Microsoft Teams Is Adapting for Hybrid Meetings

New features add balance to remote and in-person meetings

A host of new features are being added to Microsoft Teams in order to make remote/in-person hybrid meetings more accessible and easier to manage.

Each of these new features is being developed with the goal of making hybrid meetings feel as close to a typical in-person gathering as possible. Remote and in-office team members will be able to interact and collaborate with their coworkers more effectively. New video conference layouts aim to make it easier for everyone to stay engaged and responsive.

Microsoft Teams new layout


Thursday's announcement on Microsoft 365 shows that Teams Rooms, Fluid, and Viva are the main focus of these updates. The most-touted addition to Teams Rooms, "front row," is a new meeting layout that organizes face cam videos horizontally along the bottom of the screen.

This places remote employees' feeds in a line, similar to how they would appear sitting across the table, with added room above for relevant information that can update in real-time with Fluid.

Fluid's big change is its reach is expanding to include Teams, OneNote, Outlook, and Whiteboard. This will allow team members to collaborate both synchronously and asynchronously across several Teams and Office apps. A new chat feature also will make it easier to stay organized when discussing different subjects by pinning messages to specific content.

Microsoft Teams Fluid components


A new "focus" mode will be added to Viva Insights later in the year, with the purpose of helping team members tackle important tasks and remember to take the occasional break. A combination of Focus music from the meditative Headspace service and custom times are meant to make working (and resting) easier to manage.

Microsoft has not yet announced specific dates for these changes, but it appears to be planning to roll them out throughout 2021.

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