Microsoft Teams adds new features for easier meetings, whether you're in the office or remote

New video layouts and live reactions aim to help people connect in the new hybrid workforce.

Alison DeNisco Rayome Managing Editor
Managing Editor Alison DeNisco Rayome joined CNET in 2019, and is a member of the Home team. She is a co-lead of the CNET Tips and We Do the Math series, and manages the Home Tips series, testing out new hacks for cooking, cleaning and tinkering with all of the gadgets and appliances in your house. Alison was previously an editor at TechRepublic.
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Alison DeNisco Rayome

The new front row layout in Microsoft Teams puts remote participants closer to eye-level with in-office participants. 


As many companies begin reopening offices and moving to hybrid workforces, Microsoft is adding a slew of new features to Teams and Teams Rooms that're designed to make it easier for co-workers to connect, no matter if they're working from the office or from home. 

In the coming months, a new layout will arrive in Teams Rooms called front row, which'll put remote participants at the bottom of the screen so they're face-to-face with those in the room, according to a Thursday blog post from Microsoft. The front row layout will also display meeting information like the agenda, tasks, notes and chat to those who are remote and those who are in the office. Other new video layouts aim to maximize screen real estate by splitting the video gallery across all available displays when a screen isn't being shared, so more remote participants are visible at once in the room. 

Teams Rooms will also get some of the same features as personal Teams accounts, including the ability to pin or spotlight multiple video streams and to use live reactions. 

The updates to Teams come after Microsoft released its own plans for the future of hybrid work, which include recording meetings by default and using smart cameras to simulate in-person contact. 

For more, check out what we know so far about Windows 11, and how Teams is taking on Zoom with free all-day calls