If you’re currently staring at 2020 in a slightly stunned state of open-mouthed silence – you’re not alone.
More than halfway through the year and we’re still adapting. Not just from a business perspective but also on a more personal level too.
At the beginning, entire offices went through complete overhauls – almost overnight. Employees got set up at home and as the lockdown continued, we started to exchange temporary setups for something a little more sustainable.
And now, there’s the new normal. A different office with a shorter commute from bed to desk and plenty of home comforts added in.
But the isolation for many, is still very real. And even with a flexible or remote working model, employees can end up feeling boxed up and disconnected from the general hubbub of office life.
Interaction and collaboration are much harder to come by. And the working environment that we’re used to, feels a little out of reach – or does it?
Why Use Microsoft Teams
Even before the lockdown, offices like Evros were already using Microsoft Teams.
More than just a communications platform, the clue is in the name. Teams is made for people who work together.
Perfect for organising workloads and next steps, use it to access shared files, book meetings, plan, talk, collaborate – whatever you need.
And it’s that fantastic level of integration of so many different Microsoft applications that really brings the platform alive.
However, since the lockdown, Microsoft has been giving Teams a lot of attention to help give remote workers what they need to maintain their momentum.
More specifically, giving users more control over their privacy, calls, as well as increased call capacities and all-round greater agility and ease of use, allowing us to work in the way that we want – and need.
So, what are the aspects of Teams that are really benefiting organisations right now?
No one is left out
Teams is all about facilitating collaboration. And with the ability to set up individual groups with their own chats for file sharing, updates and more, you can ensure fluid communication.
Everyone is incorporated and kept up to date on the latest developments.
And more importantly, it means fewer repeated conversations, forwarded emails, and colleagues left in the dark.
There aren’t many of us who love emails. Return from a two-week break and the first dread is the hundreds of emails just waiting for you, clogging up your inbox.
Teams logs your chats so you can scan through previous conversations to find out what you need. Meetings can be recorded so when you’re back, jump to the link and download via Stream. You can even search the transcript to the part that you’re looking for.
New tasks can be assigned to you via Planner, so you know exactly what needs to be done and when. And of course, there’s the joint calendar.
As projects evolve, to-do lists seem to grow and change on a daily basis. And when you’re working on multiple projects, keeping everything siloed and updated for the whole group just ends up turning into an administrative nightmare.
With the integration of SharePoint however, Teams gives you file sharing options with collaborative editing, document creation and a place to keep everything together, hopefully putting an end to any Finalfinalnew.docs…
You can only get so far when trying to describe an idea over the phone. Teams Whiteboard lets you draw out ideas collaboratively so that you can get a picture of what different people are thinking.
You can also save the drawings in the Board Gallery to access at a later date.
Concentration time can be difficult to attain when working in an open office. Similarly, making yourself consistently available on chat and open to calls, can be disruptive when you need to focus.
Presence in Teams allows you to set your status. So, you can be available/green, away/yellow, busy/red or have everything set to ‘do not disturb’. Equally, you can let everyone know when you’re out the office too.
This is not only good for getting stuff done, but it helps your colleagues decide on the best route for any immediate tasks.
Secure your communications
One of Teams’ key differentiators is the level of security that is integrated into the platform. In fact, Teams was built with security at the forefront of its design right from the beginning, which is why it’s such a fundamental part of its architecture.
There are lots of ways that Teams can protect you, your communications and your data which you can read about in more technical detail via the Microsoft Teams Security Guide.
Teams can also be used to host webinars, presentations and talks. And with Citrix HDX Optimisation for Microsoft Teams, we’re already seeing improved interactivity and session responsiveness – which is especially important when you have 250 people on a call at the same time. And when you are ready to go global, Teams live events supports up to 10,000 attendees (soon to be 20,000) with webinars up to 4 hours long
Teams gives you the option of having conversational bots join your call.
These are artificial intelligence applications which can complete tasks using chat-based commands. You can even create a no code bot in Teams, or elsewhere, without writing a single line of code.
You can also add personality to your bot using pre-built chit-chat datasets – ideal for helping you to get stuff done or simply adding a bit of colour to your morning meetings.
One of our favourites is Secretarybot which will go off and find common free times for a meeting with your colleagues.
File sharing, collaboration and virtual team members aside, Teams is a place where you can get together. And when you spend almost as much time with your colleagues as your loved ones – if not more – it highlights just how important it is to stay in touch.
Teams makes it easy to chat to one another, check in with your colleagues and make sure that when you are working remotely, you can still feel like you’re together.
Jump on a call, grab who you need, collaborate or simply sit and have a coffee. Not just a place for work, Teams is a virtual workplace, and you can really make it your own.