In the new hybrid reality collaboration means working synchronously and asynchronously with people working physically apart and on different work schedules. This often creates challenges, with people navigating an overload of information, feeling left behind in the conversation, and working around the clock. So now, it is more important than ever to ensure our users have best in class tools that help them stay focused and in the flow, wherever and however they work.
We are excited to announce new chat and channels features that will help you and your team prioritize what matters most, express authentically, and collaborate more efficiently to achieve a higher level of productivity.
Channels reimagined: a more engaging, expressive and flexible workspace for teams
Channels are dedicated spaces for workgroups to brainstorm ideas, share information, stay in the know and get work done. As distributed teams become more of the norm, they need tools that are more agile, simple to use, expressive, and easily adaptable to fit with each team’s unique work environment. The new channel experience will feel more familiar making it easier to focus on key topics, engage with the right stakeholders and create a sense of belonging, so you and your team can accomplish more together.
Let’s take a closer look at the new experience:
- The compose box and recent posts will appear at the top of the page. So now, it’s much easier to start a new post, keep up with the latest conversations and participate – giving users the confidence that they’ve not missed anything.
- Every post is now a true conversation users can focus on. Users can navigate to a conversation view that makes the discussion more engaging and synchronous, just like a chat. Users can also pop out the post, keep an eye on the discussion, while continuing to work on other topics.
- Choose from a new range of post types such as announcements to highlight a milestone or a create personal touch with a video clip to recognize a team’s accomplishment. This will give users more efficient ways to engage with other channel members and be more expressive.
- Pin posts to make it easy for everyone to know what’s important in the channel and quickly reference it.
- A streamlined info pane will include all the important contextual information like channel’s members, pinned conversations and shared documents, so new team members can quickly on-board and for all members to find the information they need.
- Hashtags referencing Viva Topics will provide context right in the channel on organizational topics without having to ask anyone else.
- Customizable channel headers. Match the header with the organization’s brand or add a more personable image that reflects the team’s personality and vibe.
The new channel experience will be available in all channel types, including shared channels. Shared channels, generally available, enable you to collaborate securely with workgroups that include members inside and outside the organization.
Available in private preview by end of year.
Making chat simple, expressive, and fun
Chat is at the heart of teamwork, enabling fast communication and decision making for all types of teams. Today’s work environment has multiple distractions with teams that are spread out across time zones and locations. Adjusting to a hybrid work culture requires the adoption of new behaviors and tools that allow us to work effectively. We have been investing in new features that empower you to be more efficient and enable you to express yourself authentically and even have fun. Here is what’s included.
Stay focused and boost your efficiency
- Suggested replies in group chat: Instead of spending time typing a routine response to an incoming message, simply reply with one click by choosing a suggested response to your group chat. Suggested replies uses machine learning to generate responses that are most relevant to the conversation. Generally available in October.
- Recommended people when creating a new message: save time looking for the right stakeholders. Using AI, Teams chat will assist you to initiate new conversations by recommending colleagues, based on your previous collaborations. Generally available by the end of the year.
- Add people to a group chat with @mention: Add new participants to the chat with @mention, removing the need to navigate to the add-dialog. When adding a new participant, you can control how much of the chat history to share. Generally available by end of the year.
- Mention @everyone: Grab the attention of everyone in a chat quickly with @everyone. Everyone in the chat will receive a notification, removing the hassle of mentioning each person’s name one by one or missing someone. This ensures senders that a notification has been sent to the full chat audience and it helps recipients prioritize messages more efficiently. Private preview by the end of the year.
- Delete chat: organize and easily remove chat conversations you no longer need, without impacting other participants in the same chat conversation. Generally available by the end of the year.
Bring your personality to the virtual environment
- Expanded reactions: Express feedback more creatively with over 800 Teams emojis for every situation. Communicate reactions to celebrate, express your agreement or use a reaction to draw attention to a task list. Generally available in November.
- Video clip: Short, lightweight, rich video clips allow you to express yourself, deliver a more personal touch and strengthen your connections. Simply record, send and view a video clip in chat. The recipient of the video clip can easily reply with a chat message or a video clip of their own. Generally available in desktop and will be in public preview in mobile by end of the year.
Establish healthy work habits
With more people working from home and remotely, and in different time zones, it is proving to be challenging to plan your work week: coordinating around your colleagues’ work schedule, planning meeting or sending a message without disrupting their off hours. This can lead to an ‘always-on’ mindset. The following new features help build transparency and accomplish more without sacrificing your team’s work-life balance.
- Schedule send: similar to delaying the delivery of emails in Outlook, you can manually select the future date and time you would like a chat message to be delivered. Simply right click the send button to schedule send. Additionally, if this is outside the work hours of the recipient, you will automatically get a schedule send suggestions from Viva Insights. With just one click, users can send a chat message in confidence knowing the message can be delivered at the start of the recipient’s work hours. Schedule send will be generally available in November, and schedule send suggestions will be generally available by the end of the year.
- Work hours and location: Give your co-workers visibility by setting up your work location for the day. Now they’ll know which days you’ll be in the office or working from home, making it easier to coordinate in-person meetings. Whenever something comes up, update your plans in Outlook or Teams. Rest assured, any changes will be reflected in both Outlook, and Teams. Private preview by end of the year.