The start of the year is one of the most exciting times for technology. As we roll into 2021, everything from cyber trucks to Microsoft Teams have plans for meaningful updates throughout the year. The surge we saw in Microsoft Teams adoption across the world in 2020 means Microsoft will have to continue working faster than ever to bring more exciting features to the platform. Here are a few of the features that coming to Teams in 2021.
1. Queue Sent Messages When Offline
Ever want to send a colleague an important note but you are temporarily offline, so it feels like a moot point to send them something knowing it will need to be resubmitted later (and worse yet, when you do get back online you forgot what you needed to tell them)? Well, this Microsoft Teams update should solve that exact problem. Teams will queue messages and automatically send them once a network connection is re-established.
However, please note: If the message is in an unsent state for more than 24 hours, the message will fail and the user will be prompted to resend or delete the it.
2. Updated Functionality for Participant Reports
For meeting organizers, panelists, virtual teachers, this is a big one. With new enhancements, Microsoft Teams will allow you to download the report after meetings within the Meeting Chat along with new data that allows you to better manage and analyse your attendance.
This will not only mean that you get the added convenience of getting these reports in the same window you had your presentation in for instant viewing, but there’s also more context. With this additional background knowledge and analysis, you can continue honing the presentations and events to keep improving and increasing audience engagement.
3. SharePoint Home Site App
Think SharePoint is falling by the wayside to Teams? Think again! With this home site app, you can bring your SharePoint intranet directly into Microsoft Teams. The app’s icon and name will match your company brand and enable employees to discover, navigate, and consume your organization’s top sites directly in Teams.
Along with that, the home site app gives employees a window into the rest of the company intranet by using the same global navigation as the SharePoint app bar. By integrating SharePoint’s visual capabilities into Teams, this will further strengthen the extensibility and usability of both platforms within your environment.
4. Chat Bubbles in Meetings
This might sound like something that already exists in Microsoft Teams meetings, but chat bubbles in this context specifically refer to “chats sent during a Teams meeting that will surface on the screens of all meeting participants, making the chat more central to the conversation.”
This feature is great from a communicative standpoint since comments and questions coming in from the chat window can be lost to the presenter(s) and will enable more engagement during meetings. It takes those emoji icons in social media live streams to a whole other level (think LinkedIn live streams)!
5. Out of Office Status
From a work-life balance standpoint, I believe having greater accessibility to updating your Out of Office status is important. Sometimes this minor deterrent can be just enough of a roadblock for end-users to not take some much-needed time off. It also makes it easier than ever to make sure colleagues are aware of your absence when you do take that time off and ensure there is no disjointedness between your Microsoft Teams status, Outlook calendar, and automatic replies.
6. Approvals in Teams
With Approvals in Microsoft Teams, users will be able to get their results faster when it comes to any project that requires such parameters. This seems to be in line with Microsoft bringing more project management capabilities to Microsoft Teams like TASKS. By being able to create, manage, share, and act on approvals directly with the app means collaboration will become streamlined and make project management easier than ever.
7. Access Files Offline on Mobile Devices
A feature akin to Apple Music’s Library download feature, the Microsoft Teams mobile app will allow users to access files even when they are offline or under bad network conditions. Simply select the files you need access to and Teams will keep a downloaded version to use in your mobile app. I personally love this feature as it’ll make it easier for tablet users like myself to work when traveling (when we can again) and further solidifies the ability to work from anywhere.
With all of these features coming to Microsoft Teams, from enhancing collaboration to integration with other great Microsoft 365 applications to mobile device usability, 2021 is looking very promising for Teams and the growing numbers of users coming to the platform! If there are any other features you are looking forward to or would like to see, please leave a comment below!