Teams Optimized Meeting Rooms for Hybrid Work


Teams Optimized Meeting Rooms for Hybrid Work  


How would you grade your company conference room? 
 

Hint: you need much more than four walls and a table.  

These days, it’s important to think about the people who are NOT in the room as much, if not more, than the people who are present. With remote and hybrid work the new norm, you need to account for everyone. Optimizing your meeting rooms for hybrid work means thinking ‘remote first’ to ensure everyone has a seat at the table. 

Microsoft recently announced new Teams features to improve the hybrid meeting experience. These upgrades married with the impressive Teams devices make creating an inclusive meeting room for all team membersno matter their locationa reality. After all, we all want to be in the room where it happens.  Thanks to some pretty cool new tech, you can be.  

Anyone who has ‘attended’ a physical meeting by ‘conferencing in’ in already knows the frustrations and limitations that come from not physically being in the room. You’re the voice in the ceiling at best, and you were certainly not equally represented in the conversation.  

Moving forward, this is no longer acceptable. 

The shift to hybrid work gives us a rare opportunity to impart what we’ve learned in the last year and implement real transformational change that can impact the business. To build a successful hybrid workplace, we have to think about the people not in the room first. 

Much like the mobile-first mentality of web design, workplace design must now be remote first.  As hybrid work continues, Microsoft is investing in ways to bridge the gap. Catch a glimpse into the future of Teams Optimized Meeting rooms in this quick video from Microsoft.  

We sat down our President and Co-founder to get the lowdown on his favorite Teams Optimized features and devices to help you level-up your meeting experience. 


Take a Front Row Seat

I really like the front row experience. I’ve not been a big fan of some of the new video formats, but I must admit, the front row view impressed me. It puts everyone at the bottom of the screen, bringing them eye level with those physically in the space.

Photo: Microsoft


Fluid helps hybrid teams through uncharted waters

New experiences powered by fluid are really bringing important innovation to the virtual meeting. 

With the refresh of Microsoft Whiteboard, users will be able to work together on a shared canvas in even more productive ways. With fluid, you can pull elements from other Microsoft tools like OneNote, Excel and PowerPoint, and manipulate them together, and the original content will also be updated in real time. 

For the hybrid workforce, add in the Surface Hub Pro, and the attendees in the physical meeting room can all work collectively with the remote team in tandem. 

Photo: Microsoft


Giving a voice to those who aren’t speaking

Inclusive features like live captions, live transcription, raise your hand, live reactions, and chat all help people follow along and offer opportunities to chime in nonverbally or without interrupting the speaker, making it easier for those not in the room to participate.


Hardware for the hybrid team

Maybe it’s as simple as providing company headsets and microphones to everyone. Or, maybe it’s investing in the game-changing Microsoft Surface Hub. When employees can see and hear one another, everyone feels equally included.  

Most of our conference rooms simply aren’t built for the hybrid team. As we’re returning to the office, it’s time to redesign and rebuild these spaces and when we do, we have to think about the remote user first. 

There are some really impressive Teams optimized devices out there right now that can transform your meeting space, but I’d take caution when building your physical plan. Don’t build your room too specifically around the technology so that as the hardware upgrades (that will come) will still fit into your new space.  

Intelligent speakers with the ability to attribute remarks from attendees in the transcript and cameras that track the speaker also ensure that those not physically in the room don’t miss a beat.  

Photo: Microsoft

If this all sounds appealing, but more than you want to manage, Microsoft is now offering full managed services to help you optimize your conference room for a hybrid team. 


The Silver Screen of The Meeting Room

There’s nothing quite like watching the latest blockbuster on the silver screen. The ‘larger than life’ visual ensures you can see facial expressions and important details, immersing you in the experience.  

The Microsoft Surface Hub attempts to bring this sensation to the meeting room. 

We recently chatted with one of our clients who is currently using the Surface Hub in one of their conference rooms to get her team’s first-hand experience with a Teams optimized device.  

For American Pacific Mortgage, the best conference room upgrade took the form of Microsoft’s Surface Hub. It’s an easy plug-and-play resource that instantly made meetings feel more inclusive. 

 

“So as everyone had the issue, we all went home. Our primary executive conference room was already outdated. So sent home in COVID pandemic, where we have half of our leadership who’s onsite and half of it is not, immediately became much more complicated. The antiquated technology in the room became a big problem come May of 2020.”

“So, I think it was June, we got connected with the trial program of a Surface Hub with Microsoft. They rent you one to test and try out. So we did that. We did that for two or three months, and it changed our leadership’s ability in the morning to have their daily meetings. And it made it much more personable for them. Anytime we now have a meeting in that room with them, they always say they want to see the faces. Because they could see everyone on the big screen. And you didn’t have to connect a laptop, or try and project, or do any of these other things. You just join the device right into the meeting. It immediately changed their lives.” – Stephanie Melilli, SharePoint & Digital Workspace Manager, American Pacific Mortgage 

To hear more about Stephanie’s experience, check out our webinar session, Don’t Go Back to Normal | Empower Hybrid Work with Microsoft 365. 

Is your team ready to empower your hybrid team? A Microsoft 365 expert would love to chat with you today! 

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