It’s no secret that organizations initially found it difficult to adjust to remote work. However, many have hit their groove and found new ways to stay productive and collaborative. Fortunately, Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms can further improve and enrich your meeting and training experience. With these new features, meetings can be more engaging, fun, and educational than ever before. Let’s get into how companies can leverage breakout rooms within their own workplaces:
Educational Workshops and Team Trainings
One option for the use of Teams Breakout Rooms is educational workshops and team trainings, as the breakout rooms can greatly enhance collaboration and productivity through their many capabilities. Each Breakout Room acts as a Teams meeting, complete with recording, content sharing, and chat functions. These features provide a hands-on learning educational experience for employees.
For example, an organizer may give a lecture to team members and then have them split into breakout rooms to work on an assignment together. While participants are working on the assignment, the organizer can make an announcement in each of the breakout rooms to let them know how much time is left. Then, the organizer can close all of the breakout rooms and have everyone move back into the main meeting.
Conferences have gone virtual around the world and organizations may need Teams Breakout Rooms to help create more intimate settings within the larger events. A virtual conference operates very much like an in-person conference. Speakers can present in the main meeting room and organizers can then create breakout rooms for participants to ask follow-up questions and continue the conversation with the presenters. An organizer can also assign a facilitator to keep the conversation on track and make sure the objectives are met. After some time, the organizer can broadcast an announcement across the breakout rooms of the time remaining. In addition, organizers can open all or specific rooms for participants to freely enter and engage with the speakers.
In this setting, Breakout rooms provide an opportunity for participants to effectively engage, collaborate, and network in smaller groups.
Virtual Team-Building Events
Another option for the use of Teams Breakout Rooms is to create virtual team-building events which help to foster strong working relationships between employees. Organizers can create different rooms for team-building activities and manually assign the participants. They can also shuffle participants automatically and add them to the rooms. Once participants complete the activities, they can come back into the main meeting. Participants can then share their whiteboards and files from the breakout rooms and discuss their experiences.
Let’s take a look at one specific example of a fun team-building activity:
Virtual coffee chats are social events intended to build connections between employees. A successful coffee chat will strengthen work relationships because participants get to know each other and build memories together. Organizers can create different rooms based on themes and manually assign 2-3 participants for each room. Here are some themes to incorporate and questions to ask for each theme:
- Theme: Professional Outlook
- What is your favorite way to work? Do you prefer complete silence, or does an open concept office help your productivity?
- What four characteristics must your work environment or culture have to make you feel engaged as an employee?
- Theme: Past Professional Experiences
- If you had to live your work life over, at what point would you have chosen a different path that would have led you to more success and happiness?
- What are three things that you would change about your work environment that would make you a more successful employee?
- Theme: Personal
- If you could choose any one person, living or dead, who would you most want to emulate?
- Looking at your whole life, not just your work life, what are three activities in which you wish you were spending more of your time?
You can use Teams Breakout Rooms to host virtual networking events enabling people to continue building their personal and professional network through live chats. Organizers can create themed breakout rooms based on different parts of the industry and bring in industry figures or thought leaders. Further, they can let the participants know how much time they have left by making announcements to all rooms simultaneously. All participants receive the announcement in their chat boxes. Then, organizers can quickly switch attendees to a new room to network with other industry leaders. With breakout rooms, participants can better connect and increase the likelihood of their conversations continuing after the virtual event is over.
Diversity and Inclusion Events
Organizations everywhere are ramping up their diversity and inclusion training. As such, one option for the use of Teams Breakout Rooms is diversity and inclusion events.
For example, an organizer could split participants into diverse groups of 3-4 people each and instruct them to work together to select an image that represents diversity and inclusion. However, there’s one rule: the image cannot have any people in it, so participants must be creative as possible.
The organizer can broadcast announcements to all chats that they have 8 minutes to work together to find this image. It can be from the internet, in their office, or on their phone. It can even be an image that they can draw together. The organizer can share the instructions to all rooms simultaneously. All participants will receive the instructions in their chat boxes.
Using Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms features, participants can quickly share photos with each other or use the Whiteboard feature to draw an image together. After the 8 minutes are up, the organizer can close all of the breakout rooms and bring participants back to the main room. Since all files are saved from the rooms, a spokesperson from each breakout session can share the image with the full team and everyone can guess why they selected this photo. Then the spokesperson can tell everyone why they chose that image.