoting fluid communication.
- The Dynamics 365 Operations Project app: Microsoft Teams can be integrated with Dynamics 365 Operations Project for the sake of fluidity. Team collaboration thus becomes much more efficient, with the communication tool and the project management tool combined.
- Skype calls from the mobile app: Skype and Microsoft Teams are now connected, which means that it’s possible to receive your Skype calls, audio and video alike, directly in your Microsoft mobile app. Bridging these two apps allows your business communication to be more fluid and saves you valuable time.
- Less distractions after the meeting: You don’t want to be disturbed when you’re in a meeting. But it’s also important to avoid unnecessary distractions afterwards. That’s why Microsoft Teams has removed the post-meeting call review, letting you focus on your work more quickly.
Wait no longer; integrate Teams with Microsoft Dynamics 365!
Integrating Teams with Microsoft Dynamics 365 helps make your work more efficient, while new features in Microsoft Teams make it much easier to participate, collaborate, and support each other within the app. Employees can work within the same virtual space, enjoying efficient meetings and easy interaction. It’s all designed to waste as little time as possible, while reducing the fatigue associated with virtual work and the physical distance.
Contact our CRM and ERP specialists to find out more about the benefits of connecting Teams with Dynamics 365; let them help you optimize your meeting times and make your team meetings pleasantly fluid.