New Microsoft Teams features announced in time for second UK lockdown

Chloe Mustafa
Categories: Increase Productivity Product Updates
Tags: Microsoft Teams remote working

With the UK now in its second lockdown of the year, staying in touch with your employees and clients is more important than ever. During the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, Microsoft Teams cemented its position as the go-to platform for remote workers, with over 115 million daily users. Rather than resting on its laurels, the company has used this success as an excuse to improve every aspect of the Teams experience. Here are a few of the new features coming your way this month:

Meetings and calls

While it boasts many other features, meetings and conference calls are a key part of Teams. Microsoft regularly introduces new updates to streamline Teams calls, and this month is no different. Teams already provides live captions, allowing you to read what is being said in real time. Microsoft has now combined this with speaker attribution, so you can also see who is saying what. This will make meetings more inclusive, as participants who are deaf or hard-of-hearing will no longer have to wonder which caption applies to which speaker

Live captions with speaker attribution

Elsewhere, the new spotlight feature allows you to ‘pin’ a certain speaker, making theirs the main video for all participants. This is especially useful if you wish to lead a meeting with your employees as it keeps the focus on you rather than switching between participants. You can also prevent attendees from unmuting until they ‘raise their hand’, helping you to keep control of meetings with large numbers of participants.

Screenshot showing how to prevent unmute

Finally, Microsoft has made some changes to the ways in which meeting data is stored. Recordings of all meetings and calls are now automatically saved to OneDrive for Business or SharePoint. This allows you to easily find and access past meetings, and to share them with others. The company has also improved the Teams participant reports, which can now be downloaded directly from the meeting chat and contain more detailed data on who attended the meeting. This means that you can keep track of which employees attended which meetings, allowing you to catch up with anyone who was absent.

Access Teams recordings in OneDrive and/or SharePoint

Did you know we offer a month's free Microsoft 365 Business Voice trial? Discover how you can incorporate calling into your Microsoft Teams here.

Chat and collaboration

As well as hosting calls and meetings, Teams provides a highly effective shared workspace for you and your employees. This is another area in which Microsoft regularly introduces new features. The new offline presence status allows users to signal to their colleagues that they are unavailable whilst continuing to make use of the Teams workspace. This will help your employees to set firm boundaries, reducing the stress of being ‘always on call’ that often comes with remote working.

Teams is all about collaboration, and sharing files is an important part of this. Microsoft has introduced a new file sharing experience, allowing users to create a shareable link for any file and choose who has access to it.

The creation of teams themselves has also been streamlined with a selection of new templates to choose from when forming a team. This allows you to easily create subgroups of employees with different areas of expertise. You can also create your own custom templates.

Make a Team quickly thanks to Teams templates

Finally, Microsoft has introduced language-aware proofing to the messaging on Teams. You can now communicate in multiple languages and the Teams spell checker will automatically adapt to whichever language you are using.

The future of work is hard to predict at the moment. Whether we return to the office or work from home permanently remains to be seen but, whatever happens, it is reassuring to know that Teams will be there to help us stay in touch. Be sure to make the most of working remotely thanks to Teams with our remote working tips or our Employers Guide to Remote Working as Microsoft will almost certainly continue to improve Teams well into the new year.

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