Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams

Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft has said Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams will finally be rolled out to all users during November 2020.

Breakout rooms let video call participants create separate ‘rooms’ for private discussion, before being brought back together into the main call. The meeting’s organisers or hosts can move between breakout rooms and even send messages to all participants.

Breakout rooms – a most-requested feature

Microsoft has taken its time rolling out breakout rooms. This is despite it frequently being used as an excuse for businesses to use competing video calling tools, like Zoom. The feature has been present in those apps for years, so it’s no surprise that it quickly became one of the most-requested features in Teams, even before so many of us moved to remote working. A request for the feature on Microsoft’s Feedback Forum, started two years ago, quickly gained more than 18,000 votes from users.

Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams
Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams

Breakout sessions will be enabled at the same time as Microsoft plans to drastically increase the number of participants you can have on a call. The limit of active participants is going to be raised from 300 to a massive 1,000, while ‘view-only’ participants in Teams Live Events will be doubled, from 10,000 to 20,000.

And with the introduction of a larger 7×7 video grid, you will be able to see up to 49 people at once on your call, rather than nine on the current 3×3 grid.

Assigning users to breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams
Assigning users to breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams

Set up Breakout Rooms in Microsoft Teams

In order to use breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams, your tenant administrator will need to enable certain settings to allow users access to the feature. The features that must be enabled are:

  • Scheduling private meetings
  • Meet now in private meeting
  • Channel meeting scheduling
  • Meet now in channels

With these features enabled, users can now use breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams. All users who want to participate must switch to what Microsoft calls the ‘new meeting experience’. To ensure you have access to breakout rooms, in the Teams app, click your profile image, then ‘Settings’, and ensure ‘Turn on new meeting experience’ is selected. If it wasn’t already selected, you may need to restart Teams before it takes effect.

You can be certain that Teams is set up correctly with the new meeting experience if your meetings open in their own, separate, windows.

Once you’re in a meeting, it’s easy for meeting organisers to create breakout rooms. Look next to the ‘raise hand’ icon and you’ll see a new icon for breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams. Note that participants in the meeting who aren’t meeting organisers won’t see the option. Also note that you can only create breakout rooms on the desktop Teams app – it’s not yet possible to do from an iOS or Android mobile or tablet device.

Starting a Breakout Session in Microsoft Teams
Starting a Breakout Session in Microsoft Teams

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Introducing the New Yammer

A new-look Yammer with some useful new features is rolling out now. CompanyNet’s subject matter expert James Mackerness takes a look at what’s new.

Meet the New Yammer
Meet the New Yammer

The long-awaited new user experience for Yammer is rolling out worldwide right now. It’s the same Yammer functionality you already know and love, but with a fresh coat of paint to bring it up to a modern standard.

New Yammer, new features

Composing a message in the new Yammer

It brings a couple of changes that bring it into line with the ‘best practice’ role that Yammer should have in your organisation:

  • It’s cleaner and slicker, with praise, announcements, polls, and Q&A posts all looking visually distinct.
  • Posts can be pinned, and there’s also a new AI-based discovery feed which should help with engagement.
  • Groups have been renamed to Communities, and are now pinnable by each user.

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Migrating data to Office 365 – your options

As CompanyNet’s migration subject matter expert Stuart McLaughlin explains, there are now more options than ever for migrating your data to Office 365.

Migration to Office 365
Migrate to Office 365

Leveraging Office 365 Cloud Storage

For companies who are adopting Microsoft Office 365, one of the typical activities is to migrate their ‘on premise’ data from local file stores to the cloud.

Office 365 provides a large volume of storage as part of the subscription.  This is currently 1TB (as a minimum) for SharePoint Online in addition to licensed user’s OneDrive allocation.

Reducing the cost of ownership by removing file share infrastructure or additional cloud storage subscriptions is a key benefit.  Other benefits can be realised however, whether improving collaboration and secure sharing with third parties, or using the security and compliance features for information management and oversight.

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What’s New in Office 365 – August 2020

Find out what’s new and changing across SharePoint, OneDrive and the rest of Office 365 in August 2020. This month Microsoft are introducing an ‘evolution’ of SharePoint lists – Microsoft Lists – which offers a fantastic new way to organise and visualise lists. We also look at two upcoming product retirements – Skype for Business …

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Default page templates in SharePoint Online

SharePoint site owners will be able to set a default page template for editors adding new and content to a site. They’ll also be able to edit and delete templates from the Template Picker, rather than having to navigate to the templates folder for these actions. Why does this change matter? If you’re already using …

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Move a shared file on OneDrive

You’ll soon have the option to easily continue sharing files when you move them within or between OneDrive and SharePoint.

Reorganise without worrying about previously shared links

Move previously-shared files in OneDrive

Moving and reorganising files is a normal occurrence as we work and projects evolve over time, and we find better ways of organising our files.

Sharing files within Office 365 is helps prevent duplicates and different versions of the same file floating around. Until now, moving files would typically break the existing share links.

Soon you will have the option to easily re-share files with your colleagues by simply clicking a check-box when you move your files. They will receive the updated link with the same permissions they previously had.

This feature will be rolling out from mid-August 2020 and is expected to be completely rolled out by the end of September 2020.

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Retirement of SharePoint 2010 workflows: Don’t panic!

On 6 July 2020, Microsoft announced the retirement of SharePoint 2010 Workflows within Office 365. This is part of Microsoft’s drive towards encouraging use of Power Automate, part of the Microsoft Power Platform, which lets you connect Microsoft 365 services together (as well as many popular third-party services).

So what does this mean for people still using SharePoint 2010 workflows? Well, from 1 August 2020, no newly-created tenants will have SharePoint 2010 workflows switched on. So, if you had been planning to move any SharePoint 2010 workflows to a new tenant, as of now that won’t be possible.

Clock ticking on SharePoint 2010 workflows

For those who already have SharePoint 2010 workflows created within an existing tenant, you have until 1 November 2020 to recreate these workflows within Power Automate.

From the start of November, Microsoft will begin to remove the ability to run or create new SharePoint 2010 workflows. This suggests that, while you can’t run the existing workflows, they will still be accessible. Exactly for how long, though, we don’t know.

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Time’s running out: Move from Skype to Teams now

With less than 12 months to go until Microsoft retires Skype for Business, we look at the options for migrating your users to the ‘new world’.

Time’s running out! Move from Skype to Teams now

The clock is ticking. Microsoft will be ending Skype for Business support on 31st July 2021. To avoid this change impacting your day-to-day business, you must move all your users to Microsoft Teams by then.

Islands mode

With many organisations shifting to remote working in recent months, a great number have been forced to roll out Microsoft Teams to enable users to collaborate and communicate online. For those who were already using Skype for Business Online, enabling Teams didn’t impact the functionality of Skype. Instead, the two services continue to coexist in what’s called ‘islands mode’.

Islands is the default way for Teams and Skype to coexist, and lets users use both apps simultaneously. From Microsoft’s point of view, this is ideal, as Teams can be switched on without an organisation needing to prepare for an immediate cutover.

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What’s New in Office 365 – July 2020

Our monthly round-up of what’s new and updated across Office 365 and Microsoft 365. This month Microsoft have made further improvements to Microsoft Teams, including upping the number of participants in calls from 250 to 300. There’s improved information security for those with Microsoft 365 E5 licences, thanks to sensitivity labels. We look at the …

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