Microsoft Teams has been all the rage lately. Countless businesses and organizations have had to adapt to a ‘new normal’ brought on by the COVID 19 pandemic and a major part of that has been trying to optimize remote working arrangements. Our team of IT experts have been helping organizations optimize Microsoft Teams for business since long before the pandemic hit. But now, with more and more organizations moving online, we’re hoping to put our expertise to use and help professional teams in all industries get started with Microsoft Teams.
In this article we’re going to go over all the main features that are built into Microsoft Teams and explore the useful tools and functions built into each feature. Our hope is that by reading this article and watching the attached training video, your migration to remote work on Microsoft Teams will feel less overwhelming. Even better? You’ll have a solid idea of how to optimize the application so your team can stay more productive than ever – even in these unpredictable times.
Here’s the thing: we’re big fans of Microsoft Teams. We’ve seen countless clients reap concrete business benefits from deploying the application. But, like with any technology, the only way you’ll see those benefits is if you understand the basic features of the app and how to optimize them.
Microsoft Teams is great because it brings together and centralizes a variety of useful features designed to optimize operations and boost productivity. The interface is also true to the Microsoft brand – familiar and user-oriented. In order for your organization to get the most out of this trusted remote-work solution, we’ve created a guide to help you understand and optimize each feature the app has to offer.
Here’s everything you need to know about the best Microsoft Teams features:
Teams & Channels
First and foremost, let’s talk about the core features of the Microsoft Teams application. Organizations can create Teams and Channels. A Team is a collection of people, content, and tools that are all based on a specific project or department. Teams can be company-wide or specified to focus on certain projects or remain accessible to only certain team members.
Teams themselves are made up of Channels, which are the central hub where work gets done. Think of it like this, Teams are houses and Channels are different rooms in a Team house. All Teams have a general channel by default, which is where all members of the team can send messages, share files, collaborate, make announcements, book meetings, and more. Additional channels can be added to a team to reflect a specific topic, project, department, smaller work groups, or fun initiatives.
Here’s a some tips for optimizing the Teams and Channels features:
Chat is the communication hub on Microsoft Teams. Using the Chat feature, users can start a conversation with one or more members of the organization and can also make video or audio calls directly from the Chat hub. The Chat hub is great because it allows users to talk privately with a specific person or group of people and the conversations don’t have to take place within an existing Team or Channel.
In the Chat hub, users can send chat messages, make video or audio calls, start screen sharing, add additional users to the conversation, and more. Chat is fully equipped for sending photos, files, emojis, GIFs and more. Think of it this way, Chat functions as a centralized and streamlined way for organizational members to get in touch with each other, send quick updates or requests, and keep communication moving.
Here are some tips for optimizing the Chat feature:
The Calendar feature in Microsoft Teams is where you can get a birds-eye-view of your day or your week. This allows you to see anything and everything that you have lined up for a given day or week, and is a quick and easy way to check what free time you have available for anything new that comes up.
You can also use the Calendar feature to easily create and schedule new meetings. All you have to do is choose the ‘New Meeting’ option and then you can give the meeting a title, set the date and time, add important location or agenda details, and invite attendees – even guests from outside your organization. You can even choose whether you’re scheduling a one-time or recurring meeting.
Here are some tips for optimizing the Calendar feature:
The Command Box
The Command Box is basically the control panel of your entire Teams interface. The Command Box always remains at the top of your screen, wherever you may be working in Teams. You can use The Command Box to search your entire Teams hub and find specific files, people, Channels, Teams, Calendar meetings, and Chat conversations.
However, the Command Box isn’t just a search bar. You can also use it to take quick actions and launch applications. This means when you’re trying to find important information, get work done quickly, or switch between different parts of the Team platform, you can always do so easily right at the top of your screen.
Here are some tips for optimizing The Command Box:
The Files tab is where all files that have ever been shared in a Team or on a Channel are stored and accessed. You can also use the Files tab to upload new files and assign them to a specific Team or Channel. There are also a whole variety of sharing, editing, and collaborating options.
The Apps tab is where you can view and launch a variety of additional applications that are integrated with Microsoft Teams. Depending on the nature of the work you’re doing, you can easily bring in other helpful applications to streamline workflow and boost productivity from one central hub.
The Profile icon is in the upper right hand corner of your Teams interface. This is where you can customize settings, change your availability status, add a profile photo, and make other key changes regarding your own Teams profile.
We hope this guide and training video have been helpful and made you feel a little more comfortable jumping into Microsoft Teams with both feet. As always if you have questions or need additional guidance, our team of IT professionals would be happy to dig a little deeper and offer a more personalized Microsoft Teams consultation. We have plenty of experience helping organizations customize and optimize Microsoft Teams to meet their industry-specific needs. If you need a hand, we’ve got you covered!
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