18 Feb Have effective meeting experience using Microsoft Teams while working remotely
Have effective meeting experience using Microsoft Teams while working remotely
Working remotely is a new regular thing. Since early 2020, most organizations have allowed their employees to work from home, and now this is become a trend and going to be there for the long term. One thing that everyone is frequently using is online (virtual) meetings for their work and individual needs. To be more productive, virtual meeting needs to be more effective and straightforward. That’s where Microsoft Teams comes. Recently Microsoft announced that more than 75 million  people using Microsoft Teams as their hub for digital teamwork, including voice and video meetings.
Microsoft Teams delivers a wide range of features to help you make remote work and meetings more productive, collaborative, and enjoyable. This blog post will discuss a few remote working challenges and how you can use Microsoft Teams to overcome them. This article focuses on teams meeting best practices, encouraging meeting engagement and inclusivity, reducing meeting exhaustion, eliminating distractions, Teams audio, Teams meeting join options and video call quality and bandwidth requirement. Additionally, it provides some tips for virtual collaboration, brainstorming, and avoiding poor-quality experiences.
Everyone can’t attend every meeting because the number of meetings in a typical organization grows every day. Using Microsoft Teams chat helps people engage and participate. Great for quick comments, side conversations, or expressing thought in a large group without interrupting, the discussion provides a different way to communicate and stay engaged in real-time. So, use chat conversation wherever possible.
Using raise your hand features, meeting participants can let the speaker know they have a question without interrupting. Refer figure 1 with raise hand feature. To help people get most of the meetings, even if they can’t attend, use the Microsoft Teams recording and caption (Live) features. Recording can capture audio, video, and screen-sharing activities. That way content is available for playback and review later. So, nobody misses important information or decisions. To start recording, go to the meeting controls and select the “More option” button, then select start recording. Refer figure 1 to see start meeting recording option. When the recording starts, Microsoft Teams shows a notification to all participants on the Teams desktop, web, and mobile apps, as well as people who joined on the phone.
Figure 1, demonstrate the different control and features -available in Teams meeting, such as, this article provides you information on how you can use these features effectively to enhance your meeting experience remotely.
Figure 1, Teams meeting features and capabilities
During the meeting, whether recording or not, you can turn on live captions. This provides real-time captioning of the conversation to anyone who turns the feature on. Below is the list of capabilities available during the Teams meetings .
- Device setting – Allows to select or change audio/ video device setting.
- Call health – shows your network audio/video/sharing health data which help in troubleshooting issue.
- Meeting notes – use for in meeting note
- Meeting info – shows meeting join link & dial-in info, help to share instantly new attendees.
- Gallery – Gallery view enables you to see up to 9 participants on a Teams call together in a grid pattern.
- Large gallery- Large gallery view enables you to see from 10 to 49 participants with video enabled
- Together mode – Together mode is a way to see all meeting participants in a single view. Teams uses facial recognition to display participants images in a virtual background, such as a theater, classroom, or outdoor amphitheater. From 5 to 49 participants with video enabled.
- Gallery at top – Gallery at top
- Focus on content – It allows you to focus on the meeting content
- Full screen – Shows full screen.
- Call me – You can enter phone number and teams will call you in meeting.
- Apply background effects – you select and apply the background image or select “Blur”
- Turn on live captions – Teams can detect what’s said in a meeting and present real-time caption.
- Start recording – Allow to start meeting recording with audio/video and screen sharing content.
- Start transcription – The text appears alongside the meeting video or audio in real time.
- Don’t show chat bubble – this allows you to don’t show chat bubble
- Mute notifications – this turns off the meeting chat notification
- Turn of incoming video –
- Help – Teams help.
After the meeting when the recording is ready, it appears in the meeting chat for all participants to view. With automatic transcription enabled by your administrator, you can play back the recording with closed captions and search for important discussion or action items in the transcript. You need to know your meetings ate secure and compliant. The recording happens in the cloud and its saved to Microsoft Stream (OneDrive) the video streaming service included with your Microsoft 365 plan (formerly known as Office 365 plan). Microsoft Stream follows Microsoft 365 Tier-C compliance rules . With meeting recording and transcription in Microsoft Teams, you can help everyone stay informed and quickly find the information they need.
For times when you want to bring larger groups together, such as company-wide meetings, users can broadcast video and meeting content to large online audiences using Microsoft live events. Figure 2, shows after live event join experience.
Figure 2, Teams live event join experience.
Teams Live events are perfect for communications where the audiences participation is primarily to view the content shared by the host.
Reduce meeting exhaustion:
If you feel tired after a day of online meetings, you are not alone. Microsoft research  performed a study comparing brainwaves of people working in-person versus remotely. They found that remotely collaboration produces pattern associated with stress. Another study  showed that workers start to experience concentration fatigue after thirty to forty minutes of a video meeting. The goof news is, there are ways to help people stay productive and efficient when they are collaborating virtually. Simple changes such as limiting meeting times to 30 minutes or encouraging frequent breaks can make a big difference.
Microsoft Teams also has a number of ways to add color and fun to your meetings, while helping people efficiently get the information they need. For example, together mode digitally places all video call participants in a virtual space, such as an auditorium, meeting room or coffee bar, so they look like they are in the same place together. Early research  suggests this feature may make meetings less fatiguing by matching how the brain interprets social information.
Simple tool can also make a big difference. For example, encouraging teammates to use GIFs and emojis in chat brings a personal touch to discussions. You can find them right beneath the chat box. Refer figure 3 for both emojis and GIFs.
Figure 3, conversation with the emojis and GIFs.
Microsoft forms: Live polls make meetings more interactive and can simply decision making. Click Forms at the bottom of your Microsoft Teams Windows to create a poll. Sometime this command is behind the “more options” menu represented by three dots. You can add questions, send your poll, and see real-time results in your group conversation. Refer figure 4 for form use for poll.
Figure 4, Create poll using the forms.
Finally, its important to avoid information overload when sharing a digital workspace. For the same, Channels are a great way to do this. They are dedicated sections within a team that keep conversations organized by specific projects, disciplines, or topics. Your team can organize channels in the way that works best for them. For example, a sales unit working with Microsoft Teams might have channels for organizing the annual sales meeting, the quarterly business review, the monthly sales pipeline, and a group working on a sales playbook. Refer figure 5 for add channels.
Figure 5, Add a channel.
They might add channels for specific opportunities or initiatives, as well. If you want to limit participation in a channel to certain members of the team, you can make the channel Private. Refer figure 6 for creating private channel using the privacy dropdown.
Figure 6, private channel option.
With the right approach, virtual collaboration can be efficient and personal, without exhausting or stressing employees. So, they can focus on what matters most to their work.
We all know background movement and noise can be a distraction during virtual meetings. And no one wants to be the person with construction noise from outside or loud typing making the call harder to hear. Microsoft Teams now provides automatic, AI-powered noise reduction to filter out noise of all kinds, leaving only a clear speech signal. Noise suppression will also be made available for recorded content in Microsoft Stream. This feature is automatically applied to help provide a high-quality experience.
When working from home, many people want to keep their private space private. They may also want to help others focus by removing distractions. Virtual background is a great option. Microsoft Teams provides custom virtual background effects. When you join in meeting, you want people to focus on your contributions, not the dishes in the background. Background blur is one way to preserve privacy and focus attention. While you are setting up your video and audio before joining a meeting, select Background filters. Refer figure 7 for apply background effects.
Figure 7 shows apply background effects in Teams meeting.
It’s just to the right of the camera switch. Your background options will display on the right. Microsoft Teams uses AI to tell the difference between you and your background, so it’s easy and fast to start using custom backgrounds in your meetings. You can replace your background with one of the images provided, or with one of your own. To use your own image, choose “Add new” and then select the one you want to upload from your computer. Refer figure 8, for add new background images options.
Figure 8, for add new background image options
Virtual collaboration and brainstorming:
We are all used to collaborating in person. How can you duplicate the free flow of ideas in a virtual setting? Microsoft Teams provides tools for everyone to get on the same page. For example, its easy to share your screen in a meeting. Just select Share content in your meeting controls. You are in control of what you share. You can present your entire desktop, including notifications and other desktop activity. This is great for when you want to seamlessly share multiple windows. You can also choose to share one window and keep the rest of your screen to yourself. Refer figure 9
You can present a PowerPoint file, and even give others the ability to move through it at their own pace. If you want to sketch ideas with other meeting participants, you can use Microsoft Whiteboard, which lets meeting participants draw, sketch, and write together on a shared digital canvas.
Figure 9, Teams meeting content sharing option.
If you want another meeting participant to change a file, help you present, or demonstrate something, you can give control to them. you will both be in control of the sharing, and you can take control back any time. Refer figure 9 for content sharing options.
Sharing computer sound lets you stream audio from your computer to meeting participants. You can use it play a video or audio clip as part of presentation. The notes you take, along with your recordings and shared files, will be attached to the meeting and available later.
Content sharing is available without meeting as well, you don’t have to be in meeting to share screens. You can also share any time that you are chatting with people. Just click the share button in the upper right-hand corner of the chat window.
As far as the security aspect, you can trust that your audio, video, and application sharing streams are protected by encryption, to prevent anyone who’s not in the meeting from intercepting them. Files and data in Microsoft Teams are protected by the advanced security and compliance capabilities of Microsoft 365.
Teams administrators can configure screen sharing, to control whether people can share screens, apps files or whiteboards, and control whether external users can request control of a shared screen. With flexible screen and application-sharing options, Microsoft Teams meetings can include rich collaboration and real-time feedback, giving everyone the value of the entire team’s expertise, no matter where they are located. Whether your workers are in the office or remote or a combination of the two, Microsoft Teams helps people engage in meetings, reduce fatigue, eliminate distractions, and collaborate from wherever they are working.
Knowing your Call health help in avoiding poor audio/ video / Screen sharing experience:
Microsoft Teams is designed to give the good quality audio, video, and content sharing experience regardless of your network conditions. Despite that, when network bandwidth is insufficient, Teams prioritizes audio quality over video quality. Where bandwidth isn’t limited, Teams optimizes media quality, including high-fidelity audio, up to 1080p video resolution, and up to 30fps (frames per second) for video and content.
Teams is always conservative on bandwidth utilization and can deliver HD video quality in under 1.5Mbps and for good audio quality under 76 kbps. The actual bandwidth consumption in each audio/video call or meeting will vary based on several factors, such as video layout, video resolution, and video frames per second. When more bandwidth is available, quality and usage will increase to deliver the best experience.
Teams meeting have Call health using that user can view in Teams helps you identify and troubleshoot issues you might experience during a Teams meeting or call. In this view you will get information and statistics data on your network, audio, screen sharing, and outgoing video quality. These real-time metrics are updated every 15 seconds and are best used to troubleshoot issues that last for at least that long. To view your stats during a call or meeting, select More actions (…) icon at the top of the call window, and then select Call health near the top of the menu.
To have a good audio/video call quality your network matric must be under specified limit.
- Roundtrip time (meaning your system and the Teams Service) less than 200 ms Lower is better.
- Packet loss (its effect of a poor network connection) must be less than 2%. Lower is better.
- Teams send and receive data max limit is based network condition. Usually, audio 70 kbps and video are 1.5 mbps.
Teams meeting join options:
Microsoft Teams you can join anytime, anywhere, from any device. Teams meetings are best when you join them from the Teams app or Teams on the web, and there’s a bunch of ways to do that. Here is the list. such as joining by link, from your calendar, and more. If you can’t use the app or the web, some meetings let you call in using a phone number.
- Join by link – You join Teams meeting by click on join link.
- Join from calendar- You can meet right from the outlook or Teams client calendar.
- Join in a channel – If channel meeting the join from team channel.
- Join from chat – you can join meeting from chat conversation windows
- Call in – if cannot join using Teams app or web client the use call in option to let Teams dial your phone number to call in to meeting.
- Add a room while you join – you can add room while you join meeting.
- Better meeting with Teams retrieved from https://info.microsoft.com/ww-thankyou-teams-walkthrough-long-version.html?
- Change the way you collaborate you today with Microsoft Teams. ms/startcollaborating
- Teams Call health information retrieved from https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/monitor-call-and-meeting-quality-in-teams-7bb1747c-d91a-4fbb-84f6-ad3f48e73511?
- Teams security feature retrieved from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/security-compliance-overview
Microsoft Teams bandwidth requirements detail retrieved from https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/MicrosoftTeams/prepare-network#bandwidth-requirements