Is there anything Microsoft Teams can't do? The team collaboration platform is now adding a community feature that will allow users to communicate without all the business infrastructure. Oh yeah, and the new feature will be completely free.
Microsoft Teams is one of the most frequently updated collaboration platforms online today. With the resources of Microsoft and the customer feedback of 270 million active users, the collaboration service is constantly adding new features and improving performance to handle all the newly hybrid workers using it.
Now, the platform is branching out from its business roots with a community feature that will replicate the experience of consumer-facing platforms like Discord and Facebook.
Microsoft Teams Adds Communities Feature
A Microsoft 365 blog post announced that Microsoft Teams has added a new communities tool that will enable access to certain Microsoft Teams feature like calendar, meeting, chat, and file/photo sharing for no charge.
The goal will be to provide a communication tool for everyday users trying to make plans and stay in touch, rather than businesses looking to facilitate hybrid work. There are, of course, dozens of apps that do exactly that, but Microsoft Teams believes they can offer a bit more when it comes to productivity.
“What we’ve learned so far as we’ve been building this is that there is a set of communities who are looking to get things done. These are very distinct from pure fan communities or discussion communities, and where I think our strengths are as a company… is our ability to provide those productivity tools.” – Amit Fulay, VP of product at Microsoft to the Verge
The new communities feature will be available exclusively as an app at first, but as is often the case with Microsoft Teams, more updates will come down the road.
Can I Still Use the New Community Feature for Business?
While the new communities feature for Microsoft Teams is specifically aimed away from the business functionality of the collaboration platform, that doesn't mean your small business can't still benefit from its use. In fact, Microsoft Teams specifically outlines a few ways in which the new feature can benefit small businesses.
“With communities in Teams, your small business can move seamlessly from customer calls to team events and everything in between. You can create a virtual community group with diehard customers to announce a new sale, or just as easily create a Carpool Community for coworkers who want to share a ride to the office.”
Suffice it to say, the communities feature in Microsoft Teams is definitely a new frontier for the platform, but it could provide a unique means of communicating that takes itself less seriously than the business-focused Teams platform. And if there's one thing we can use in 2022, it's a little more community.