Microsoft has added the breakout rooms feature to Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams has so many features to make your remote meetings easier. Breakout rooms is the latest feature to help you mimic the office experience online. Think of them like meetings within meetings. They offer a chance to break off from the larger group to smaller video conference rooms.
To create breakout rooms in Teams, you need to access the application from your desktop. The feature will not work on a mobile phone or the web app (for now).
If you’re the meeting organiser you can create breakout rooms.
Here’s how to create a breakout room in Microsoft Teams. once you’ve started a meeting:
- Find the breakout room button in the meeting toolbar. It is near the ellipsis button (those three dots).
- Select the number of rooms. You will be prompted to choose the number of rooms you’d like to separate your group into. Remember that you can always add more breakout rooms! You don’t have to add them all at once.
- Choose random or manual room organisation. Next you’ll be asked to organise your rooms. The application can randomly and evenly distribute group members amongst the breakout rooms. Alternatively, you can hand pick who you’d like to be where. Note that you can only organise team members into breakout rooms once the meeting has begun.
- Name your rooms. This step is not required but can add some extra organisation to the meeting. You can name breakout rooms by clicking on the ellipses. In the dropdown menu that appears, you can also delete rooms as necessary.
- Open your rooms. Each room will have a “closed” label beside it until you, as the organiser of the meeting, open the rooms for use. Click “open room” to open a single room. Click “start rooms” to open them all at once.
- To get back to the main meeting, choose to either close out breakout rooms individually or all at once.
Extra settings and pro-tips:
You can give meeting members the option to confirm entrance to a breakout room. You can also automatically send members into separate rooms. This depends on your requirements and the purpose of the meeting. If it’s a classroom setting, you might want to send students right away to work in groups. If it’s a business meeting, you can give your colleagues or clients the option to enter the breakout room.
There’s also an assigning feature that lets you rearrange team members across breakout rooms.
A feature we love is the announcement option. Just like in real-life, where a meeting convener might remind you of important info or give you a five-minute call, Teams lets you do the same. Click the ellipses in the Breakout Rooms toggle and select “Make an announcement.”
Once in the breakout rooms, attendees can share files and chat amongst themselves. They can’t end the meeting or add additional members.
Keep in mind that the meeting organiser must be present at all times when breakout rooms are in session. If the meeting organiser has a good handle on the breakout feature, meetings will be seamless.
Need to get back to basics with Microsoft Teams? Take Microsoft’s guided Teams tour. If you needed guidance with any of the Microsoft tools, speak to our team. We can install, manage and offer IT support on the full Microsoft 365 suite.