Everywhere you turn these days, you run into the term “hybrid office.” The hybrid office is a legacy of the pandemic and the transition to a more remote and flexible workforce.
Some employees work from home exclusively, others work from the office full time. Yet others split their time between remote work and in-office work. 63% of high-growth companies utilize a “productivity anywhere” hybrid work approach.
This new working style has its advantages and challenges. Keeping people connected so they can work together productively is one of the challenges. Another is how to meet virtually as effectively as when in person. Cybersecurity for remote employees is yet another big challenge of the hybrid office.
One of the companies that have been at the forefront of making “work from anywhere” work for everyone has been Microsoft. In recent years, it has been transforming MS Teams to be a one-stop virtual work hub. It has also introduced virtualization tools like Windows 365 and Microsoft Loop.
Microsoft 365 is one of the leading company cloud platforms in the world, and the support for hybrid offices is making it even more popular. Over 1.5 million companies around the world rely on Microsoft 365 for their business workflows.
What’s New for the M365 Hybrid Office?
Microsoft continues to evolve Microsoft 365 at a rapid pace, specifically to keep up with the demands of a team that’s working from home and office. Here are some of the ways that it has planned to continue bolstering the hybrid workforce this year, and into the future.
New Outlook RSVP Options
Meetings used to default to being in person. But since the pandemic, most meetings are virtual, with some being a mix of some attendees in-person and some attending virtually.
To keep up with this new reality, Microsoft is adding new RSVP options for meetings scheduled in Outlook. This will allow someone to indicate whether they are attending the meeting virtually or in person.
This update will be available in public preview during the second quarter of 2022.
New Collaboration Tool – Microsoft Loop
Out this summer will be a brand-new leap in the virtual working space called Microsoft Loop. This application is designed to connect people no matter where they are working with powerful and flexible “canvases” upon which they can build out ways they want to sync information and work together.
The app will include the following key components:
- Workspaces: Track what everyone is working on and see progress toward shared goals. Bring in other components so all information updates in real-time.
- Pages: These are like a co-authoring space, but are not relegated to a single type of app (like Word or Excel). Instead, you can use things like emojis, commenting, links, and files that are all brought into one collaborative canvas.
- Components: These are blocks of data or information that you bring into your Loop Page from other apps and sync across your platform. Components include things like lists, tables, notes, emails, sales opportunities from Dynamics 365, and much more.
Front Row in MS Teams
One of the ways that MS Teams is making virtual meetings more engaging is a new layout for Teams Rooms called front row. Front row brings the video gallery of faces to eye level at the bottom of the screen. This allows people in a meeting room to experience a more natural interaction with those attending virtually.
Instead of people hardly being able to see others in a tiny box on the screen when content is being shared, there is a face-to-face view that encourages more interaction.
Better Integration of PowerPoint and MS Teams
PowerPoint is a popular app for presenting materials during a meeting. But it can sometimes be awkward trying to fit your presentation on the screen and keep everyone engaged at the same time.
The integration of MS Teams and PowerPoint is being evolved. Not only can you use a mode to still access your presenter notes in PPT without having the audience see them, you’ll have a few more capabilities when working with these two apps together.
This includes a new Cameo feature that allows you to seamlessly integrate exactly where you want your video to appear on the screen when presenting. Would you like your face, but not background overlaid on the bottom right corner? No problem!
Another feature being added is Recording Studio which allows you to create professional-looking on-demand videos from right inside PowerPoint.
Cameo in PowerPoint & MS Teams
Mesh for Teams
The “metaverse” is coming to Microsoft Teams! Being released sometime this year is Mesh for Teams, which brings a virtual world element to your online meetings.
This will include 3D avatars that look like you and can be used instead of a live video feed or static photo. It also includes fully realized 3D environments with avatars for a meeting experience unlike any other.
Keep Up with the Latest in Microsoft 365
Quantum PC Services can help your Sturgeon Bay area business leverage all the capabilities of Microsoft 365 for business email, productivity, virtual meetings, and more.
Contact us today to set up a free consultation. Call 920-256-1214 or reach us online.