Microsoft Announces New Hybrid Work Features for Outlook
Microsoft just kicked off its Ignite 2022 conference this morning, where Microsoft 365 CVP Jared Spataro announced some important updates for Microsoft 365 apps and services. The company has unveiled a “working hours and location” feature coming to Outlook and Teams to help users schedule in-person meetings.
“The new working hours and location feature will allow users to organize their week to let teammates know what hours they’ll be available and where they’ll be working, so they can plan meetings better. Additionally, if a sudden change comes up during their day people have the flexibility to easily change their location for only that day from Microsoft Teams, Outlook desktop or Teams mobile without impacting the rest of their week,” Microsoft explained.
Microsoft Outlook is getting a meeting recap feature that will enable employees to easily catch up on important information they might have missed. With this release, Outlook users will be able to access the meeting recordings directly from the calendar event. Microsoft Outlook is also getting support for message reactions.
Microsoft is also adding a new feature to Outlook and Teams to let users choose a specific time to send an email or chat message. Moreover, Outlook on the web is getting new Context IQ-powered capabilities that will allow employees to use @mentions to surface relevant people and documents in the emails based on the context. Microsoft plans to release the aforementioned feature by the end of this year.
Microsoft has also announced that Outlook for Mac is getting support for focused profiles and Apple’s focus filters. The focused profile feature will let users configure specific settings to reduce distractions while working on important tasks. These focused profile settings will be applicable to associated accounts, notifications, themes, and appearance.
Microsoft Places helps to keep track of hybrid teams
Last but not least, Microsoft has announced a new workplace app dubbed “Microsoft Places.” The app is designed to help organizations optimize physical spaces for this new hybrid work era, and it will be available in public preview in the coming months.
“Microsoft Places helps everyone understand who will be in the office when; where people are sitting; what meetings to attend in person; and how to book space on the days your team is already planning to come in. It also helps leaders understand how people are using the office, and ultimately optimize their real estate investments,” Spataro added.
The Microsoft Places app will provide an overview of the weekdays when employees will be working in the office. Managers will also be able to see a presence indicator to show the physical location of the employee. Microsoft Places will also let users view booked spaces and schedule travel time.
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