Microsoft Teams 7×7 49 Gallery: how to enable and which psychological aspects to consider

Moving from 3×3 to 7×7?

Microsoft Teams is not only increasing Gallery View up to 3×3 view like announced April 13th, they are increasing it now to 7×7 view and want to offer – thanks to pressure from Zoom users – to 49 video thumbnails into one video conference window. Roll out in preview to Microsoft Teams desktop clients is going to start in early July.

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3×3 Gallery View: Sufficient for you?

How to enable 7×7 gallery view?

For certain reasons Microsoft is not setting this view to default. So you need to go to your Teams Desktop Client settings (not Browser, Linux or mobile App) and enable the new meeting experience manually. Then multi-windows pop-ups are enabled, a heavily demanded feature, mentioned officially here by Microsoft. You won`t see 49 videos if you use the single window approach which is standard.

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Microsoft Teams 7x7 49 Gallery: how to enable and which psychological aspects to consider 7

I am purely speculating why Microsoft is not setting the 7×7 view as new default standard. What I can imagine is that it would demand much more bandwith because of many new streamed videos – and due to Covid-19 Microsoft doesn`t want to fully open the firehose.

Zoom Fatigue with our Lizard Brains

Being on a video call many hours a day (especially when we are locked down in our home office due to Corona crisis) requires more focus than a face-to-face chat. Especially with thumbnail video galleries we need to work harder to process non-verbal cues like facial expressions, tone and body language. We might feel exhausted after a long day of video meetings. It creates a dissonance when our minds are together, and our bodies feel we’re separated (and maybe also isolated). Especially when we are not very used to have video on or have introvert personality types, this kind of “performance mode” can also be stressful. I hear lot of excuses like “Bad Hair Day”. So it can really be that we (or our antique lizard brain) are facing very old fight or flight response mechanisms and programs when watching so many different faces of strangers.
We might also miss silence and focus time in our daily work. We are not used to have video calls for 8 hours. I usually traveled a lot to conferences before Covid-19 and enjoyed my non-meeting time in trains and planes a lot.

How is Microsoft going to solve “Zoom Fatigue”?

One of the most exciting Microsoft Teams announcements in July are about “Better Together” mode where meeting participants (49 max) can be visualized in a kind of theatre, auditorium or classroom mode

Together Mode in Teams 2
image credits: Microsoft

Frederic Lardinois (TechCrunch) interviewed Marissa Salazar (Microsoft Teams Product Marketing Manager) and she explained to him: “First and foremost, you’ll notice the way that we’re looking at each other is obviously very different than something we’re used to, not only are we out of the grid, but we’re looking at this, ‘mirror image’ of ourselves.”. Her colleague Michael Bohan told TechCrunch: “When you have a grid view, everybody’s boxed off and so your brain has to treat those as individual parts — it has to parse all information. When you remove those edges, then your brain can start to see a more unified view of things.”
Forbes recently also wrote about Zoom Fatigue and they talked to Microsoft R&D about a study which investigated that team interaction might increase because you can see yourself in the meeting room and are more likely to respond and react.

image credits: Microsoft

Time is ready for more asynchronous communication?

Maybe we can think about hosting and joining less calls and meetings but increase our asynchronous communication and collaboration more. Have you already seen how well Yammer integrates into Teams? New Yammer looks beautiful and helps to collaborate outside of Team silos by Working Out Loud. Listen to Isabel de Clercq`s and my thoughts in our Podcast here: If you are not into Yammer, then my No1 recommendation is to discover collaboration in Teams Channels more intensive, use integrated Tabs and rich Apps Store. Currently I am really into Whiteboarding and virtual Workshops technologies like Mural, MindMeister and Conceptboard which also can be used when not being in realtime calls – thank you, Simon Dückert and lernOS All Stars Barcamp

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Yammer Community App for Microsoft Teams

Please share with me your experiences about Zoom and Teams Video Call fatigue and how you keep or increase your energy level.

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