July 5, 2023

Meet Eye-To-Eye with Microsoft Teams Front Row

Do you ever wish your remote team meeting was just as engaging as it is when you are all in the room together? The latest videoconferencing experience from Microsoft can do just that. As more companies adopt a hybrid work model, it’s becoming increasingly important to redesign the workplace to support seamless, inclusive collaboration and communication among all team members.

Microsoft Teams Front Row is a unique meeting layout experience allowing in-person and remote workers to feel more connected, as if they were physically in the room together. This feature moves the video gallery to the bottom of the display, enabling remote participants to be face-to-face with those who are in the room. It also maximizes screen real estate by allowing you to clearly see the people, content and chat all at the same time.

Teams Front Row can improve the hybrid meeting experience in many ways, including:

  • Improved visibility & inclusivity: With remote participants being eye level to those in the room, it promotes a much more authentic, “real life” connection. This layout allows everyone to easily see and hear each other, while also having a clear view of the content, chat and those who have their hands raised.
  • Enhanced collaboration and engagement: Teams Front Row helps mimic a natural human interaction between in-person and remote workers, which is critical for effective collaboration and team building. It allows meeting participants to pick up on body language and non-verbal cues, which may not be possible when using other videoconferencing tools.
  • Time & cost savings: Hybrid meetings can be time-consuming, especially when technical issues arise, or if you’re stuck waiting on the rest of your group to arrive at the office. Teams Front Row is an excellent solution as it is easy to set up and use, gives people the option to join from anywhere, and cuts down on travel time and costs.

NBS Steelcase Ocular Table

“Much of what we communicate is conveyed non-verbally and when this is missing from a hybrid meeting, we feel it,” said Zac Sepanik, GM of Audiovisual Solutions at NBS. “Bringing content, chat, meeting notes and complete visuals of remote participants into view simultaneously creates a cohesive and more human-centered meeting experience, which is crucial for effective communication.”

When architectural products, furniture and technology are blended together thoughtfully and intentionally, the result is a more equitable and engaging experience. While Teams Front Row can be used on any display and in any type of space, the recommended aspect ratio for displays is the newer, ultra-wide format of 21:9. This wider display is ideal because it allows for more remote participants to appear in the front row. When this wider display isn’t an option, the standard aspect ratio of 16:9 will work as well.

The right display, combined with the appropriate surroundings creates an even more captivating meeting experience. When paired with Steelcase Ocular tables, for example, the connection between all participants can be deepened and productivity can be boosted even further. Ocular is a collection of tables co-designed and developed by Steelcase and Microsoft to improve hybrid collaboration for meetings ranging from huddle rooms to large conference spaces. The unique curved shape of these tables improves sightlines between people, displays and cameras, so it’s no surprise why Ocular and Teams Front Row are an excellent match!

For the best viewing experience, it’s important to design a space with the camera viewing angles in mind. To create a positive meeting experience for the people who are in the room, the table needs to be a sufficient distance from the camera mounted on the wall. While this distance depends on many factors, our Design team has the knowledge to lay out your specific space in the most impactful way possible.

NBS is here to help you create engaging meeting experiences for your people both in and outside the office by integrating architectural products, furniture and technology tools. Contact us today to learn how we can help or schedule a visit to see how we are focused on improving the hybrid work experience for our own team.

Want to learn more about where to start when it comes to creating or enhancing your own hybrid work approach? Explore our downloadable guide, “Hello Hybrid,” for insights and thought-starters.