Microsoft Teams can transform the way remote teams communicate and collaborate. The application comes with robust security features that maximize data protection using end to end encryption. Your organization’s teams can maximize productivity by taking advantage of features like note-taking, instant messaging, meeting whiteboards, file sharing, and workspace chat.
My team at CTECH Consulting Group in Calgary, Canada put together this quick user guide to help you make the most of Microsoft Teams.
The platform also integrates with tools like GitHub and Cloudbot for Azure. Teams allows guest access for anyone with a Microsoft 365 account. This feature eliminates the need for your organization to obtain additional licenses when inviting guests to your organization’s Teams hub.
Sharing screens and recording meetings are some of the essential features your teams can use on the platforms. The best part is that Microsoft offers a 99.9 percent service-level agreement (SLA) uptime for the unified communication and collaboration app.
Using Microsoft Teams
Teams offers a wide variety of features for both users and administrators. It allows managers to gain insights on usage patterns through analytics reports. Additionally, it maximizes control through admin settings that help align policies with access controls. By creating a Team for your organization, you automatically obtain a matching SharePoint site, shared OneNote, Planner, and Microsoft 365 group.
These integrations provide multiple collaboration benefits, including centralizing your team’s data and sharing documents. The app is available via mobile and desktop devices, which ensures flexibility for your team members.
Teams and channels
Setting up your Teams for collaboration takes a few minutes. You need to enter the name of your team and description before adding members. Automatic integration with tools like OneNote and MS 365 allows you to skip this part.
In the subsections of Teams, you can create multiple channels dedicated to specific tasks or projects, such as a marketing or product launch channel. Depending on your preference, you may designate the Team as a company and list departments under individual channels.
On the Chat window, it is possible to engage in one-on-one interactions or team chats. The window also features details of files shared by your colleagues. New members can access files, previous conversations, and other content shared between members in the Team’s hub. This level of access is useful during the onboarding process as it eliminates the need to select individual files to share with new members.
By clicking on the Compose Box in the chat window, you start conversations with your colleagues. Messages can incorporate emojis, stickers, and giphys. The threaded messages feature in Microsoft Teams is crucial when you are looking to focus on a specific message and exclude unrelated topics.
Chats between members of your Team are searchable. To tag specific individuals or groups, use the @mentions. In doing so, you conveniently notify participants and groups about particular topics that require urgent attention. The tagged participants will see a red @ symbol and receive notifications via the desktop app.
Shared calendars allow your teams to collaborate more effectively. You can rely on the feature to schedule meetings, view various team activities, and meet deadlines. Using the Scheduling Assistant enables you to pick the best dates to invite participants based on their availability.
To create a Group Calendar, simply sign in to your Outlook account and copy the URL in the address bar, which appears when you reach the calendar view. Proceed to paste the URL when adding a website in the Microsoft Teams channel menu. Clicking the ”+” icon in the menu reveals the add a website option.
Once you create the Group Calendar, all members can access the team schedules. They can also add relevant events to the calendar and edit descriptions. Meanwhile, the calendar feature syncs data from Outlook to ensure convenience.
Do not disturb mode
Teams offers a wide array of useful commands, including the do not disturb mode. It lets you block notifications when you are busy, thus preventing distractions. To activate the mode, enter ”/dnd” in the search bar.
As a result, you focus on meetings or one-on-one conversations without distractions from pop-up alerts. Once you are ready to receive notifications, enter ”/available” in the search bar to deactivate the do not disturb mode in Microsoft Teams.
Additional commands you can use in Teams include:
- /Call – initiates a call with a team member
- /Files – provides quick access to a list of files recently shared with you
- /Help – access technical assistance via T-bot
- /GoTo – allows quick access to a specific channel
- /Saved – shows a list of saved messages in Microsoft Teams
Intercompany collaboration with universal channels
If you regularly communicate with people outside your company, you can benefit from universal channels. Microsoft Teams lets you chat seamlessly with external contacts who use apps like Slack and Cisco’s Webex. This flexibility eliminates the need to switch to different apps when communicating with clients, suppliers, or contractors.
Mio collaborative channels enable the interoperability by translating messages across the apps. This tool is available for free if you are planning to create not more than three channels.
With the immersive reader, your team can take advantage of text to voice functionality. The feature is useful when you need to multitask, for instance, writing down notes while listening to a message’s contents. To activate the immersive reader in Microsoft Teams, click on the three dots appearing on any message and select the immersive reader.
Teams lets you bookmark relevant content for future reference. It can bookmark attachments and messages that you need to complete specific tasks. This feature is vital when you receive a large number of messages and attachments. By bookmarking content, you keep your workflow well organized. In the end, you maximize efficiency and productivity.
Microsoft Teams comes with meeting whiteboards where you can share ideas with colleagues. Whiteboard sketching enables real collaboration in that everyone sees their contributions on the screen. It differs from the screen sharing feature, which only shows content shared by an individual. With the whiteboard, all participants can draw, erase, and share ideas on the board.
If your remote teams speak different languages, you can take advantage of the built-in translator in Teams. The translator breaks down barriers by ensuring clear communication regardless of location and language. It translates messages during virtual one-on-one or group meetings. If the translator does not appear in the menu, request your administrator to activate it for you.