Microsoft’s New Features for Teams Users: November 2020 Roundup 

The United States is ushering in a rather unusual holiday season. As families across the country crave a sense of normalcy more than ever, the COVID-19 virus is surging yet again. Many states and cities have ordered or are considering stricter pandemic protocols to reduce communal spread. Non-essential business restrictions may force office buildings to close once again and put socially distant in-person office experiments on hold indefinitely.

While news of the virus and its impact on the business landscape is dismaying, it highlights the reality of modern work needs. Remote work is here to stay, and to succeed in 21st century business, we need to adopt 21st century technology. Business owners cannot fumble through another year treating the remote work culture as a temporary “episode.” They have to prepare for the future, and preparations require investment. 

Fortunately for many traditional business owners, Microsoft Teams is a remote workplace ecosystem that keeps things simple while offering truly powerful capabilities. Reporting over 115 million daily users, Microsoft Teams continues to release new features and integrations to provide more value to businesses in every industry. 

In this article, we’ll highlight some of the new Microsoft Teams features released in November, and offer some practical ways Teams can boost the success of businesses that haven’t yet made the transition. 

Microsoft Teams Features Released in November 

While Microsoft Teams already integrated with over 700 services in the Microsoft Teams App Store, Microsoft has released an additional 20 powerful integrations just for use within Meetings. 

Previously, team leaders hosting meetings could use third-party apps by sharing their screen and controlling the app. Now, all users can interact with apps during meetings, enabling more active collaboration in real time, meetings that are closer to in-person brainstorming or group sessions, and more efficient use of time before, during, and after meetings. 

Among those integrations are popular project management services Asana and Jira, as well as Monday.com, SurveyMonkey, and more. For many kinds of teams, this is a real game-changer for intuitive remote collaboration. 

In addition to in-meeting integrations, Microsoft also released native Teams apps for their Power Platform: Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents are now all readily available and accessible to users right from their pinned Teams apps. Enabling users to create smart automations and applets right from their Teams homepage means less user friction. Line managers can create their own custom solutions that can boost the output or data intelligence of their team without the assistance of the IT department. 

In the same spirit of reducing friction and increasing access to all Microsoft tools within the Teams platform, the Microsoft Project and Microsoft Roadmap apps are also available natively, by any user instead of only supervisors and Teams admins. These apps enable all users to access native project management tools to track and assign tasks and responsibilities at a glance, discuss and chat about certain tasks and challenges right on the place where they’ve been assigned, and with Roadmaps, even oversee multiple projects from a mile-high view. 

Another efficiency-boosting feature that Microsoft is finalizing for release is the ability to quote and reply directly to a certain message in a longer, ongoing chat. While competitor chat app Slack offers threading to reply to a certain line of chat, the creative and gaming community favorite Discord has had the quote/reply feature for some time. Microsoft Teams users on the mobile platform have been able to take advantage of that convenience for some time now, so desktop users asked Microsoft developers for that feature as well. 

Making the Remote Experience Matter

If you’ve been trying to put off making any big business decisions all year, you likely now see that the reality of the pandemic will be following us into 2021; it’s just something we have to accept.  

You likely have hiring needs to fill in the upcoming year, and recruiting, hiring, and onboarding is difficult enough in normal times. Trying to manage all those business functions remotely adds an additional level of complexity and friction to the process. Microsoft Teams continues to release more and more features that make it a capable all-in-one ecosystem for remote workers and digital infrastructure.

When you onboard a group of new employees, less is more. The fewer new tech platforms your newest hires need to learn, the quicker they can get up to speed and contribute at their expected level. Using the Microsoft 365 environment to its fullest potential allows you to make onboarding and continuing education training easier as your employees build their familiarity with the Microsoft Teams platform. You can organize all your training materials within the Microsoft 365 environment using Sharepoint and Stream to provide your newest team members with a sense of understanding and confidence in locating answers to their questions and exploring their digital workspace. 

If you’ve been waiting to really embrace remote work solutions to see how the year and the pandemic played out, now is the best time to make the choice to utilize Microsoft for all that it has to offer. Contact Windows Management Experts today for a free Microsoft365 and Teams Roadmap session! Call us at (888) 307-0133 or email us to register for our next Windows365 webinar. 

Also check out this article: Transition to a Remote Office with Microsoft Teams

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