A new world of hybrid work with Microsoft 365 improvements

To successfully grow in this new hybrid world, every organisation needs what Microsoft refers to as a digital fabric that binds the business together with secure communication, collaboration, and creation. The aim is to enable flexibility and strengthen connections across departments and teams, but also smoothly extend to include customers, partners, and suppliers.

Here are some of the latest updates from Microsoft to enable such a platform.

– Collaboration: Microsoft are building Mesh right into Teams, recreating a lot of what people value about being together and extending productivity beyond what was previously possible. Mesh for Microsoft Teams introduces a new generation of 2D and 3D meetings, with personalised avatars and the use of AI to imitate movements and gestures that will enable people to bring their physical presence into the conversation.

– Teams meeting experience: Microsoft want to foster more inclusive and productive hybrid meetings. Users will be able to assign roles from the scheduling form and see the order of raised hands to ensure that all the voices are heard. The mobile overflow menu is also getting an update with a notification drawer for in-meeting system messages, so users can preview, collapse, and clear all notifications with one tap.

– Cross collaboration: Microsoft understands that for work to be carried out effectively in a hybrid world, it needs communication and collaboration with people both inside and outside a business. Updates to Microsoft Teams Connect will aim to remove barriers and make collaboration easier and more secure.

These will be rolled out through 2022 and will include:

Share a channel with individuals and teams across multiple organisations

Schedule a meeting and collaborate in real-time on apps

Share channels with up to 50 teams and as many organisations as you need

Enabling users to chat with team members outside the organisation with a Teams personal account

– Events: New webinars and broadcasting capabilities due to be rolled out this year will make it easy to set up and deliver professional experiences to internal and external audiences. The virtual green room will enable presenters to socialise, monitor chat, conduct Q&As, manage attendee settings, and share content before the event starts. For the events and hospitality industry, Cvent management platform is now integrated with Teams and later this year users will be able to use Cvent to manage the event lifecycle via Teams.

– A new all-in-one digital contact center solution: Powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Teams, this will bring together traditional contact center, unified communications, and customer service capabilities into one software as a service (SaaS) solution.

Windows is made for a hybrid working environment. There are many more updates and you can find out more on the Microsoft 365 latest blog post here. You can also speak to our team to see how we can help you find the right digital solutions to help you thrive in a hybrid world, and allow your team and your business to work smarter in 2022.

What’s new in Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 allows you to be productive from anywhere, at any time. Recently, Microsoft have introduced additional collaborative apps, a new Q&A app for Microsoft Teams, a new Communities app, and much more. We have summarised all the latest feature in this blog.

microsoft 365

Take notes and edit records right within Teams

Confluence Cloud by Atlassian was introduced to Teams, designed to enable more effective meetings where users can take notes with a Confluence notes panel inside a Teams meeting. This allows users to format notes such as action items, decisions, mentions, and tables. These notes are then formatted and automatically shared in a Teams channel.

Salesforce for Teams

Sales and service teams using Salesforce Sales Cloud or Service Cloud can now bring account data and records into their Teams workspace. Users can now pin Salesforce records to channels, chats, and calendar meetings to easily keep access to them.

Virtual health workflows for frontline healthcare workers

To help healthcare workers schedule and manage virtual appointments, Microsoft has introduced Microsoft Bookings with Microsoft Teams in all Microsoft 365 for frontline workers product licenses. This provides a low-cost licensing option for healthcare providers that are interested in using Teams to support virtual health and care team collaboration.

Q&As for Teams meeting

A new Q&A app has been introduced that enables attendees to ask and reply to questions before and during a meeting. Organisers and presenters can mark best answers, filter responses, moderate and dismiss questions, and pin posts. The Q&A app will be generally available in September.

Communities app in Teams and Outlook for web

The Communities app for Microsoft Teams is powered by Yammer, into Microsoft Teams. In the coming weeks, Microsoft are updating the app’s design, bringing enhancements to notifications and adding new capabilities like suggested communities, which will use AI to recommend valuable communities to join.

Microsoft wants you to take breaks

Research has shown that small breaks throughout the day make a big difference in employee wellbeing. Because of this, Microsoft are introducing new features in Outlook and Yammer to help ensure you can plan breaks as needed throughout your working day.

Pin messages at the top of your inbox

For a busy inbox, finding a specific email can be tedious and disruptive to your workflow. Microsoft have added the ability to pin a message, moving it to the top of your inbox so it’s easy to find later. Pinned messages is now generally available to all users in Outlook for the web, Mac, and mobile.

Additionally, message reminders in Outlook on the web help you stay on top of things by bringing messages you might have missed to the top of your inbox.

Microsoft wants you to be productive

Planner now supports suggested attachments in tasks. This means that, when you want to add attachments to a task, Planner will show you a list of related files for you to select from. To experience the new capability, within a task in Planner for the web, scroll down to the bottom of the task to find the Suggested attachments section and select Add next to the file you’d like to attach.

Create shapes in your diagrams in Visio for the web

Microsoft have added Draw Shape tool, enabling you to draw shapes, including rectangles, squares, lines, circles, and ellipses, at the size and location you prefer. To create a shape in your diagram from the Insert tab, select the Draw Shape drop-down, select the shape you want, click anywhere in the canvas, and then drag to draw the shape.

To find out more about the Microsoft packages available and how they can help you work smarter, simply contact our team on 0161 763 4529