Ever since COVID-19 arrived, businesses around the world have had to change their working practices to fit in with remote working. Many companies were already using Microsoft Teams, or one of the alternatives, such as Zoom, but now it’s pretty much a necessity rather than a convenience.
With remote working becoming the new normal for many, people are having to find different ways of effectively functioning as a team. We’ve put together lots of information to help you get the most out of team for work.
There are many reasons and requirements for remote work, and meeting those requirements flexibly is why Microsoft Teams was created: to help you stay connected with your teams and ensure you can continue working collaboratively and efficiently, wherever you are.
Here are a couple of tips to help you get the best from Microsoft Teams while working remotely:
Meet more efficiently
Recent research from Work Reworked shows people feel that a staggering 52% of their working time each week is spent inefficiently due to things like unnecessary interruptions, searching for information, and inefficient meetings.
The end-to-end capability of Microsoft Teams meetings helps remove frustration and inefficiency by bringing everything you need for every meeting into one place. As you plan meetings, you can use the chat facility to add the agenda, documents to pre-read and other discussion topics. So, no need to look for the meeting notes in your email – everything is in one place.
Then, during the meeting, you can keep everybody focused on the topic by switching on video, blurring the background to avoid distractions, and using live captions. Plus, you can collaborate on Office 365 documents and develop ideas in real time using the digital whiteboard.
After the meeting, all the meeting assets, including recording, actions, whiteboards and meeting notes are available in chat, so the team can continue to discuss and collaborate on topics started during the meeting. That means everybody’s in the loop and nobody gets frustrated trying to find materials developed or shown during the meeting. Even those who couldn’t attend.
Create online live events
Microsoft Teams can also help you to organise larger live meetings such as town halls, marketing webinars, launch events and training events. With Microsoft Teams live events you can hold any meeting live and deliver presentations with up to 10,000 attendees inside or outside your organisation. This way you’re sure that everybody working remotely can participate and is up to speed.
Use apps and bots
Apps let you do more in Microsoft Teams. Think about the tools, files and dashboards that your organisation already uses. Many of them can be added to Microsoft Teams, and you can add new ones by going to Apps. You can use them in both chats and channels, so you’ll have all the relevant information and tools you need to work as efficiently as possible, whoever you’re working with.
Below are some interesting apps and bots to check out. Go to the Apps section in Teams to discover more – new ones are being added on a daily basis!
Apps let you do more in Microsoft Teams. Think about the familiar tools, files and dashboards that your organisation already uses. Many of them can be added to Microsoft Teams, and you can add new ones by going to Apps. You can use them in both chats and channels, so you’ll have all the relevant information and tools you need to be as productive as possible, whoever you’re working with.
Who: Use this bot to get information about anyone in your organisation. You can check out the Meetings tab for participant information, so you know exactly who you’ll be meeting with. It’s also very handy when you receive a message from someone unfamiliar and quickly want to find out who they are and what they’re working on.
Microsoft Planner: Organise upcoming tasks by adding one or more Planner tabs to your Teams channel. You can track the status of existing tasks and be notified if a new one gets assigned to you.
Icebreaker: This Microsoft Teams bot helps your team get to know each another by pairing two random team members every week to meet online or – when possible – offline. The bot makes scheduling easy by automatically suggesting free times that work for both. It’s great for strengthening personal connections between remote teams, helping to build and maintain a tight-knit community.
Crisis communication: Certain circumstances may require you to coordinate information and team collaboration in response to evolving conditions in times of crisis. This rapid response solution can be implemented and customised quickly by any organisation.
Collaborate on files in Microsoft Teams
When working remotely, you’ll need to collaborate and work on Office documents with your team. Microsoft Teams has made it simple by enabling you to create Word, Excel or PowerPoint documents within Teams itself, so there’s no need to switch apps. You can collaborate and co-author with your co-workers, share notes, add comments and share as needed. You can even start a chat or meeting from a document to discuss edits. No more version confusion and no overloaded email box with contradicting edits or comments – just one seamlessly integrated collaborative platform.
Get the most out of your Microsoft Teams mobile app
Have you activated Microsoft Teams on your mobile? It’s the perfect way to stay on top of discussions while you’re on the move. Now, you can access all your teams, channels and files, as well as participate in meetings from your phone. This way, you’re sure not to miss anything. Be sure to set personal boundaries and optimise your work hours in the way that works best for you by setting quiet hours and quiet days, a feature available in your Microsoft Teams mobile settings.
If you analyse your interactions with colleagues during a normal working day, you’ll see that you not only work with people in your own department. Typically, your day-to-day network has expanded to include colleagues from other departments, subsidiaries, even other countries. People that might work in an office, on the move or at home.
So, if you’re scheduling a team meeting, make sure to include a Microsoft Teams meeting in every meeting request so that everybody in your team can join, no matter where they are. As you’re meeting, ask people to switch on video so that you truly are meeting in a ‘face-to-face’ environment. Make sure to switch on live captions so that people who aren’t fluent in your language can follow the meeting as well. Finally, record the meeting so that people that can’t attend, are able to view the recording retrospectively and stay up to speed on decisions and actions.
And while we’re on the topic, encourage your team to collaborate and share ideas in their own language in the chat or channels. Using the Translate functionality, everybody in the team can translate the message to their base language. This way, everybody can be confident about sharing ideas and comments and be a contributor in the team.
So, whether you’re working from different offices, temporarily working from home, or from a customer site, Teams will help you remain productive from anywhere.
But be sure to set personal boundaries and optimise your work hours in a way that best suits you. It’s easy to do this by setting ‘quiet hours’ and ‘quiet days’ – another really useful feature available in your Microsoft Teams mobile
In short, if you take a little time to get to know Microsoft Teams and its many work-enhancing functions, it will repay you many times over by enabling you and your team to be a more productive and cohesive whole – despite distance, location and the demands of these transformative times. And that’s good for morale as well as business whatever device you work on.
IN A NUSHELL!
What is Microsoft Teams?
Teams is Microsoft’s take on chat-based communication for business; Teams is also Microsoft’s answer to competing platforms such as Slack and Zoom. As of April 2020, Microsoft Teams had 75 million daily active users.
In its simplest form, the service allows users to set up Microsoft Teams, each of which is essentially a hub for group chat rooms, which are called channels (conversations).
Multiple chat rooms or channels can be created within a Team, and to help keep chats easy to follow, conversations are threaded, flow from top to bottom, and notify users of updates. If users need face-to-face conversation, they can jump straight into voice or video chats with other channel participants with a single click. The number of participants in a regular Microsoft Teams group video chat is now a maximum of 250.
How do I use Microsoft Teams? As well as the chat-based communications, Teams’ integration with other Microsoft services allows users access to shared files and calendars, collaborative editing, and easy switching between voice, video, and text chat.
When and where is Microsoft Teams available? Microsoft Teams is available to Microsoft 365 customers and supports 93 languages and dialects.
How do I get Microsoft Teams? Microsoft Teams is enabled by default for most organisations using Microsoft