Office 365 Tools

Microsoft Teams Updates continued: Meeting Inclusivity

By 18th July 2022 No Comments

This month, like the first part of our Microsoft Teams update, the importance for Teams lies in making sure all meetings are as effective and inclusive to as many people as possible.

Last year employees experienced a huge rise in the number of meetings after companies moved to remote working due to the pandemic. This increase, unfortunately, meant a rise in remote workers feeling left out or not included.

As such, hybrid meetings have now become routine. Whether or not those attending are all meeting in one space, the importance needs to be on encouraging a feeling of connection and association for both those joining in person or remotely. By transforming any meeting into an easy-to-manage, collective space, all will be able to cooperate completely.

Businesses must ensure that all meetings and calls are inclusive for all users, allowing everybody to contribute and participate. The following are a few of the ways that Microsoft Teams plans to help companies achieve this:

Allow live captions for meetings

Captions provide anyone who is hard of hearing or who has learning disabilities the option to view the meeting in a way that works for them. Live captions are managed through policies.

View transcripts through recorded meetings

With Microsoft Teams, businesses can allow their users to record meetings, which permits autogenerated transcriptions of the meeting’s discussion. Then the recordings are kept in SharePoint Online or Microsoft OneDrive for Business.

Once the meeting is over, the recording will be available for all attendees, who will obtain an email with the link to the video.

If a transcription has been made, any user with access to the recording can see the transcript when they re-watch the video.

Guest access

Guest access allows company teams to work with third parties outside the business by giving them access to current teams and channels in Microsoft Teams. Anybody with a personal or business email account can join as a guest in Microsoft Teams with complete access to team chats etc.

Minimise distractions in meetings

There may be a few users in a company that might find it hard to focus throughout video meetings due to light, sounds, and other interruptions taking place in the attendee’s background. Whether users choose to manage distractions in their environment or have issues with hearing, companies must make sure that users can contribute fully to a meeting whilst managing any disruptions.

Allow background effects

Microsoft Teams allows those who wish, to use background effects for calls and meetings. Whilst this is fun and allows each attendee to personalise their experience, it also means that the meetings become much more inclusive by allowing users to focus on the presenter rather than their background.

Allow background blur

The Background blur option supports increased focus and visibility when in calls or meetings.

Support noise suppression

Whatever the reason for background noise, due to a loud office, household noises, or noise from a street environment, background noise can be distracting, making it hard for some to focus on the speaker and understand the discussion. Now business users can facilitate noise suppression in Teams Settings.

Companies are looking to offer their users many more options, control, and flexibility so they can join meetings and work in the way they would prefer, and noise suppression is just one of them.

Aid team connection with Together mode

It has been proven that users often feel disengaged and more drained with the shift to remote working. This causes lower productivity and less idea involvement.

Business users can allow Together mode in a meeting by choosing this option once in the meeting.

Together mode from Microsoft Teams allows companies to support their staff’s well-being by lowering the sense of exhaustion that they may feel from joining meetings remotely. Early research by Microsoft has revealed that when attendees use the Together mode to take part, they use much less effort and can really concentrate on the other contributors’ faces and body language.

Support in-meeting chat

In–meeting chat presents users with a further way to contribute to the meeting. For those users with disabilities, they may actually prefer to use voice or sign language as a way to participate in the meeting. As the admin, businesses should urge those hosting to take frequent pauses in which they can check the chat window for any comments. Repeatedly, those presenting will move things along too quickly and will not pay attention to the chat window.

Utilize the latest updates from Microsoft Teams, making sure your business meetings are inclusive and effective as possible, and join other innovative companies concerned with upgrading their company and supporting and encouraging their employees. Get in touch with us today and see why using a reliable, trustworthy, and highly regarded Microsoft consultant will help your business and its staff on the journey to digital renovation. 

Sharon Sumner

Author Sharon Sumner

More posts by Sharon Sumner