Tackle Meeting Fatigue with MS Teams

With the working world of 2021 set to be a mix of remote and hybrid working, addressing remote working fatigue is becoming a focus for not just employers but also technology vendors. A leader in the space, Microsoft Teams has been continuously releasing updates to help improve user experience as they navigate changing working environments.

The author of this page: Brianna Bracken
Brianna Bracken, Marketing Assistant Jan 20, 2021

Finding ways to combat the fatigue brought on by remote working has become an ongoing challenge for employees and businesses. Employees continue to adjust their working habits to get the most from their day while technology vendors have worked to assess both the good and challenging parts of remote working so they can optimise their products to reflect this in a way that will help employees now and for work changes in the future.

Microsoft has regularly updated its leading video conferencing software, Microsoft Teams, to cater to the changing needs of its users. Over the previous few months, Microsoft Teams has released numerous updates to help combat meeting fatigue and improve the overall user work experience. Below are some of the new updates you may have missed that can help enhance your remote working day.

In October 2020, Microsoft Teams added the spotlight feature where an individual video feed can be pinned for all attendees to see during meetings. Once an individual is spotlighted, their video will the main one shown to all participants. This can help participants focus on one video rather than multiple windows.  Microsoft Teams also added speaker attribution to live captions so users can see who is speaking as well as what is being said making it easier to follow along in meetings.

In November 2020, Microsoft released Together Mode which reimagines the meeting experience by using AI technology to digitally put participants in a shared room with a selection of backgrounds available. Research so far on this feature indicates the brain requires less effort to participate using this feature rather than grid-view.  Teams also introduced an AI-noise suppression feature that analyses audio feed filtering out unwelcome noise retaining only the speech signal.

Updates from December 2020 included the welcomed addition of virtual breakout rooms which can be created in a team's meeting or team's channel. Organisers can divide the meetings into smaller groups to allow for brainstorming and discussions. Organisers can jump between breakout rooms and bring everyone back to the main meeting at any time. The meeting pre-join experience was also updated to allow for easier discovery of video, audio and device settings before joining. Microsoft Teams also added end-of-meeting notifications which notifies participants 5 minutes before the meeting is scheduled to end to help remind them to wrap up.

Newer and upcoming Microsoft Teams features will move to focus on wellbeing. The longer employees go without their commutes or daily office coffees with colleagues, the more it impacts on their wellbeing. Microsoft is now trying to bring back some of the much-missed elements of worker’s daily routines in a virtual way. With many employers already using Microsoft Teams to facilitate events like virtual coffee breaks or lunches, Microsoft is looking to build on this with a focus on wellbeing.

The first of the new updates to come to Teams for this is the personal productivity insights which give individual recommended actions, helping users to not necessarily work more but to work better and achieve a better week or work experience overall. Personal wellbeing features coming in 2021 include a virtual commute to help users mentally prepare for the workday better, reminders to schedule breaks to prevent burnout, and an emotional check-in experience. Microsoft has partnered with Headspace to bring a new experience of mindfulness and meditation to help users get in the correct flow of work.

Watch the video below for an overview of how the Microsoft Teams' Wellbeing Features will work;

Looking to drive maximum business value on your Microsoft Teams investment? Contact our specialists today.

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