HomeWinBuzzer NewsMicrosoft Launches Places App to Bridge the Gap Between Remote and In-Office...

Microsoft Launches Places App to Bridge the Gap Between Remote and In-Office Work

Microsoft Places allows employees to schedule their work locations and times, enhancing the flexibility and efficiency of hybrid work models.

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has launched a new application called Places, specifically designed for Teams Premium users, to enhance coordination among remote and office-based employees. This tool enables workers to manage their work locations and schedules more effectively, promoting flexibility and efficiency in models. By integrating with Outlook Calendar, Places simplifies the process of updating and adjusting location schedules, aligning with existing workflow systems.

Features and Functionality

Places introduces several features aimed at improving the hybrid work experience. It allows employees to view each other's schedules, facilitating the planning of collaborative sessions and meetings. The app includes a team guidance function that enables managers to communicate office attendance expectations and goals. Additionally, a new feature within the Outlook app, Places Finder, helps users locate and reserve specific desks in the office, complete with visual layouts of the workspace.

Location Planning and AI Integration

Microsoft Places offers a dedicated location plan section where users can set and share their office usage days and see when their colleagues plan to come in. Managers have the ability to designate priority days for in-office activities, ensuring that important events and team days are clearly communicated. This location data integrates into Outlook calendars, providing visibility on office events and individual schedules.

Further enhancing its functionality, Microsoft Places will integrate with Microsoft Copilot later this year. These features will utilize company data to suggest the best days for office attendance and allow for schedule adjustments directly through Copilot, enhancing data-driven decision-making in managing hybrid work environments. Users will be able to inquire about the best office days in a given week and receive AI-generated suggestions based on scheduled in-person meetings and coworker availability. The AI assistant will also assist in adjusting schedules based on this data, changing work locations and rescheduling meetings as needed.

Future Plans and Availability

Currently available in public preview, businesses are invited to explore the capabilities of Places. Upon its general release, the app will be included in the Teams Premium subscription package. Microsoft's ongoing commitment to improving hybrid work environments is evident in the development of Places, indicating a sustained shift towards more flexible work arrangements post-pandemic.

The integration of AI features in the near future underscores Microsoft's strategy to use technology to adapt to changing workplace dynamics. Additionally, Places will eventually include a space analytics feature for real estate and facilities management professionals, providing insights into building usage and popular office days. IT administrators will also benefit from enhanced capabilities to manage and optimize office spaces and shared environments.

Teams Integration and Microsoft 365 Compatibility

The location data from Microsoft Places will not only feed into Outlook but also integrate with Teams and other Microsoft 365 applications. This integration will allow users to see which colleagues are in the office, marked as nearby in Teams, facilitating spontaneous conversations and social interactions like arranging lunches. Users will also receive reminders to book rooms or desks for their scheduled office days, with an end-to-end booking experience set to be available in Copilot later this year, automating the process of finding and booking meeting spaces.

Subscription Details and Additional Features

Microsoft Places will be part of the Microsoft Teams Premium package, which is currently available at a promotional price of $7 per user per month, normally priced at $10. Teams Premium also includes features like an AI-powered intelligent recap, watermarking for security, and various other enhancements. Interested parties can sign up for the Microsoft Places preview program to experience its features firsthand.

SourceMicrosoft
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.