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Using Microsoft Teams to celebrate the holidays with your colleagues

This year we may have to use our creativity to come up with ideas to celebrate the holiday season with our colleagues. Unfortunately, the usual in-person office parties are just not an option in 2020.

However, there are other ways to help you get into the mood of the holidays in the lead up to Christmas to stay connected while socially distanced. Take a look at some of the ideas below and try out one or two to see if they work for your team.

12 Days of Christmas to generate conversation in your internal Teams channel

Use Microsoft Teams to set up an internal 12 Days of Christmas advent calendar to generate conversation among your colleagues. By posting a different topic every day (from favourite Christmas movies and traditions to how your pet will celebrate Christmas), you encourage your team to share stories, photos, jokes and other posts. If you wish, you can create a new channel in Teams for this purpose.

We are trying this in IT Services and below is an example of one of the advent calendar topics which generated lovely photos of pets in IT Services.

Example of advent calendar of 12 Days of Christmas - focus on Day 5 - opening a picture of a dog in a Christmas jumper with text: Tell us how your pet celebrates Christmas / the holidays

Together mode to create the illusion of being in the same room

Example screen of Together mode in Microsoft Teams with four people in the virtual room together.

Feel like being in the same room while socially distanced? No problem, try the new “Together mode” feature in Microsoft Teams which gives you the illusion of being in the same space. This feature works if you have turned on the new meeting experience (within your Teams settings) and have five or more people in your meeting.

  1. Click on your profile at the top right and go to Settings.
  2. Under Application, ensure the "Turn on new meeting experience" box is ticked.
  3. Start a video call meeting with at least five people.
  4. Click the three dots from the menu while you're in the call and select "Together mode".
Screen shot of drop down from three dots in Teams with Together mode selected.

Large gallery view for big virtual parties

If your team has 10 or more members, and you would like to see all video feeds at the same time, try the "Large gallery" feature in Teams which allows you to see up to 49 video feeds at the same time. Similar to the Together mode – ensure that your “New meeting experience” option in your Teams settings is turned on. Then, while in your meeting, click on the three dots and select “Large gallery”.

Breakout rooms to form smaller teams for your virtual quiz

Microsoft Teams have launched the Breakout rooms feature, which allows you to divide a large group into smaller sub groups. This feature could work well for organising a virtual quiz where you want the attendees to participate in smaller teams.

Image of Breakout room menu icon

Learn more about Breakout rooms