1200px Microsoft Office Teams 2018–present.svgThe unprecedented outbreak of COVID 19 has hurled us into living and working conditions like never before. With no clear sign of a vaccine, and companies and schools still working remotely, Microsoft Teams has stepped in to make remote working and schooling easier.

In an incredibly quick turnaround and with dynamic adaptability, Microsoft Teams is playing a significant role in helping us cope with these testing adjustments to our everyday work and home life – keeping us connected through video meetings, calls, and chats.

Introducing new meetings capabilities, IT administration controls and more, to enhance the customer experience – Microsoft has risen to the challenges of our times and delivered cutting edge solutions, with impeccable timing.

Here are a just a few of the updates currently streamlining our COVID 19 ‘remote-life’ experience;

1. Bigger groups are now possible in Meetings & Calling

With human contact and office ‘team spirit’ a temporary thing of the past, virtual face to face meetings have become the norm for remote working.

Without the energy of a board meeting or collective buzz of a team brainstorm or the patience and knowledge of a mentor one on one – now more than ever it’s important to feel connected to your team.

In response to this, Microsoft is increasing the number of viewable participants on the Teams meeting stage from 4 to 9. That’s quite a leap.

The layout will adjust, based on the user bandwidth and modify the number of videos displayed to provide the optimum meeting experience. This new experience optimises for attendees who have enabled video and puts the audio-only participants below the meeting stage.


2.The ‘Raise Hands’ feature

For those struggling for airtime in a meeting – the new “raise hands” feature allows participants to alert the team that they wish to speak. This feature makes it easier for everyone to engage in large meetings

The feature even prioritises who raised their hand first, offering a clear participant list. With a visual cue on the attendee—this feature makes it crystal clear when someone wishes to speak.


3.Teams meetings for remote education

In rapid response to school closures, educators can connect with students and offer support and learning by utilising Microsoft Teams meetings for class sessions.

Microsoft offered helpful guidance on maximising learning capabilities and upholding student safety in Teams meetings in their recent announcement.

4. Increased event capacity through Microsoft 365 Live Event

To assist customers in meeting a rapidly evolving wave of communication needs; Microsoft 365 live events will provisionally up default limits until July 1, 2020, for live events hosted in Teams, Stream, and Yammer.

Now available is an extended attendee limit, with events supporting up to 20,000 attendees. Also, 50 functions can be hosted together across a tenant. Moreover, event length increases to 16 hours per broadcast.

5. Audio sharing in Teams live events

Share system audio in live events, allows your attendees to hear the audio of the content you’re sharing, separate to your microphone sound. Working like ‘share system audio’ in Teams meetings – this feature is perfect for sharing audio and video experiences with your group.

6. Background effects improvements

An absolute lifesaver for anyone working out of a messy shoe cupboard or from a kitchen table shared with five children, Microsoft’s ever-evolving background effects place the focus on you, rather than your background.

Enhancing the popular ‘video background blur’ feature in Teams meetings with background effects; the upgraded feature also allows meeting-goers to customise their background from a list of pre-selected images. Perfect for anyone who’s ever dreamt of working from a tropical beach paradise, or a space station. This feature is now also available for iOS.

7. Live captions widely available

Whether you’re connecting from a noisy location, or you’re hard of hearing, or your team have varying levels of language skill, live captions work like subtitles for your meeting. This feature allows meeting members to follow along and read what is said. This feature is available in English, on iOS and Android mobile devices.


From lowering carbon emissions through fewer cars on the road to improving morale and cutting business overheads – there’s something to be said for remote working. And with ever-increasing enhancements in virtual meetings and content sharing; perhaps it will become the norm for companies in the not so distant future.

More details on these innovative Teams features are available in Microsoft’s April announcement.