5 Microsoft Teams Tips to Boost Productivity
You know there has never been a better time to work remotely.
Think about it for a moment.
Imagine a pandemic had rocked Melbourne in the early 2000s. Back when we used dial-up internet, mobile phones were the size of a brick and your work was done at your desk. And probably with a desktop computer chained to the floor. Let’s not forget we were still sending faxes…
Now, let’s say your boss made the decision that you should work from home. So you pack up your desk in Lonsdale Street. Say farewell to your flat whites from your favourite cafe in Flinders Lane. And drinks on Friday afternoon, soon to be a distant memory.
How would you keep working? In most homes, it wasn’t possible to send an email at the same time as talk on the phone in 2000.
For many Melbourne businesses, when the pandemic occurred in 2020, the transition to remote work was seamless. But that wouldn’t have been feasible just a decade or so ago.
Fortunately, businesses and companies could rely on remote working tools like Microsoft (MS) Teams.
The pandemic has surged the use of MS Teams from 20 million (November 2019) to an astounding 270 million in 2022. As a result, MS Teams has fastly become the leading communication tool for many businesses.
But have you checked that MS Teams is optimised for your business? Here are five simple tips to check that you have set up Microsoft Teams to be successful in your business this year.
How Can Microsoft Teams help you?
The easiest way to think about Microsoft Teams is that it’s your virtual office in the cloud. You see, it’s a central hub where teams can communicate, collaborate and manage work tasks. And you can use MS Teams to communicate externally to other people with video conferencing similar to Zoom Phone (VoIP). Or invite them to chat with you as a guest.
MS Teams offers the following features to drive productivity:
- Siloed chat channels
- Security for team communications
- Integration with Microsoft Office apps
- Integration with 3rd party apps such as Trello
- File sharing
- Video conferencing (or only audio)
- Voice over Internet Phone (VoIP) – available for an extra cost
- Maintain all team resources in a one location
Which Microsoft Teams version do you need?
If you have Microsoft 365 business plan, you will find MS Teams is included in your subscription. But if you are a small business or want to try it out, you can access a free version of Microsoft Teams…, and as a freemium, it has limited some features to its paid plans.
Recently, Microsoft has been promoting MS Teams for personal use, so you can use it for family catch-ups or attend school meetings when you can’t attend in person. And for many, job interviews are now routinely conducted over MS Teams alongside other platforms like Zoom.
Easy Checklist for Setting Up Microsoft Teams
1. Create teams for groups of employees
Sometimes, you can get carried away with new tools, and MS Teams is no exception. However, with a communication and collaboration platform, you may find some of your teams want to set up their groups. If you standardise your approach, you could avoid ending up with mixed-up groups.
Our tips for setting up your teams:
- Group by department (e.g. finance, sales)
- Include a business-wide team (so everyone can contribute)
- Establish teams by role (e.g. accounts manager, executives)
One way to set up teams is to follow the existing hierarchy in your business. And when you do, only the team’s members are authorised users. This means the group is secure, and only authorised users can see or access the content.
2. Add employees to teams
In each of your teams, add the employees you would like to have access to that group. Usually, these would be employees who work in that team or department.
3. Create Channels to communicate and collaborate
One of your employee’s most common frustrations with digital communication tools is how disorganised and noisy they become. Thankfully, MS Teams offers you the ability to streamline conversations into Channels. Using Channels allows discussions to be more focused and stay on topic. In addition, it gives your employees the option to explore topics via Channels…only reading or contributing to the Channel’s issue that’s relevant to that task.
For example, if you have a marketing team set up, you could add three channels:
- Search Engine Marketing
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
Of course, you want to put in controls for creating channels. Otherwise, your teams can create multiple tracks, adding to the confusion and frustration for your employees.
4. Save time with Tabs
To encourage productivity, you can use Tabs. For example, an employee in your marketing team needs access to Google Ads. But, if they don’t know the link or have the login, they ask around the office…wasting time. So, with MS Teams, you can add that link and information to Tabs at the top of the Channel. To do this, click the + sign and add the new resource. Then, your employees can use it immediately.
5. Onboard and train your employees
For your employees to get the most from MS Teams, ensure you invest in regular training. Otherwise, they will likely fall back into old habits and use past methods to work.
You can work with a Microsoft-trained professional to help onboard and upskill your employees, so they get the most from the platform. In addition, many businesses regularly survey or ask for feedback to ensure any knowledge gaps are resolved.
Need help with how to maximise productivity with Microsoft Teams?
You can learn more about how MS Teams can help improve your Melbourne business. We can help you set up MS Teams to boost productivity and offer training to onboard your employees. Contact us for a no-obligation chat.
About the author
Yener is the founder and Managing Director of Intuitive IT. Prior to running his own business Yener worked for a number of corporate organisations where he gained invaluable experience and skills, as well as an understanding of how IT can complement and improve business outcomes.