With the rise of remote and hybrid work in recent years, Microsoft Teams has emerged as the go-to solution for business communication and collaboration – with more than 320 million monthly active users. Organizations love the platform’s efficiency, accessibility, security, extensive features, and ability to integrate with the entire Microsoft 365 ecosystem.
Since our workplace needs constantly change, the platform releases new updates, adding additional capabilities to keep users engaged and satisfied.
At the beginning of October, Microsoft announced the widespread availability of the new Microsoft Teams app for Windows and Mac. This latest version offers businesses the best of both worlds: a robust platform that consumes fewer resources!
From an enhanced user experience and more flexible collaboration to intuitive navigation and deeper integration – there’s a lot to discover in this latest update. Below, you’ll learn about the latest features, how they will benefit your organization, and the teamwork within your workplace.
This “new Teams” isn’t just a few tweaks. It’s a significant transformation, offering users a whole new experience to optimize how they interact in ways that respond to their unique needs and preferences.
Of course, there’s a lot of fun cosmetic changes. For example, users who want a distraction-free on-camera presence during a work meeting can now rely on something other than Standard Blur. With the added Portrait Blur, they can portray a more detailed depth-of-field, a crisper image of their face, and a subtly blurred background.
But remember, these types of updates aren’t superficial. Improving the visual experience is key to fostering a professional setting, making digital communication seamlessly align with in-person interactions.
Microsoft Teams has also introduced more extensive interface changes, like the new channel experience. They’ve renewed everything from the conversation view and compose box to the information pane and in-channel search so that users can better control their environment. On the one hand, they can easily find the people and resources they need while also shutting out details regarding irrelevant projects to concentrate on their current tasks.
Organizations that use Microsoft Teams phone to revolutionize workplace communication know that this company is constantly working to create innovative solutions to empower productivity.
Beyond the more aesthetic changes to create a more user-centric space, the new Teams also offers cutting-edge features to reshape communication on the app.
Thanks to the new Teams app-within-an-app called “Meet,” people can now use these face-to-face connections more productively. It offers a place to get a centralized view of your organization’s previous and upcoming meetings. In this one place, you can access all the content needed to put the insights from a meeting into action: files, transcripts, chats, agendas, and shared documents. The latest update ensures there will be no more meandering and unorganized meetings that lead nowhere.
The new “collaborative notes” feature for meetings lets users collaborate in real-time on documenting the discussion. They can also automatically synch any assigned tasks with Microsoft To Do and Planner, cutting back on the extra administrative burden that could hold back productivity for more meaningful work.
For Teams Premium users, your meetings can now offer users live meeting transcripts in more than 30 languages, making them more inclusive and accessible for many participants whose first language isn’t English.
Teams have also introduced new “town hall” features for large-scale meetings and events. If you’re looking to host a big online gathering, organizations can now access an out-of-the-box template for online events. Features include space for 10,000 people, a green room, a moderated Q&A, and live translated captions.
Remember, while these new features sound exciting – particularly for empowering employees to work outside the office – we must prioritize cybersecurity. While Microsoft Teams does focus heavily on security, you can also work to keep your data safe while operating online by following these best practices for end users working remotely.
The benefit of working with Microsoft Teams in the workplace is more than just the features in the actual app. The platform also integrates a diverse range of services and tools in one streamlined location to improve your collaboration and management of projects.
In the latest Teams updates, the new People app allows you to sync your Outlook contacts, so you can quickly connect with whoever you need, no matter which Microsoft 365 service you use.
They’ve also released a new application called “Workflows,” which combines the features of the previous Workflows and Power Automate apps into one solution. Users can synthesize information across Microsoft 365 services while automating tasks like following up on messages, scheduling replies, or analyzing email sentiment. Configuring workflows within channels alerts you about activity on other services within the Teams environment.
Many third-party collaborative apps are now accessible through Microsoft Teams. For example, Growthspace is a notification and reminder-based bot that serves as a platform for coaching, mentoring, and professional development. The Embark application allows organizations to automate and digitize onboarding for new employees.
What’s always been great about Microsoft Teams is that it caters to the distinct requirements of various sectors. Across industries, how we communicate isn’t one-size-fits-all, and the new Teams reflect that.
For example, as part of their updated solutions for frontline workers, Teams is offering “Walkie Talkie favorite channels.” For those unfamiliar, the Walkie-Talkie app on Teams operates very similarly to the traditional two-way radio communication technology bearing the same name. Without needing a separate device, users can use instant push-to-talk (PTT) communication by simply relying on their phone and an internet connection. This newest feature allows Walkie-Talkie users to pin their five most-used channels on their home screen to access them quickly wherever they are.
Historically, Teams has also provided extensive features for educational spaces. In the latest iteration, they’re allowing educational institutions to offer a more focused schedule view, with the option to embed the “Teams Calendar” as a ‘Web part’ in Viva Connections for Education.
As a result, students can have a more user-friendly experience since certain elements are more responsive to the “meeting lifecycle.” The app will highlight labels like “join” right before a meeting’s start time and shift the calendar view depending on whether it’s in a personal or class context. Participating will become more intuitive and natural by tailoring the display information and actions to show only the relevant features when needed.
The latest features in Microsoft Teams offer many ways to redefine how our teams communicate with each other to accomplish their work. This article could only touch on some of them, but we recommend regularly checking out the Teams blog in the Microsoft Community Hub for the latest updates.
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