Microsoft Teams has rolled out an extensive update to its in-app background library, offering a wide array of visually stunning backgrounds that can influence mood and improve the virtual experience. As people rely more on video calls for human connections, virtual backgrounds have become essential tools for communication and self-expression.

Angela N. Bradley from Microsoft Design reveals that the new backgrounds were crafted based on insights from studies on the future of work and the unique challenges faced by remote and hybrid workers. The update aims to help users feel more comfortable and confident in online meetings by creating tailored spaces that tap into human emotions.

To cater to the diverse needs of users, the new background collection is organized into six categories:

  1. In the zone: focused environments inspired by reality.
  2. Escape artist: evocative, unreal environments that invigorate routines.
  3. Feeling dreamy: sensual, immersive, and audacious scenes.
  4. Imagination at play: adventurous backgrounds with unusual color combinations and otherworldly spaces.
  5. Belonging: backdrops that celebrate and support vision, hearing, learning, mental health, neurodiversity, and mobility.
  6. Sustainability: reflecting commitments to protect the environment.

The design process involved meticulously studying colors, light, depth, and lens angles to elevate each scene, transforming simple visuals into cohesive stories. Microsoft aimed to create global and inclusive experiences, taking care to make the backgrounds accessible to everyone, including neurodivergent individuals.

With this update, Microsoft Teams aims to enhance collaboration, well-being, productivity, and focus in the hybrid work environment. The new backgrounds are just the beginning, as Teams plans to continue introducing more features to improve user experience and promote connection.