Announcements And Features For Microsoft Teams That You Should Know

Over the past month or two, Microsoft has been rolling out new information, along with new features, for Teams. As well as being interesting, some of these have the potential to change the way Microsoft Teams is utilised within the work environment and change the way its users operate day-to-day. Across Collaboration, Community and Wellbeing – there is plenty to get stuck into. 

So, let’s do just that, starting with the collaborative aspects available in Microsoft Teams.

Enterprise cloud software provider for HR and Finance, Workday, has built an app for Teams with the aim of improving productivity and engagement. Whilst workday is providing the model, other ISVs could be deployed for similar results.

But what are they benefits of doing so? Well, Microsoft has highlighted 3 key benefits:

1) Support Natural Workflow

Workday for Teams, part of Workday Everywhere, integrates company software across digital workspaces. It streamlines tasks, provides on demand information access, and opens the opportunity to strengthen company culture and collaboration.

Workday for Microsoft Teams is easy to use and saves employees time because they’re able to access their information right within Teams without repeatedly switching between apps…The integration increases app usage, which means more employees experience the full value of Workday.

Indira Vidyaprakash, Senior Director of Workday Everywhere
(Microsoft Teams boosts productivity with collaborative apps | Microsoft 365 Blog)

2) Drive Usage

Workday can be pinned to the Teams taskbar, helping to increase engagement, not only with the app, but consequently the Teams platform. From here, it can provide a snapshot of tasks, personalised to each user. It can offer up quick actions and has an HR calendar integrated, making all users aware of who is off, upcoming holidays, and other events of note.

Workday Assistant uses natural language processing allowing users to discover information within Workday. Through chat, employees can request time off etc. And with a multitude oof quick actions, processes can become streamlined.

3) Utilise Analytics

Workday allows a full view of upcoming payslips within Teams, with easy access straight from the home tab. Beyond this, analytics can be used to individually tailor Workdays for the best user experience. Workday Assistant, through access to usage reports, can learn which features are performing well and configure Workday to optimise their use.

Microsoft is planning to develop Workday further within Teams with the app set to include “more robust functionality and a more interactive dashboard” in the near future.

Moving on to the Community announcements that have come from Microsoft recently, there is more to take interest in. 

Since launching communities in the free version of Teams, back in December last year, Microsoft has received plenty of feedback. From this has come another wave of new features around communities in Teams.  

As well as iOS and Android, it is now possible to collaborate with communities in Teams on Windows 11 devices. Community owners on Windows 11 can also: 

  • Create communities from scratch 
  • Share and invite members 
  • Create and host events 
  • Moderate content 
  • Get notified about activities 

Also arriving soon is support for communities in Teams for Windows 10, macOS devices and web. Support for Microsoft Designer (Preview) in Teams on Windows 11 has been announced, along with new camera functionality too.   

Features communities in Teams will be available to explore and join meaning that, on Windows 11, iOS, and Android, you will be able to join communities focused on specific topics that re of interest to you. Communities can be set as visible, making them discoverable on Teams for others.  

Microsoft are also enhancing community owner controls, meaning users can: 

  • Approve or reject join requests 
  • Assign owner controls to others 
  • Share posts as emails 
  • Create polls 

The final announcement around Teams’ new community features focuses on GroupMe, with it now being possible to create Teams Calls within GroupMe. 

As more feedback is gathered about these features from current users, Microsoft has said that it will look to add more to further improve the community Teams experience.  

Focusing on the prevalence of hybrid working post-pandemic, Microsoft enables users to add microbreaks to their working day through the Breakthru wellbeing app in Teams. Even just two-minute microbreaks are proven to boost productivity, focus and general wellbeing, so this interactive addition to Teams, created by movement experts, could be beneficial to many moving forward.  

Whilst not a brand-new feature, its potential importance and benefits are only becoming more relevant, so it makes sense to highlight it now. Breakthru currently reaches more than 45,000 organisations but could still do much more for many users.  

Being built on Microsoft Azure, Breakthru can analyse the data of when and how it is being used. This means that they can understand what features need developing to make it the most effective app possible. It also means there is a constant evolution to it so, even if you have tried the app previously, it may be worth pinning it to your taskbar once again.  

These will be interesting announcements to follow further as people begin to engage with and implement them. However, if you need help with Microsoft Teams in your business, or any wider elements of Microsoft 365, we can help.