Remote work has grown tremendously over this past year and is here to stay. Since remote work increased due to the necessity of keeping businesses afloat during the pandemic, so has the usage of collaboration applications and tools like Microsoft Teams.

Chances are if you have Microsoft 365 you are using your Teams subscription included with your license. At least we hope you are! We have found that 43% of businesses do not use their Teams even though they are paying for it. This is due to lack of training or showing preference to other collaboration tools like Zoom. To increase your ROI, we advise to encourage your remote staff to use Teams! Perhaps the latest in Teams updates will motivate your remote staff to make the switch and increase their Teams usage. Likewise, we advise our training tool from Bigger Brains to give your remote staff the foundation they need to fully utilize Teams. More information about our training tool can be found here.

As Teams competes with Zoom and Google for the top remote collaboration tool, Teams has brought on many changes to be more efficient and user friendly. Microsoft is always open to feedback and takes on suggestions to better their products. After reviewing many suggestions and implementing changes, Microsoft has announced their latest updates to Microsoft Teams in April 2021.

In this article we will give a summary of these updates, but for full details we recommend checking out Microsoft’s blog here.

Some changes to Teams include:

  • Breakout room retention and participant reassignment

“Organizers can now reassign participants even when rooms are opened. Previously, you could only reassign when rooms were closed. Breakout room assignments also now persist over multiple sessions. These features are useful for efficiently managing discussions and ensuring the right participants are in each breakout.”

  • Invite-only meeting options

“A new meeting setting is now available in Teams meeting options that automatically sends those who were not originally invited by the organizer to the lobby. For example, if an invitee forwards a meeting invitation to a colleague, when that person tries to join, they’ll be directed to wait in the lobby until the host selects to admit them.”

  • Custom backgrounds are now available on iOS.

“Select from Microsoft provided backgrounds or one of your own directly from your iOS mobile device. Now you can make your video meetings more fun and personal while you’re on the go.”

  • App customization and branding

“With the app customization and branding capability, app developers are able to specify if they want to provide the option for their customers to customize the app. If the developers provide this option, admins are able to customize app properties like app name, descriptions, icons and more to deliver a branded app experience right within Teams.”

  • Out of Office Setting

“Let others know that you are not available by scheduling your Out of Office in Teams. During this time, your presence status changes to “Out of Office” and your status message is displayed when someone reaches out to you via chat. Additionally, your Outlook calendar and automatic replies are updated accordingly. Available for GCC.”

To view previous Microsoft Teams updates, please read our blogs:

  1. Microsoft Updates: Enhancing Virtual Work and Learning with Teams
  2. Microsoft Teams Update: New background options!

Teams is growing and changing to optimize your business! Based off our research, many businesses are not tracking or monitoring their Microsoft Teams usage, wasting money in the process. Our Smarter SaaS for Microsoft 365 Teams service helps your business optimize remote working and ensures an efficient, connected, employee network, all from the comfort of each home office. Additionally, Smarter SaaS for Microsoft 365 Teams aids in productivity, reduced employee stress, and optimizes ROI on home worker investments.

To learn more about how Smarter SaaS for Microsoft 365 Teams can improve your communication, collaboration, and usage, please sign up to our newsletter:

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