Microsoft announced that its Teams for personal use features are now available, turning the platform into a one-stop-shop for communication needs.
Back in March 2020, the company shared plans to turn its Teams workplace communication platform into a place for family and personal communication. The features arrived in preview in June, and now they’re officially rolling out. Starting May 17th, personal features in Teams will be generally available on desktop, mobile and web worldwide.
People who already use Teams will be able to add a personal account by clicking on their profile icon in the app. That will also double as the toggle to switch between work and personal Teams. Those who don’t use Teams can download the app for free on iOS, Android and desktop.
Interestingly, Microsoft also said that Teams was available “on any web browser.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the case — at the time of writing, Teams remains inaccessible through Firefox. That said, Microsoft does appear to have expanded support for Teams to Chrome and Chromium-based browsers (previously, Teams was restricted to just Microsoft’s Edge browser).
Aside from using Teams for text-based communication, Microsoft also made its ‘Together mode’ video call features available to Teams personal users.
That means you can spice up your Teams video calls by turning the call into a virtual environment where participants sit near each other — you can learn more about Together mode here.
Other Teams personal features include the ability to manage calendars, to-do lists and share documents and files all in one app. Microsoft also notes that family members who don’t have Teams won’t get left out — they can receive group chat messages via SMS text instead. Teams chats will also offer polls in the future.
Ultimately, Teams for personal use seems like a great addition for people deeply immersed in the Teams ecosystem. However, I’m not sure how popular the service will be among those who don’t use Teams for work. When it comes to messaging services, I have a hard enough time convincing friends and family to use anything more than the default options on their phones — I doubt I could get anyone to switch to Teams.
Plus, with so many people working remotely, maintaining the work-life balance is crucial — putting all your work and personal communication into the same place (even though they remain separate within Teams) seems antithetical to that goal.
You can learn more about Microsoft Teams for personal use here.