Microsoft 365 December review

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Here’s a summary of some of the changes we’ve seen in Microsoft 365 through December.

Breakout Rooms

Breakout Rooms are now available in Microsoft Teams.

Meeting organisers can create up to fifty breakout rooms and choose to assign participants automatically or manually into rooms.

The organiser can start a breakout room in a Teams meeting or a Teams channel meeting, allowing greater flexibility on how you want to meet.


We’ll be running sessions on how to use Breakout rooms in January 2021. Further information on these sessions will be shared on the Microsoft 365 user community and TELStA HIVE.

More information on Breakout Rooms can be found below:

Breakout rooms generally available today in Microsoft Teams

Meeting options for Channel Meetings

Meeting organisers can now set meeting options for Channel Meetings.

This lets you set meeting presenters, lobby features, allow attendees to unmute etc. Just like you could do previously set for standard/private meetings.

More information on meeting options can be found below:

Meeting options explained

Change participant settings for a Teams meeting

New Together Mode scenes

There are new Together Mode scenes for your Teams meetings.

You can now select scenes such as a coffee shop, conference room, classroom and more to bring people closer together even when you’re apart.

Back and forth conversation feels more natural, and Microsoft’s research shows Together mode reduces meeting fatigue.

More information on new Together Mode scenes can be found below:

New Together Mode scenes

Tasks by Planner and To Do

The Tasks app brings a cohesive task management experience to Microsoft Teams, integrating individual tasks powered by Microsoft To Do and team tasks powered by Planner in one place.

Users can access Tasks as an app on the left side of Teams and as a tab in a channel within individual teams. My tasks and Shared plans in Tasks let users view and manage all their individual and team tasks and prioritize their work.

Tasks is available in Teams desktop, web, and mobile clients.

More information on Tasks by Planner and To Do can be found below:

Use the Tasks app in Teams

New experience joining Teams meetings

There’s a new experience window when you join any Microsoft Teams meeting.

The video below explains the new experience very well.

End of meeting notification

Teams will now inform participants when there are five minutes remaining during any schedule standard/private or channel meeting.

The notification will appear on the screen for 10 seconds and disappear without any user actions.

This is an informational notification and will not automatically end the meeting. 

Upcoming PDMS sessions in January

Running a tutorial in Microsoft Teams – Wednesday 20 January, 10.00 to 11.30

Running a tutorial in Microsoft Teams – Wednesday 27 January, 14.00 to 15.30

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