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What does your new normal look like in meetings? If it’s anything like mine when everyone’s cams blink on then there’s a lot going on visually—a lot.

“At a time when people are conducting more virtual meetings than ever, our research has shown that many of us feel less connected since moving to remote work, and experience more fatigue during video meetings. Together mode is a new meeting experience in Teams that uses AI to digitally place participants in a shared background, making it feel like you’re sitting in the same room with everyone in the meeting or class.”

Microsoft Blog

Is this what your meetings look like?

Ryan likes taking calls on his patio, it’s like staring into the sun every time he talks and his video pops back to the top. Then there’s that guy from accounting with a backdrop of himself running a marathon (behind him running the meeting). Dave has superimposed himself onto the couch from The Simpsons while Amber sits in an empty office with blank, sterile white walls.

One of the marketers may or may not have been caught taking a Microsoft Teams call in the closet.

And my own custom background of choice makes me look like I’m sitting solo in an abandoned open office layout—probably somewhere in San Francisco—with the sunny building occasionally blurring out of existence when a dog jumps in my lap or Teams doesn’t register a messy bun.

Sound familiar? Maybe the amount of distraction is the reason why Twitter and pubs like Forbes are buzzing about Zoom fatigue. It’s a real condition.

People are getting tired of looking at screens constantly and burned out on the video conference calls that have turned into a rotating collage of homes, super-imposed backgrounds, and loud patterns. It’s a lot to process when you’re trying to cut through the visuals to listen, converse and you know, collaborate.

Sound or look familiar? Well, keep reading for some good news. 

Microsoft Teams has found a new way to bring your team together in a way that’s more cohesive, so you can make every moment count and stop wondering if that’s a coffee stain on Dave’s living room wall.

“It’s great for meetings in which multiple people will speak, such as brainstorms or roundtable discussions, because it makes it easier for participants to understand who is talking. “

-Microsoft Blog

Introducing Microsoft Teams Together Mode

This August the new feature is coming to Microsoft Teams. And grab a chair because that’s exactly what you’ll do, Microsoft is giving everyone in the meeting room a seat. Think college lecture hall.

Here’s a video preview from Microsoft, you can skip straight to 0:55 to witness Together Mode in all of its glory.

With the Together mode in Microsoft Teams, you can quiet your mind and listen to your colleagues. The background scene and disruption is instantly eliminated. Microsft surveyed users on what they refer to as designing a meeting space to alleviate the “cognitive” overload.

Half of the people Microsoft surveyed shared that they enjoyed having less going on in the background during the meeting.

The same Microsoft study found that video conference fatigue sets in after about half an hour. The new Microsoft Teams Together Mode is built to spark team interaction—you see yourself in the meeting room with the group—that means you’re more likely to respond, react, and stop scrolling through your inbox.

Not convinced? Microsoft has the brain scans to prove it.

“Together mode makes meetings more engaging by helping you focus on other people’s faces and body language and making it easier to pick up on the non-verbal cues that are so important to human interaction.”

Microsoft Blog

It’s Coming Soon, Next-Month Soon

Microsoft Teams Together Mode with its clean auditorium view is rolling out now and will be available for general consumption this August. Microsoft is dedicated to bringing more views to the feature in the future.

In the meantime, this might change the way we think about video conference calls and energize interactions between teams.

Make every meeting count.

Let’s talk.

Are you ready for Together Mode? MicroAge provides end-to-end services for Microsoft Teams, including implementations, managed environments, and training so your organization gets the most productivity possible.

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