Did you know that virtual conversations, presentations, and meetings tax our brains much more than in-person interactions because they require higher levels of sustained concentration?
When we are meeting online we are concentrating on the other speakers, their surroundings, and how our hair looks on the webcam!
Research has shown that fatigue begins to set in 30-40 minutes into a virtual meeting.
The good news is that there is a cure for virtual meeting fatigue. Microsoft recommends:
- Take regular breaks every two hours to let your brain recharge.
- Limit meetings to 30 minutes.
- Punctuate longer meetings with small breaks.
In addition to this advice, Microsoft is introducing a range of new features to Teams to make meetings less fatiguing and more productive. In this blog, we list our top 8 new features coming to Microsoft Teams in 2020, all designed to improve your virtual meeting experience.
1. Large Gallery View and Breakout Rooms
Microsoft is expanding the Teams gallery view for video calls to 49 visible participants, from the current maximum of nine. They call it the “Large Gallery View”. This addition will bring Teams to parity with the popular Zoom videoconferencing app.
Excitingly virtual breakout rooms, which allow meeting organisers to split meeting participants into smaller groups for things like brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions, aren’t far away either.
2. Together Mode:
Microsoft Teams will now have a new meeting experience that uses AI technology to digitally place participants in a shared background, making it feel like they are in the same room with everyone else in the meeting. While it looks a bit “gimmicky” it is designed to make meetings more engaging and helps users pick up on non-verbal cues. Together Mode “auditorium” with should be available in August with others coming shortly after.
3. Dynamic Mode and new interactive meeting features
While Together mode is unique and has its a place for large team meetings, traditional video meetings will likely still be the bulk of online interactions using Microsoft Teams. As such Microsoft has enhanced the standard video meeting environment and called it Dynamic View. Dynamic View gives you more control over how you see shared content and other participants in a meeting. Using AI, meetings dynamically optimise shared content and video participants.
Dynamic view also gives you new controls—including the ability to show shared content and specific participants side-by-side—let you personalise the view to suit your preferences and needs.
4. Video Filters
Want to look your best? Before joining a meeting, you can now use filters to adjust lighting levels and even soften the focus of the camera!
5. Real-Time Noise Suppression
We’ve all been in a remote meeting when a participant is loudly typing on their keyboard, crunching on chips, or someone is sitting near a vacuum running in the background. Real-time noise suppression helps to minimise distracting background noise, allowing you to hear what’s being said.
6. Chat bubbles
During meetings, chat has become a lively space for conversation and idea-sharing and offers an option for people to participate in the discussion without having to jump in verbally. But it can be challenging to pay attention to video feeds, presentations, and chats all at the same time. Currently, Teams users need to manually open a chat window to view the chat screen. Soon, however, chats sent during a Teams meeting will surface on the screens of all meeting participants, making the chat more central to the conversation.
7. Speaker attribution and translation
With speaker attribution, everyone knows who is speaking. Live transcripts and translations, provide a way to follow what has been said in more than one language. This feature is due to be rolled out later this year.
8. Microsoft Whiteboard updates
Whiteboard in Microsoft Teams will soon be updated with new features including faster load times, sticky notes, text, and drag-and-drop capabilities. These will enable team members without access to a touchscreen to participate in whiteboarding sessions.
We’re passionate about Microsoft Teams, if you’d like to discuss how Microsoft 365 and Teams can support your move to hybrid working, we’d love to talk with you.