After two years of hybrid and remote work, data shows the office still matters for workers and managers. Business leaders will need to rethink both physical spaces and cultural norms to make office time worth the commute. This means being intentional about the who, why, and where of in-person gatherings and ensuring physical spaces are designed to help hybrid teams feel connected and engaged.
To help coordinate your office time with your team, Microsoft are updating Outlook to allow you to RSVP to meetings and note whether you plan to join in person or virtually. These new RSVP options will be available in public preview in Outlook on the web in the second quarter of 2022.
For those joining hybrid meetings from within a conference room, Microsoft are making it easier and less distracting to establish a personal presence with new enhancements to the companion device experience for Teams Rooms. Today, when you join a meeting in Teams Rooms with your personal device, your audio is automatically turned off to avoid feedback. Soon, you’ll be prompted to turn your laptop video on so you can be clearly seen by remote participants no matter where you are in the room. To avoid distractions, your video will be hidden from the front-of-room screen as well as from the gallery of people joining from companion devices in the room. These enhancements will be generally available in the second quarter of 2022.
To bridge the gap between digital and physical workspaces, Microsoft are introducing a new meeting layout for Teams Rooms called front row. Designed specifically for hybrid meetings, it brings the video gallery to eye level at the bottom of the screen so people in the meeting room can see remote colleagues in a more natural face-to-face interaction—similar to as if they were in the same physical space. Content is centered on the screen and surrounded by additional meeting information and attendee sentiment, including chat, raised hands, and live reactions. Front row is now available in preview, with enhanced features to follow later this year. Learn more about front row for Teams.
Remote team members now have a dynamic view of in-room interactions, thanks to the new AI-powered Microsoft Surface Hub 2 Smart Camera. Automatic framing technology within the device dynamically adjusts the view of the room, reframing when someone leaves, more people come in, or a person interacts with content on the display. Surface Hub 2 Smart Camera is now available. Learn more from our Devices blog.
Being seen and heard is essential to an inclusive meeting environment, as is being able to collaborate seamlessly. New touch-enabled display solutions for Teams Rooms from Neat and Yealink are in the process of being certified for Teams Rooms on Android and will be available in the second quarter of 2022. These devices combine audio, video, touch display, and compute in a single unit—allowing for easy deployment and enhanced collaboration experiences.
To read the full Microsoft blog post, click here.
For more information on how you can utilise Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 for hybrid working, contact us now to discuss your options.