Slack, Facebook's Workplace, and Microsoft Teams work-chat apps are meant to boost productivity and get all employees onboard with the company vision. However, Microsoft has acknowledged in its latest update that workers need better tools to dial down the incessant noise of multiple channels.
The company's September update for Teams now offers users an option to "turn down the noise in channels", allowing users to mute a conversation in a channel, as is already possible in chat.
To stop interruptions when you need to stay focused, users can go to More Options in the original post and shut off notifications.
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But users can also turn on notifications to follow a conversation in a channel that's been hidden from a list. This feature lets a user receive notifications of activity on a specific conversation without being bombarded by all activity on the channel.
The update also introduces a fix for another productivity killer: finding the right thread across multiple conversations.
To address this problem, Microsoft is introducing filters to Chat and Teams, allowing users to type a person's name to filter for every group, meeting, or one-to-one chat they have had with the individual.
A 'More' option lets users add more filters, such as unread messages. Users can also type a keyword to filter by named group chats.
As Microsoft confirmed earlier this month, it is pressing ahead with the development of a Teams client for Linux. That's not available yet, but it has patched up another area of missing support.
Now meeting participants using Internet Explorer, Safari, and Firefox can join a meeting rather than having to use either Edge or Chrome. However, Microsoft notes that meeting organizers will need the appropriate license for Audience Conferencing in Office 365.
On the calling front, Teams on the web now allows users to make calls from Google Chrome. Users can open Teams in Chrome and go to Calls on the left side of the browser app to test the feature.
According to Neowin, Microsoft has also rolled out channel cross-posting, which lets users post the same message to several channels simultaneously.
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Microsoft flagged the feature in July as it announced that Teams had 13 million daily active users. But several Teams users responding to Microsoft's September update notice say the feature is missing.
Microsoft has also added a secondary ringer feature to help workers who wear headsets, so they can hear incoming calls ringing on their computer.
And now Teams also displays a caller's name when the caller is ringing from a standard PSTN number. It's available on the desktop and is coming soon to Teams mobile apps.