Working Smarter with Microsoft 365

We can all host a decent video call, share our screens or co-edit documents in our sleep. But the Microsoft hybrid work toolkit includes so much more and if you’re not leveraging the latest productivity-boosting additions, you’re missing out! 

Here’s a few exciting additions to your Microsoft 365 arsenal both available now and coming soon.  

1) Using Microsoft 365 for Hybrid Meetings 

Microsoft is powering up the hybrid meeting experience with new Technology and capabilities. 

OUTLOOK 

  • Redesigned working hours in Outlook will allow people to set more flexible working hours each day and specify the location from where they plan to work (targeted release June 2022). 
  • New meeting RSVP: join in person or remotely (available Q2 2022) Meeting organisers can see who will be remote or in the office, and plan meeting room technology accordingly. 

MEETING ROOM TECH  

  • New meeting room intelligent cameras enhance the presence of those who aren’t in the room.  
  • AI powered active speaker tracking, in room cameras detect who is speaking with separate video streams.  
  • Profiles of enrolled users can be displayed with people recognition. 
  • “Companion mode” lets people in the room use their phones to access the chat, live reactions and the whiteboard. 
  • Apple CarPlay – join meetings hands free using Siri within the car 

TEAMS MEETINGS 

  • Turn off “mirror my video” – If you’re a presenter – especially a teacher –trying to lead discussions or lessons online, a mirrored background can be distracting. There is now the option to stop mirroring the image of your video preview.  
  • Turn off my video completely – Microsoft received a lot of feedback about people fatigued at seeing themselves so much in video meetings so we now have the option to allow others to see us but not see ourselves. Hooray!  
  • Video filters coming soon – Prepare to look 10 years younger as Teams introduces the ability to apply a soft focus and adjust brightness before, joining and during a Teams meeting.  

EFFECTIVE PRESENTATIONS 

 

  • PowerPoint Cameo – integrates your Teams camera feed into PowerPoint presentation (Available Second quarter 2022) 
  • PowerPoint Design ideas within will suggest where you should appear on screen for maximum impact. 
  • Teams Speaker coach gives you feedback on your pace and whether you are interrupting as well as reminders to check in with your audience during the meeting.  (Available “early 2022”) 

2) Better Collaboration with Microsoft 365 

Whiteboard has been around for a while but Microsoft have added many new features to make it more flexible and user-friendly. Even Zoom has a whiteboard now – it’s obviously a valuable tool for hybrid collaboration.  

 

MICROSOFT TEAMS 

  • Time zones – You can now see what time it is where your colleagues are. Hover on a person’s profile picture and see the time under ”Contact”. 
  • Pin a message in a Teams chat – Pin a specific message to the top of a chat. Currently, only a single message can be pinned at a time and any chat members can freely pin or unpin a message in the chat.  
  • Compact mode – Customise your chat density in Settings > General. It’s set to “Comfy mode” by default but you may prefer to see more on one screen, especially on mobile. 
  • Teams Connect – With shared channels, multiple organisations can work together in a shared space. Have conversations, schedule a meeting, share and co-author files and collaborate on apps without needing to switch tenants. (Currently in Preview mode) 
  • New & Improved Teams Search – We asked, Microsoft listened. Teams Search has a re-designed user interface with four tabs: All | Messages | People | Files.  Search uses AI to return relevant results – go on, give it a try! 

3) Microsoft Loop 

Microsoft Loop is an app that provides a powerful canvas for collaboration. It allows you to add content to a chat for your team to add ideas and feedback right inside the message. Everyone can edit and see changes instantly. Loop can be used in a Teams chat and will be able to be used in email, meetings, documents and Loop pages. 

Microsoft Loop will consist of three elements: Loop components, Loop pages and Loop workspaces.  

LOOP COMPONENTS 

  1. Bulleted list 
  2. Numbered list 
  3. Checklist 
  4. Paragraph 
  5. Table  
  6. Task list 

LOOP PAGES (Not yet released) 

Loop pages are canvases where you can organise your components and pull in other elements like files, links or data 

 

 

 

 

LOOP WORKSPACES (not yet released)

Shared spaces that allow you and your team to see and group everything important to your project. Multiple people can work at the same time from different apps.  

Loop components are automatically saved to your OneDrive – Name them well!

WHAT IS LOOP FOR? 

  • Brainstorming: Ask others to share their ideas using a bulleted or numbered list component. 
  • Co-authoring: Need to draft a social post or tricky client email? Everyone can contribute. 
  • Compiling data: Send out a table component with clearly labelled columns and rows to your team. In each cell, describe the data you need and @mention the person you believe can provide it.  
  • Organising events: You can also use a table for a simple sign-up sheet. 
  • Managing projects: Use the task list component to assign work with due dates. @mention people so they’re notified.   Each person can mark their task as done and it gets crossed off the list, right before your eyes! Quite gratifying. 
  • Focusing a discussion: Set up a “mini breakout room” using a Loop component to park a single topic or decision while the main chat thread covers wider ground. 

Microsoft Loop is in Microsoft Teams and the Browser now and will be coming to other Microsoft Applications later.  (Date TBD) 

4) Other Goodies 

SHAREPOINT 

  • Add a Taxonomy column from modern SharePoint library views. This is one of those features where you really see how Lists platform as the backbone to SharePoint document libraries. You will see a new managed metadata option as a column type within the Add column menu in SharePoint lists and now libraries.  
  • SharePoint Syntex: Content assemblyThe content lifecycle doesn’t end when you classify documents. Frequently, that first piece of content kickstarts the creation of a whole slew of new documents – often built from content that’s used in the original document. With Content Assembly, you can build that new contract, invoice, letter, or other document from existing data sources, or, by leveraging AI, you can turn your existing document into a template to be used for your business-specific needs. 
  • Create from the SharePoint app bar – Added to the Microsoft 365 roadmap early 2021, this new feature expands on current SharePoint app bar capability. Accessible on the left-hand side anywhere in SharePoint, users will have the ability to create sites, files, and lists as an action. Bringing together intranet resources and personalised content, with the new update, you can jump right into the content creation process and stay in the flow of work no matter where you are in SharePoint. (Targeted release mid-April 2022) 

VIVA TOPICS 

  • Viva Topics is your Organisational Dictionary! 
  • Automatically builds topic pages, topic cards and topic centres  
  • Topic cards summarise important info. They can appear in Teams or on SharePoint pages. Human experts then curate and refine – eg pinning a document to a topic page, adding additional topics and relationships. 
  • Experts associated with a topic are identified through their activity eg creating, editing and commenting on content. 
  • Then people can ask them questions and Viva Topics saves the responses 
  • Available now – $5.50 AUD / user / month 

This is but a selection of the many ongoing improvements within the Microsoft 365 suite – it’s almost impossible to keep on top of them. Do you need a Microsoft expert on your team? WebVine can provide Microsoft 365 consulting, optimisation and support, give us a call today!