Remote work keeps growing by leaps and bounds. Mass lockdowns have led to an increase in the number of remote workers. Now, employers realize that most tasks can be carried out effectively from the comfort of one’s home.
Thus, remote work will keep on growing in the foreseeable future. Many concerns come up as a result, regarding employee collaboration. Teamwork determines success, and that is not about to change soon.
Employers have to strike a balance when it comes to remote work and keeping teams in sync. Microsoft knows this all too well and has a viable solution: Teams. Microsoft Teams is more than a communication means. Think of it as a virtual office space best suited for startups.
So, yes, you need Microsoft Teams going forward. Find out more on what it is all about, its features, and advantages.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration app built with small businesses, individuals (teachers, students, freelancers), and corporates in mind. It is great to use for those working with files such as those in the office 365 package. Key features include VoIP, video chat, text plus Sharepoint Microsoft office integrations.
You can opt for the free version of Microsoft Teams or the premium version with advanced features. Both allow for real-time communications and file collaborations via multiple platforms. Platforms include a desktop app, web app, and mobile apps for iOS and Android.
The whole idea was conceptualized in 2016 when Microsoft set out to replace Skype for Business. The initial idea was to buy Slack, an app of similar functions but was shelved and replaced with the Microsoft Teams app, built from the ground up. The goal now is to grow it to a built-in workplace for Microsoft’s Windows operating system.
A major milestone worth mentioning is Microsoft Teams for Education. It allows teachers to create virtual classrooms. Capabilities to create assignments or quizzes and grade them virtually are possible through Microsoft forms.
10 Microsoft Teams Features You Should Know About:
- Real-Time Communication
With the chat option on teams, you get to contact fellow employees instantly. Unlike email where you have to track replies, this offers a great one-to-one experience. There’s also the option of group chats for those working on a specific task.
Microsoft Teams takes categorized communication to a whole new level by introducing a fun part. Unlike plain emails, on Teams, you can share a GIF and add that emoji in place for facial expressions. Adding some kick and life into conversations.
- Built-In Planner App
Through API integrations, you can link up most of the productivity apps available. However, if you want the planner app in itself, you just have to add it onto your Microsoft Teams app list.
Other apps easily addable to teams include OneNote and Power BI. This turns your workspace into an unmatchable productivity space.
- Microsoft Suite Integration
Switching workspaces and tabs leaves one exhausted if not confused. Thus, anything that brings everything into one place is more than welcome. If you relate, Microsoft Teams will have a positive impression on you.
Like the whiteboard at your offline workspace, Teams allows for real-time brainstorming and idea tracking. You also get to share files on the instant with side notes for better explanations. Pinning is another outstanding feature that allows you to highlight things that need attention.
- Meeting Scheduling
The Outlook integration on Teams works like an efficient personal assistant would. Maybe more, for it keeps track of your calendar and schedules meetings accordingly. Based on the information from emails, it also makes sure there are no overlaps.
Microsoft Teams also comes with the option of integrating other scheduling apps too. Thus, you can integrate your favourite meeting scheduler.
- Meeting Backgrounds
Yet another fun factor on the Microsoft Teams app. With the rise of work from home hours, often you see kids popping as their parents hold that all-important meeting. To solve this problem, you can now choose from the many backgrounds provided on Teams.
Other than providing pomp and colour some backgrounds easily fit into the meetings’ themes. They also effectively keep distractions at bay. Think of that one time you saw some stained wall in the background and you could no longer concentrate.
- Activity Feed
On the start of your working days, you get to see who said what and the ensuing responses. You also get a detailed to-do list and anything that needs your attention thanks to mentions.
The activity feed on Microsoft Teams gives updates on the go. Hardly will you miss anything that needs your attention.
- Call From Multiple Devices at Your Convenience
Microsoft Teams works on multiple devices from which you can make calls. So long as the device has a working microphone you are good to go. Luckily, most devices nowadays come with inbuilt microphones.
Even when on the go, you can make a call from your mobile app. You’re probably thinking this can impede your free time. You are in full control, thanks to the “do not disturb” feature.
- Organized Communication
We all know email gets cluttered up quite quickly. Even with the introduction of relevant tabs, you often find yourself overwhelmed by message volume. Therefore, it can prove hard most of the time to find that one email.
Microsoft Teams beautifully tackles that challenge. Take, for instance, a company dealing with marketing. On the app, you can segment various teams into channels as per the tasks they perform.
In the channels, you can then add subtopics for better refinement in the communication process. For example, under outreach, you can have the subtopics email and cold calling.
- Video Calling
Setting up video calls proves a daunting task for many on most platforms. Not the case with Microsoft Teams.
When invited to a meeting, all you do is click on the join button and you are all set. Should you want to create a meeting, it is as simple as pressing the meet now button. Should your device prompt you for permissions, allow accordingly.
- Enhanced Security
Ever sent some sensitive documents to the wrong recipients? This could cost you greatly.
With Microsoft Teams internal file-sharing systems, you can at least be assured it goes to the right recipients. The developers did not stop at that. There are elaborate measures to secure all documents and messages sent via the app.
5 Key Benefits of Using Microsoft Teams for Startups
Any serious startup gauges what it stands to benefit from any engagement. The same case applies to the purchase of productivity tools. Thus, a startup considering Microsoft Teams would want to know what benefits they will reap.
- Clearer Focus on Projects
Management often needs to take a step back and watch the orchestra that is business. This is only achievable where projects get broken down to specifics and elaborate systems put in place.
The teams get to focus solely on assigned tasks with minimal distractions. Management, on the other hand, has an easy time when it comes to reviewing progress.
- Seamless Integrations
In the remote work scene, companies often use more than one productivity tool. It is natural that startups will look at the possibility of integrations when sourcing a workspace. More to it, the integrations have to work with little effort.
Systems that need too much time to set up eat on valuable time and get avoided as a result. Microsoft Teams clearly understands this fact. Right from tool integrations to team members onboarding you will have it easy.
- Improved Communication
Poor communication disadvantages to productivity. A team not in sync or scarce in some details often fails. To tackle this, Microsoft Teams puts all communication channels centrally.
From one single dashboard, you can keep track of updates, and to-do lists. On the same dashboard, you can share and co-work on files. That this works on the instant adds to the efficiency.
- Active Support and Constant Upgrades
When choosing an online system, you often wonder whether the service will be up and running in the coming days. With Microsoft Team’s robust tech department, that is a worry you won’t have soon.
Even during the pandemic, Microsoft keeps rolling out new updates to the app. A recent update being the call merge function. You can have an eye out for new stuff when using Microsoft Teams.
- Bots To Improve on Productivity
In the age of artificial intelligence, it is hard to take any company seriously that does not invest in some form of it. Bots are one great way of handling repetitive tasks. You get to choose from the many bots available on Teams and there is an option to create your own.
The bots appear in Microsoft Teams like any other team member would. The difference being bots have an icon that is hexagonal. Bots also stay online throughout.
Collaborating on Microsoft Teams with your employees increases remote team productivity without a doubt. The very simple act of segmenting team functions into channels maximizes attention. A small group handles one task to the best of their abilities and that spirals into success for the entire team.
Unlike email, Microsoft Teams has less clutter. This makes it easy for team members to track down previous conversations. The tag function in conversations also makes it easy to determine what needs attention.
That said, it is clear that Microsoft Teams was built in consideration of productivity enhancement. With constant updates, one can only expect better and easier-to-use additions in the future.
As with any other system, initial use comes with a few challenges. However, when you get the hang of it, you get to fall in love. After using it for some time, everything works seamlessly, save for onboarding of new team members.
Bryan Osorio is a Blogger, SEO enthusiast, Content Marketer, and Digital Marketer with 3 years of experience within the Tech and Digital Marketing Industry. He likes to read, write and talk about Science, Technology, AI, Video Games, World News and more. He studied Psychology at the National University of Colombia and enjoys writing about leadership, remote work, team motivation and others. LinkedIn