Microsoft brings new ways to pester your coworkers to Microsoft Teams


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Jonathan Hassell / IDG

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Microsoft claims that its Teams collaboration tool now has 13 million active daily users. But a few new features may not exactly be welcomed by those who use it.

Employers will probably love the fact that a new Time Clock feature will allow employees to clock in and out, including for breaks. Employees may not appreciate the fact that those notifications can be geofenced, meaning that if you’re not quite back in your office when you say you are, your employer will know.

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Announcements are now part of Microsoft Teams.

Is it useful to blast a co-worker with reminder after reminder? Possibly, but new priority notifications that ping your phone every two minutes for up to 20 minutes may not be especially welcomed.

Read receipts have been added, too. Likewise, the ability to cross-post messages and highlight announcements may be important information that should be communicated—or it might be just additional clutter that prevents other information from getting through.

Ever since Microsoft added a free Teams option last year, more employers are beginning to use it, Microsoft said. All told, there are 13 million daily users and 19 million weekly users, across 181 markets.

Microsoft says the new features are being added to prioritize urgency. The time-sensitive communications features are rolling out now, with read receipts being added later this month. The Shifts module, which allows employees to clock in and out, is also coming out now. Microsoft said the ability to add announcements is available now, while the ability to cross-post between channels is “coming soon.” Geofencing will be tied to the mobile version of the Teams app. 

If nothing else, there’s one hope for employees who worry that Teams may turn into a version of the dreaded “reply-all” loop that can plague email: Channel moderators can now be named, offering some degree of control to a Teams channel. The moderator feature launches this month as well.

Microsoft is expected to talk more about this and other announcements at its Inspire partner showcase in Las Vegas next week.

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