Microsoft is one of the biggest companies leading the way to the future of hybrid work. The company discovered in recent years that since the pandemic, more people have embraced “hybrid” as the ideal working structure for their future. This means balancing work between remote and in-office locations.
While hybrid work strategies have a lot of benefits to offer, companies can only thrive with these environments if people are still able to collaborate and communicate efficiently. This means bridging the gap between employees, wherever they are.
At the heart of the hybrid work environment for Microsoft, is the hybrid meeting – an environment where the in-office and remote workplace can join forces to collaborate and share ideas effectively. From a remote perspective, team members outside of the office can join these meetings through the click of a button on their desktop or on their smartphone screen. In the office, the hybrid meeting can be enabled and enhanced by the use of Microsoft Teams Rooms.
Here’s how Microsoft is changing the world of meetings for the hybrid workforce.
How Microsoft Teams Meeting Rooms Enable Hybrid Work
Meeting Rooms built by Microsoft in collaboration with a host of market-leading partners like Poly, Neat, Jabra, and Yealink are created to be as easy-to-use and intelligent as possible. Not only is the hardware available for the Meeting room created to be plug-and-play accessible, but it integrates perfectly with the features of the Teams software too.
For instance, intelligent cameras in the Microsoft Teams Meeting Room can pair with features within Teams like People recognition, which automatically identifies the individuals in a meeting space and displays profile information on Teams for viewers to check. There’s also Dynamic View, which allows the Teams software to automatically adjust the layout of the meeting as remote and in-person participants join.
According to Microsoft, excellent hybrid meetings start with the “ABC” practices of good communications between different workforces. These practices include:
- Audio quality: Ensuring everyone has access to a high-quality speaker system capable of blocking out background noise and improving audio clarity.
- Bring your own devices: The ability to access a hybrid meeting from any device, whether it’s a laptop or smartphone, is becoming increasingly essential, Microsoft even introduced a new “companion mode” feature for Teams so people in the office environment and in the remote landscape can interact with the content in a meeting via their smartphone.
- Collaborate: Solutions should be enabled in a meeting to ensure everyone can get involved in the meeting. This involves making sure everyone can share content, raise their hands to speak in a conversation, or even just share their feelings about something.
By working with state-of-the-art partners in Microsoft Teams Rooms development, Microsoft can serve these “ABCs”, while simultaneously investing in disruptive new ways to upgrade the meeting environment.
Building Meeting Rooms for Hybrid Work
As hybrid working strategies grow increasingly popular on a global scale, Microsoft’s investments in the Microsoft Teams Rooms environment have continued to evolve. Today, just some of the ways Microsoft Rooms are enabling hybrid work are with features like:
- New content layouts designed to bring video feeds of remote participants into eye level with the rest of the in-office team. This helps to recreate the eye contact often missing in video conversations with other solutions
- Fluid components, so meeting attendees can co-create notes, agendas, and tasks with live, connected experience, edited, and shared across Teams and Office apps. Live chat is also constantly visible to all users to ensure ongoing inclusivity
- New presenter modes integrated with PowerPoint to deliver a more natural viewing experience. For instance, users can now choose how to position their camera feed in a meeting to create the most organic and human experience
- Nonverbal communication options for remote and hybrid workers enabled by gestures. Users can send emojis to share a response to something shared or said, so everyone can keep track of the sentiment of employees
- AI-powered speakers and cameras to help in-room attendees connect with other employees on a deeper level. Intelligent cameras can zoom in on speakers automatically, while intelligent speakers allow for things like transcriptions in meetings
- Digital whiteboards deeply integrated into Microsoft Teams to create a full-fidelity shared brainstorming session for remote and in-person teams
Microsoft says that delivering the best hybrid meeting environments means creating spaces that avoid the risk of in-person attendees becoming “anonymous” faces in space, and remote attendees becoming mute participants in meetings.
Plug and Play Meeting Room Technology
For Microsoft, the best strategy for hybrid work is one built around the goal of breaking down the boundaries between in-office and remote employees.
At the same time, for hybrid work to be as effective as possible, Microsoft believes the technology we use needs to be as seamless and simple as possible. This is why the company chose to introduce intelligent facial and person recognition for Teams Meeting rooms, so the room can automatically surface the personal settings of a user as soon as they walk into a room, without the need for a professional set-up.
Microsoft Teams Rooms are designed to be as flexible and accessible as possible. Companies can integrate existing tools and software into their meeting room environments to make them more appealing to specific team setups. At the same time, Microsoft is going beyond the basics of standard meeting room hardware, by thinking about how technology can improve the connections between human beings.
Teams’ approach to hybrid work technology considers everything from body language to eye contact in ensuring messages are passed between team members as effectively as possible. Moving forward, Microsoft says the aim for a strong hybrid workplace should be not just about including remote people more often but making meetings more effective and inclusive on a foundational level.
Millions of people around the world are now working in a flexible environment where they need to interact with their peers wherever they are, without compromising on things like content sharing and collaboration features. With Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Teams Rooms, companies can both enable the sharing of ideas, and make people feel more connected on a human level.
This Article was first published by UC Today.