New Features in Teams

by Steve Vickerage | Jun 17, 2020, 14:36 PM


Image of Teams Screen

I have written a few articles recently about Microsoft Teams, given how prevalent it has quickly become with today’s “work from home” workforce. I am going to keep to this theme this month to bring attention to some new, cool, Teams features that have recently been released.

The roadmap for Teams is very active, always, but I have chosen a few features here that will actually make a notable difference in the user’s experience … my favourites if you will:

See more faces in your chat:  Teams has enabled up to nine video streams at a time in meetings as a 3x3 video grid. This is a major change from before, where you would only see active video from the last four people that have spoken in the chat. Microsoft announced in the Teams UserVoice, that they are “continuing work to increase this limit even further.”


Add a custom background
: Initially Teams introduced “Blur Background” which helps you hide your bedroom decor, or your kids passing by etc. Since then they have added some “stock images” you can use for your background. They have added options for a few clean, modern apartments, a beach, a locker-room, balloons etc. Now, you can upload an image of your own to use as your background in Teams video calls. My co-worker found an image of the interior of Cheers and used it as his background for our last call recently, which I enjoyed. You can be very creative with this feature but here is an example of a custom, corporate, background, as an example:

Image of Customized Team Background

End meeting button: (vs Hang up button). If you are the meeting organizer you can now choose to hit the “End meeting” button, to end the call for everyone, immediately. If you want to let others carry on with the call or meeting after you leave, you can choose the traditional, red “hang up” button instead.

Raise Hand: While in a meeting, select Raise your Hand in your control bar. This will place a gold hand icon on your video feed to let the rest of the attendees know that you'd like to speak.

Roll call: Meeting organizers can now take attendance during a meeting. To get your attendance report, select Show participants Show participants icon > Download attendee list. The report will download a CVS file that can be opened in Excel. The file will contain the name, join time, and leave time of meeting attendees.

Teams “templates”: Internally, we normally choose to create custom Teams and channels for projects, for example, but there are common needs/channels they all use, typically. Now you can “choose from common business scenarios, like event management and crisis response, as well as industry-specific templates, like a hospital ward or bank branch. Each template comes with pre-defined channels, apps, and guidance," said By Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365. (2) Admins in larger organizations will be able to create new custom templates and templatize existing teams in their organization, allowing them to standardize team structures, surface relevant apps, and scale best practices.

See here for more Teams developments, recent and upcoming. Many Microsoft 365 licenses come with Teams baked in, as a value-add productivity tool, but feel free to call us if you have any questions about Teams, or your Microsoft 365 licensing.

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