Microsoft embraces hybrid work reality through Outlook, Teams updates

Microsoft is updating Outlook and Teams to make things a little easier for hybrid employees.

People around the world are still figuring out whether they will return to their offices, continue to work from home, or divide their work hours between those contexts. This means that a given company probably has some mix of people working virtually and in the office.

Outlook now acknowledges this reality with a new RSVP that allows people to say whether they plan to attend a meeting through Teams, which according to Microsoft now has more than 270 million users. are, or if they will participate in person.

“In our survey,” says Microsoft, “38% of hybrid employees say that their biggest challenge is knowing when and why to come to Office, while only 28% of companies have established team agreements about who comes from where. Will Work.”

The company is also bringing Loop components — which it describes as “a new way of thinking, creating, and making decisions together” — to Outlook; It started in teams in January.

“You can now brainstorm, complete action items, and get the latest status from your team without having to switch contexts or apps,” says Microsoft. “A single component can be updated at the same time whether you are in a team or in Outlook.”

Teams is also being updated with a feature called “Speaker Coach,” which “uses AI to privately provide guidance on your speed, notifying you if someone is interrupting you.” , and remind you to check in with your audience” as well as assign live interpreters during capacity meetings.

Microsoft says Teams will also get a new “inspiration library” that “turns insights into action with access to curated content and best practices from top sources.” Harvard Business Review and thrive.” Other features, such as Microsoft Whiteboard, will also reach more Teams users.

Microsoft Teams' New Front Row Feature

Teams has a new feature called “Front Row,” and Microsoft says it “brings the video gallery to the bottom of the screen at eye level so people in meeting rooms can see remote colleagues face-to-face in a more natural way.” . conversation – as if they were in the same physical space.”

Other changes include expanded availability of shared channels in Teams Connect, the combination of “cameo” and “recording studio” features in PowerPoint for better virtual meetings, and the introduction of the AI-powered Surface Hub 2 smart camera.

Microsoft also described “an intuitive way to integrate your users’ mobile identities with the collaboration and productivity of Microsoft Teams,” called Operator Connect Mobile, which it says offers “enterprise-grade connectivity, flexibility, network quality.” And a combined support model can provide that.”

The availability of these features varies. Microsoft says Front Row is now available as a preview and that the Loop components are now available in Outlook; New RSVPs for Outlook, speaker coach for teams, and PowerPoint features are due out in the second quarter.

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