Host your next virtual party in Microsoft Teams with apps and screen sharing games

Host your next virtual party in Microsoft Teams with apps and screen sharing games

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

Whether your team is working hybrid or working around the world, it’s always great to stay connected personally and professionally with members of your team. Many teams use scheduled get-together meetings in Teams to hold book clubs, celebrate a special moment, or just gather together and catch up on weekend plans. Conversations are always central in these meet ups – but we also know that every get together can be more fun and connecting with quizzes and games. Within Microsoft Teams, there are several good options for hosting these events, virtually.

Running Kahoot! Quizzes and Trivia in your meeting
Who doesn’t love great trivia or a friendly competitive quiz? For hosting these for your team, a good option is to use Kahoot! – which is available as a standalone app and with an associated integration directly within Microsoft Teams. Kahoots are engaging quizzes and challenges you can create and re-use within your team. These quizzes can be questions for learning or adding interactivity to presentation experiences, and in addition, you can also use Kahoot! to create team trivia challenges for your next team gathering.

With the Kahoot integration inside of Microsoft Teams, you can see a dashboard of your designed Kahoots, and use them during meetings to spur friendly competition. Before the meeting, design your Kahoots and add questions and answers. In addition to exploring and using questions from popular Kahoots via the Discover option, consider mixing in various forms of general trivia, trivia specific to topics for your team, or maybe trivia about your team specifically.

When it is time for the meeting itself, you can launch a Kahoot from the Kahoot app tab within Teams. Expand the Kahoot! gameplay window, and then share that during a meeting by sharing your screen. Make sure to use the Include computer sound option when you share. Once the Kahoot! gameplay screen is shared, attendees can join in and answer questions from their own devices. Answering question quickly matters, and you’ll soon see a friendly competition bloom. You can find out more about Kahoot! on kahoot.com, and you can add the Kahoot! integration for Microsoft Teams from AppSource.

Kahoot.png

Using Jackbox Games with Microsoft Teams screen sharing
Jackbox Games are the makers of several party games that are great to play together in person or virtually. From speech games like Talking Points to drawing games like Drawful and witty quip games like Quiplash – there are a wide variety of games and styles to suit every taste. Most games run for about 15-25 minutes with straightforward rules and quick tutorials, so they are easy to pick up and play. Most games support up to 8-10 players, and some have additional audience viewing options if you have extra visitors.

Jackbox Games are available for a wide variety of devices and consoles, but if you want to use Jackbox within a virtual Microsoft Teams streaming session, we’d recommend getting Jackbox on your PC or Mac. The host of the virtual get-together will need a copy; the attendees in the meeting can follow along on their devices. Every player will join the meeting and then connect to the Jackbox game with a room code – which they can do in a web browser or on a separate device, like their phone. It is easy and takes seconds to get everyone started on a game.

You’ll likely want to use Steam – a service for purchasing and installing games – to get Jackbox games. These games come in Party Packs of 5 games each – so each Party Pack provides a lot of choices for different gameplay styles. No one will be bored, and any party pack will work well – the most recent Jackbox Party Pack 7 features both Quiplash 3 and Blather ‘Round which work well in virtual game settings.

As you host your virtual get-together, you’ll want to start up the Jackbox Party pack of your choice. Use the screen sharing option in Teams, and make sure you check the “Include computer sound” option.

Jackbox.png

From there, start up a game and your room code will be visible, and attendees can join in.

Tips for using Jackbox Games in a Teams meeting
As you start your Jackbox Games, we recommend a couple of options:

In almost every Jackbox Game, there is a “Family Friendly” checkbox – you may want to consider checking that for your work conversations.

In a few Jackbox Games, there is also an option to filter out US-centric content, if you want to have questions or prompts that are more broadly relevant to teammates around the world.

Jackbox Games.png

Also, to keep the sound of the game from potentially drowning out your virtual guests and conversation while attending, in some cases you may want to consider turning down the background music.

Jackbox Games2.jpg

Also, some more advanced tips can help your virtual party even more:

  • If you have it, hosting a game with two screens (e.g., your laptop screen plus a plugged-in monitor) can work better, as you can place Teams on one screen and Jackbox on the other. That way, it is always easy to see your teammates and the game at the same time.
  • Using headphones can also help with isolating the sound of the game from the conversation.

We hope you get to explore the wide variety of games and quiz options for having fun, virtually, with your teammates. While the centerpiece of any virtual gathering is the conversations that you’ll have virtual activities through Kahoot! and Jackbox Games, you can help to break the ice, provide some memorable experiences, and heck – have some fun! – in almost any meeting you run.

Restore and maintain personal connections with new Microsoft Teams Calling features

Restore and maintain personal connections with new Microsoft Teams Calling features

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

Earlier this year, IT leaders around the globe were forced to reprioritize their roadmaps, resources, and budgets to equip employees for remote work practically overnight. Suddenly, the use of video communications skyrocketed. People adjusted quickly to moving meetings online, but one of the most notable challenges driven by the shift to remote work has been…

The post Restore and maintain personal connections with new Microsoft Teams Calling features appeared first on Microsoft 365 Blog.

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.

Restore and maintain personal connections with new Microsoft Teams Calling features

Our commitment to privacy in Microsoft Productivity Score

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

At Microsoft, we believe that data-driven insights are crucial to empowering people and organizations to achieve more. We also believe that privacy is a human right, and we’re deeply committed to the privacy of every person who uses our products. As part of that commitment, today we’re making changes to Productivity Score.

The post Our commitment to privacy in Microsoft Productivity Score appeared first on Microsoft 365 Blog.

Brought to you by Dr. Ware, Microsoft Office 365 Silver Partner, Charleston SC.

New Diagnostic for Teams Meeting Recording

New Diagnostic for Teams Meeting Recording

This article is contributed. See the original author and article here.

As you may have heard, Microsoft Teams usage is up, WAY up and we recently announced a new “daily collaboration minutes” metric.  To quote: “This quarter, Microsoft 365 users around the world generated more than 30 billion collaboration minutes in a single day as people communicated, collaborated, and co-authored content across work, life, and learning.”  Read more from that announcement here.

That is an astounding number of daily collaboration minutes.  While not all of them are spent in meetings, many are, and we know that our Teams Community loves to record meetings!  So today I’m pleased to announce we just shipped our most recent Teams Diagnostic for Meeting Recordings.

From working with you all in Support we know that top support case drivers include Meeting Recording availability and end user capability (i.e. the Meeting Recording button is grayed out!).  These issues typically fall into two categories, either the impacted user isn’t allowed to record meetings via Policy settings or, in some areas of the world, Stream is not available in your region.  Luckily our Diagnostic can identify both of these issues and tell you how to fix them.

But wait!  There’s more!  In case you missed it, we recently began rolling out a change to Teams Meeting Recording Storage.  If you’re signed into your M365 Tenant Admin portal you can read all about it in the following Message Center Post: (Updated) Microsoft Teams: meeting recordings saved to OneDrive and Sharepoint.

You should also carefully review the following documentation that goes over these changes in detail:

Use OneDrive for Business and SharePoint or Stream for meeting recordings

And of course, our Diagnostic can help you identify if you’re using Stream or have switched to OneDrive SharePoint storage.  In fact, if you are in a part of the world where Stream is not available, we are very pleased to inform you that you can Opt-in to OneDrive SharePoint storage to enable Teams Meeting Recording functionality!

As always we’ve provided you with a shortcut to get directly to the diagnostic.  In your Admin portal, click on the Need Help button and then type in Diag: Meeting Recording like in the following screenshot:

Screenshot of the Need Help dialogueScreenshot of the Need Help dialogue

If you’re currently experiencing issues getting Teams Meeting Recording to work for some or all users, please give the new Diagnostic a try.  Beyond checking your policy settings and storage location the Diagnostic does a lot more, so be sure to check it out.  And, we’re constantly working on new diagnostics and expanding our existing ones; for a full list, click here.

We’ll be back soon with additional Teams Meeting Recording troubleshooting tips and tricks, stay tuned for ‘Dude, where’s my recording?’ and other fun stuff.

Happy Collaborating!
Microsoft Teams Support

How the pandemic has impacted well-being at work

Since the world shifted to remote work research shows there are some bright spots. People cite flexibility and greater empathy for team members. 62% of people surveyed said they feel more empathetic toward colleagues now that we can all see into each other’s lives at home. On the other hand, there are concerning trends… We’re eroding the social capital built over decades around water coolers and in hallways leading to loss of connection and feelings of isolation. People are working longer hours – leaving them feeling depleted with the biggest increases in Teams usage outside the typical 9-to-5 workday and on weekends. Workday length increased 17% in Japan, 25% in the U.S., and 45% in Australia. One third of remote workers say the lack of separation between work and life is negatively impacting their well-being and more than 30% of information workers and first line workers say the pandemic has “somewhat” or “significantly increased” their sense of burnout. But, 70% of people also indicate that meditation could help decrease work-related stress. It’s clear that people want to do great work. The big question: How can technology help?

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Microsoft Teams

Prepare Your Business for COVID-19 Coronavirus

Prepare Your Business for COVID-19 Coronavirus

We’re getting a lot of inquiries about how to best prepared in case there are school and daycare closures or in the event someone in the office contracts the virus and others who may have had contact will have to quarantine themselves. We’re recommending a strategy built around Office 365 and OneDrive. Because Office 365 and OneDrive can be remotely accessed by any computer, either through a browser or via an app, workers can continue to be productive away from the office. However, we know there may some questions about printing (ex. – printing checks), scanners, or accessing non-Microsoft programs that do not have a Web interface. For this reason, we’ve developed a short questionnaire for you to fill out to identify all the areas of your business remote workers will need to access. Please follow this link to fill out the questionnaire.

Heads up from the CDC for businesses to prepare for COVID-19

Planning Considerations

All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of acute respiratory illness and lower the impact of COVID-19 in their workplace in the event of an outbreak in the US. They should identify and communicate their objectives, which may include one or more of the following: (a) reducing transmission among staff, (b) protecting people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications, (c) maintaining business operations, and (d) minimizing adverse effects on other entities in their supply chains. Some of the key considerations when making decisions on appropriate responses are:

  • Disease severity (i.e., number of people who are sick, hospitalization and death rates) in the community where the business is located;
  • Impact of disease on employees that are vulnerable and may be at higher risk for COVID-19 adverse health complications. Inform employees that some people may be at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
  • Prepare for possible increased numbers of employee absences due to illness in employees and their family members, dismissals of early childhood programs and K-12 schools due to high levels of absenteeism or illness:
    • Employers should plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace. Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
    • Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace is able to operate even if key staff members are absent.
    • Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products. Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
  • Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their business infectious disease outbreak response plan based on the condition in each locality.
  • Coordination with state and local health officials is strongly encouraged for all businesses so that timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where their operations reside. Since the intensity of an outbreak may differ according to geographic location, local health officials will be issuing guidance specific to their communities.

Important Considerations for Creating an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan

All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations. During a COVID-19 outbreak, all sick employees should stay home and away from the workplace, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene should be encouraged, and routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces should be performed regularly.

If you need assistance with your Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan please go here.