Joy and Prosperity Abound When We Gather ‘Round | Together Mode

Working from home is definitely not a new concept but the pandemic forced a lot of companies to shift their employee’s workspaces to their homes. This has come with many challenges for employers and their employees. One of the greatest challenges was how to conduct effective meetings. Meetings (virtual or in-person) were on the rise prior to COVID. Research by Harvard Business Review states that “executives spend an average 23 hours a week in [meetings].” Now we can debate about the value of meetings themselves, but the truth is we have shifted to more virtual meetings and less in person (for obvious reasons) and with it, we’ve taken away the tangible interpersonal relationship-building we experienced in live in-person meetings. Being in person is different, and this may be negatively affecting employees in ways we haven’t even realized.  Could Microsoft Teams Together Mode be the answer?

A study by Microsoft says, “…remote collaboration is more mentally challenging than in-person collaboration. Specifically, brainwave patterns associated with stress and overwork were much higher when collaborating remotely than in-person.” So, virtual meeting fatigue is a real thing. No wonder I feel so drained after my days attending meetings. 

To help address this Microsoft unveiled Together Mode as a feature for their Microsoft Teams application back in July and now it is generally available for most. 

“I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”  – Mother Teresa  


What is Together Mode?
 

Together Mode is a new meeting experience in Microsoft Teams that uses AI segmentation technology to display meeting attendants in a shared space. This makes it feel like you are sitting in the same place, TOGETHER. It unquestionably is a fresh approach to virtual meetings. I can virtually high-five or nudge the person sitting next to me. 

Teams Together Mode not only changed how we conduct meetings virtually but also provided a way for basketball fans to be part of games and cheer their teams on. See how the NBA used Microsoft Teams to conduct their 2019-2020 NBA season. 


How do you activate Teams Together Mode?
 

1. Go to your profile settings 


2. Make sure “Turn on new meeting experience (New meetings and calls will open in separate windows. Requires restarting Teams.)” is selected.

 

3. Now start or join a meeting 

4. Select the more menu (the three dots) in the meetings top bar.  

5. Now select Together Mode  


6. Make sure there are at least 5 people in the call to use Teams Together Mode.

7. You change scenes as well! 

a. Bottom left of your screen you can select “Change Scenes.” This brings up another panel where you can select any scene that you would like. 

Some things to keep in mind as you’re running meetings: 

  • Give your co-workers a little training on Teams Together Mode usage. 
  • Make sure everyone has their cameras on 
  • Ensure there is enough light in the room 
  • Make sure the camera is centered 
  • Face the webcam when speaking so you can make eye contact with everyone 

The future of remote work sure is shifting, and it has brought with it many benefits, opportunities, and challenges. How teams work together is fundamentally changing and as leaders, we must shift our mindsets to ensure the culture stays similar to the days when we met in person. There are things each of us do well and when we come together and combine our expertise, “we can do great things.” 

Are you and your team using Together Mode? Are you experiencing meeting fatigue? One of our PixelMill Teams experts would love to help you find ways to make your meetings more productive, let’s chat!  

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