Microsoft Teams has become one of the world’s top communication and collaboration platforms for business. Around 300,000 organisations and 115 million workers use Teams every day to stay connected with their colleagues, collaborate on projects and get work done.
Microsoft Teams has become so popular due to its inclusion with Microsoft 365, providing a cost-effective video and voice calling solution which integrates with the entire Microsoft Office suite.
And with home and remote working on the rise, the cloud-based Microsoft 365 solution is a powerful platform which sits are the heart of operations in businesses and organisations the world over.
However, while Teams has increased in popularity over the past few years, many businesses still aren’t using it to its full potential. There are several hidden features which, if utilised correctly, can help streamline operations, increase efficiency and enhance productivity.
Here, we take a closer look at some of the things you can do to ensure your business and users make the most of Microsoft Teams.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a chat-based collaboration tool that facilitates better communication and project management. It’s an ideal platform for businesses of all sizes, as it offers a variety of features that make teamwork easier. Teams provides a place for all your users’ conversations, content and tools in one place. Your staff can use it to do many things, including:
- Create channels to keep conversations organised and focused on one topic
- Set up project-specific user groups
- Make and record voice and video calls
- Add files from their computer or cloud storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive
- Use tabs to keep track of essential information without having to switch between windows or applications
- Stay in touch with one another with instant chat
- Share files, photos and documents
- Coordinate tasks and create to-do lists
- Get quick answers from the web with built-in search tools
- Stay up to date with what’s happening with notifications
Since its launch in March 2017, Microsoft Teams has been on the rise as a top choice for online communication and collaboration. The platform offers a range of features and benefits that can be extremely valuable for businesses of all sizes.
One of the main benefits of Microsoft Teams is that it can help to increase productivity among team members. The platform provides a central location for all team communication and file sharing, and offers a variety of features that make it easy for team members to collaborate effectively.
Its threaded conversation feature, for example, ensures that all team communication is saved and easily accessible. Team members can communicate via chat instead of email, which can help to reduce email overload. And its chat feature is a great way to share ideas quickly.
It also offers increased flexibility for businesses. The platform allows teams to easily communicate and collaborate regardless of their location or time zone.
You can easily schedule meetings and invite participants, and the meeting tools make it easy to take notes, record transcripts and share them with participants afterwards.
Additionally, businesses can choose from a range of subscription plans to find the right fit for their needs.
How to make Microsoft Teams work harder for your business
Microsoft Teams came into its own during the coronavirus pandemic. As many companies were forced to close their doors because of lockdowns, platforms like Teams became the only way businesses could stay connected with their ‘work from home’ staff.
Although COVID restrictions have wound down and businesses are starting to return to normal, remote working is here to stay.
Businesses of all sizes have realised that there are benefits to be had from allowing their staff to work more flexibly, and are using tools like Microsoft Teams to ensure this remains effective.
So, setting up Microsoft Teams in the right way to make sure your business reaps the full benefits is vital. Here are a few of the features your business should be using:
One of Microsoft Teams’ most useful features is that it retains all conversations and messages by default, so your users always have a record of every communication. However, this can lead to a big build-up of conversation history over time, which can be difficult to navigate if your people need to find important messages or information in a hurry. To make finding important items from posts, conversations or chats easier, they can ‘bookmark’ them by right-clicking on the item in question and selecting the ‘Save Message’ option from the dropdown menu. To view bookmarked content, users simply click their profile icon in the top corner and select ‘Saved’, which will display all flagged items.
Integrate with Outlook
Accidentally missing, losing or deleting an important email happens to everyone. With the number of emails most people receive every day, keeping on top of a cluttered inbox can be challenging. Microsoft Teams offers so many unique ways of communication – including conversations and private chats – that it can help reduce your business’ reliance on traditional email. Teams and Outlook integrate well and allow users to create or forward emails from the latter to the Teams environment for an entire team to view. This enables your teams to have open, real-time conversations within Teams about a specific email, rather than doing it via Outlook and trying to keep track of everyone’s responses in a long email chain.
Coordinate group chats
While the group chats feature in Teams is extremely useful and helps keep conversations focused on a particular project or topic, they can be hard to keep track of, especially if the same people are involved with different chats or projects. To make chats easier to find, you can give each one a name. When you add people to a new chat, it will show their user names by default. However, once you have set a new group up, if you click the pencil icon next to the group members, you can give the group a title – such as the project name or something else relevant to the conversation. Your team members can also pin these titles to the top of their chat lists to save having to search for them.
Create meeting transcripts
One of Teams’ most commonly used features is the ‘Record Meetings’ function, which enables users to take an audio or video recording of a call. However, another powerful tool that isn’t as widely used is the ‘Transcribe’ feature, which produces a text transcript of an audio conversation. To do this, your users can open the recording in Stream (search the Apps menu for it). And, in the edit option, under video language, choose English and select ‘Autogenerate a caption file’ and click apply. The next time the video is viewed, it will show the transcript created from the meeting’s dialogue.
Your users can connect Microsoft Teams with thousands of apps to help improve their experience, automate workflows and integrate with other cloud tools and platforms. Trello, SharePoint, Dropbox and OneDrive are just a few of the productivity tools that Teams can integrate with, but it can also integrate with social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. New native and third-party apps are being added all the time, so it’s worth spending time searching the app store to see what tools are available that are relevant to your business, niche or sector that can help streamline the way your users work.
How can Quintech help?
If your business is already using Microsoft Teams, or if you’re thinking of upgrading to Microsoft 365, Quintech can ensure you reap the full benefits that Teams provides.
As your technology partner, we can advise you on the best ways to deploy and use Teams across your organisation to help you make the most from your investment in this powerful communication and collaboration platform.
Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you achieve improvement through technology.