This Microsoft Teams update will take you back to school in the worst way

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Your next Microsoft Teams meeting could soon be a lot more structured thanks to a new update to the software’s seating arrangements.

The video conferencing platform will now allow users to assign specific seats when using Microsoft Teams Together Mode, which allows meetings to take place in a virtual lecture hall, meeting room, and more.

So, just like back at school when you chose the seat closest to all your friends, you could now theoretically arrange your virtual meeting room to be next to the people you like most. Or, if you wanted to be professional, you could arrange your virtual seating plan so that it went in order of the team-mate or colleague giving their project update or latest news.

All in order

The news was revealed in a Microsoft Tech Community blog post rounding up some of the recent updates from the company’s Ignite event that may have gone under the radar.

Holly Lehman, Microsoft Teams product marketing manager, wrote that the change will make meeting participants “feel like they’re in the same room during virtual meetings.” Both meeting organizers and presenters will be able to assign seats during a call, meaning you may find yourself shuffled around multiple times.

Microsoft Teams together mode assign seats

(Image credit: Microsoft)

To activate the feature, users will need to toggle Together Mode on for all call participants. Doing so will then bring up a new screen where participants can be assigned seats in the virtual view, with organizers able to search for specific attendees or pick from a list of everyone that was invited to the call.

Launched in the summer of 2020, Together Mode for Microsoft Teams brings all attendees into a shared virtual background, with the goal of “making it feel like you’re sitting in the same soom with everyone else”.

A recent update now means that meeting hosts have the option to enable Together Mode for all participants in a bid to help foster togetherness for those teams perhaps still seperated. Users can also now activate Together Mode across Teams calls of all sizes, even one-on-ones.

The change is the latest upgrade for Microsoft Teams, which also recently released an “Interactive Large Gallery” upgrade that includes feeds from even more people than ever before, with users able to view up to 49 video participants at once.

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