GENERAL

Making Microsoft Teams Work for You

Microsoft has worked hard to improve functionality and ease of use on Teams and it shows. There are many ways you can make Teams work for you and make your user experience seamless and efficient.

Organizational Features of Teams

Teams is split into multiple functional areas, making it easy to streamline and process, if you know what you’re doing. You have the ability to join and create multiple teams, both with people inside and outside your organization. Each team acts as its own workgroup, allowing for storage of files, chat between members and even organization into subteams, called channels. 

The ability to organize yourself into teams and channels is extremely useful, but make sure you are setting alerts to meet your needs. Go into Teams’ settings and make sure you are getting alerts for channels that are important to you and hiding those that are not. As you end up on teams, you’ll want to make sure you prioritize those that are most important to you, by moving them to the top of the “your teams” list or hiding those that aren’t regularly utilized. 

Teams’ Storage Features

The storage feature and ability to create Office documents directly in a team are extremely useful features as well. Utilizing this feature will  help you stay organized and make it effortless for multiple team members to collaborate at the same time. You can also access these documents from your personal Onedrive, which is a great feature, as long as you realize this is what you’re doing. Take note of what you’re accessing in your personal Onedrive and understand that any changes you make here will carry over to the Teams version.

Calls and Chats on Teams

Communication has also been streamlined with teams, especially using chat and calls. You can now even utilize a Microsoft phone system to integrate your PBX with Teams, making Microsoft your primary platform for collaboration and communication across the board. This has the added benefit of you not having to switch between devices to make calls as well as storing all of your calls and history directly in Teams. 

Chat threads are stored in Teams as well. Recent chats show up on the left side of your screen. This list consists of chats from every meeting that you’ve attended or said you were going to attend, as well as chats that you’ve created to quickly ask a question of colleagues. Meeting chats showing up here is hugely beneficial, as you can continue to collaborate with those you’ve met with after the meeting, or return to find information you might need when working later. 

Because all are saved, the sheet number of chat threads can feel overwhelming and disorganized. You can pin chats that you use regularly. You can also rename them, making it easier to figure out which thread is which. When you rename, it changes the name for everyone, so make sure you rename appropriately. Also note that meeting chats default to a more passive notification than chat threads you’ve created outside a meeting. If you want to receive alerts for these threads, you must change the settings. 

The Mobile App

Microsoft has also made huge improvements to its Teams app, making it worth downloading and using on your mobile device. Here you can access most features of the desktop version, including chat, individual teams and meetings. Just make sure that if you’ve downloaded the app, you are setting boundaries and taking time away from work. You can do this easily by setting quiet hours and quiet days in Teams’ mobile settings. 

It’s also easy to join meetings on the go, and if you get to your desktop workstation and want to switch devices, Microsoft has made that effortless too. You can now seamlessly switch between any device without hanging up the call. Just join the meeting with your new device and Teams will ask you if you want to switch devices or join independently.

Teams has really changed the way work is accomplished, and with a few refinements, you can make Teams work for you.