Breakout rooms authorize organizers to split meetings into sub-groups to encourage discussions and brainstorming sessions. They have released several new features that facilitate the management and creation of breakout rooms while improving overall meeting efficiency since the liftoff in December 2020.
Organizers can now reassign participants even when rooms are available, guaranteeing the right participants are in every breakout room and quickly reassign when needed.
Let’s peek into some of the innovations we have released so far.
Participants remain assigned to their breakout rooms unless the meeting organizer chooses to alter them. Assignments persist across subsequent sessions and recurring meetings, so organizers do not have to reprise tasks.
The participant assignment understanding also has an updated, helpful interface available before and during meetings. When organizers choose Assign Participants in the breakout rooms’ right panel, an independent window pops up with a larger view of all the participants and rooms. Organizers can sort by participants or rooms, in addition to selecting multiple participants for room assignments. Envision speeding up the assignment process by fast finding the relevant participant(s) or room(s) and multi-assigning by using the checkboxes.
Control the course of your breakout sessions by setting up a breakout room timer in the settings. The timer is observable to the participants, counts down the time left in the room, and alerts participants 60 seconds from when the breakout room session will close. Once the timer has expired, rooms will automatically shut, and participants will return to the central meeting if auto-move is enabled. Alternatively, if auto-move is disabled, a prompt is shown that allows participants to decide whether to move back to the main session or disconnect.
Require assistance managing breakout rooms? Breakout room managers’ support permits organizers to extend the management of breakout rooms to up to 10 presenters during a meeting. Only presenters can be established at this time. While only one manager can grab control at a time, the designated breakout room supervisor will be able to perform in-meeting processes such as:
- Allocating users to rooms
- Adding/deleting rooms
- Beginning/closing rooms
- Reassigning users to rooms
- Sending announcements
- Re-creating rooms
- Setting timers
- Adjusting other breakout room settings
- Joining open rooms
- Dispatching announcements
All breakout room managers—including those not in control—can join opened breakout rooms by tapping on the menu next to each room and selecting Join room. However, inactive managers can only enter open room as participants (read-only). In addition, they cannot manage breakout rooms unless they request control by clicking the Manage rooms key.
Get an early start by creating breakout rooms and participant assignment tasks ahead of your meeting. Open a Teams meeting invite, navigate Breakout rooms, and select Create rooms. Organizers can choose how many rooms they need and create them in advance. This feature reduces admin overhead and improves meeting efficiency. Additionally, organizers can perform the following tasks before the start of the meeting:
- Bulk creating or deleting rooms
- Adding, deleting, or renaming individual rooms
- Configuring meeting alternatives for each room
- Adjusting settings (like a timer) for breakout rooms session
- Preassigning participants via both manual and automated assignment options
- Choosing breakout rooms managers (only explicitly invited presenters from the same tenant are available currently for assignment as breakout rooms managers)
At this time, meeting organizers can only access pre-meeting features before the start of the meeting and when all breakout rooms are closed. Once the session starts, breakout rooms can only be managed via the breakout room panel in the active forum. A maximum of 300 participants can be invited to the meeting. However, only the same tenant or federated tenants are available for pre-assignment.
With the pre-meeting room feature and participant assignment, organizers can reduce last-minute setups by conducting all configurations in advance.
Microsoft Teams Breakout rooms can boost productivity by giving members of your organization a voice and a comfortable platform to be attended. In addition, they have put together a helpful troubleshooting guide that can help you navigate these renewed and exciting features if you get stuck or have any questions along the way. Microsoft will continue enhancing the ways people can come together to accomplish more.