These days we are all working remotely with someone, so having the right tool is important. In this article we are going to describe some of the Microsoft Teams benefits and point you in the direction to download the tool if you feel it meets your needs.
Microsoft Teams Benefits
You may have heard of the primary feature which allows you to hold a virtual meeting with as many as 250 people. Hold a Teams Live Event and you can kick that max limit up to 10,000! You can find the other very generous max limits on the Microsoft website. The ability to speak with each other, share video and desktop screens, chat, mute people who are being noisy and many other video conferencing features which we will discuss in other articles, make Microsoft Teams a very powerful tool for holding virtual meetings. However, there is more to working remotely with a team that is needed to be successful.
Consider the additional Microsoft Teams benefits of simply being able to access all your work from both a Windows operating system on your desktop and an iPhone in your pocket. Then consider creating a Team with which you can share and edit documents in real-time, schedule meetings or hold impromptu meetings on the fly, manage tasks and collaborate on various efforts, organize those various efforts into Channels and with the endless integrations of tools outside of Microsoft you can truly customize the system to your needs. Typically, a Team is created based on a common interest (i.e. planning a company-wide annual meeting). The members of the Team may have different roles which require different permissions, and this is all customizable.
There may be sub-groups responsible for specific events (i.e. meals, presentations, transportation, etc.) which can be organized into Channels within the Team. Often the integrated SharePoint site is used to collect documents and other files related to the Team that everyone can access and edit in one place. If these are Office 365 files such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint files, everyone on the team can access them to add their input in REAL-TIME, no need to pass versions of documents around through email. All meetings have the option to be recorded so that team members unable to attend can catch up later. These videos are automatically saved in Stream which is similar to a fully integrated YouTube channel for your team. If I was to stop here most readers would already see the Microsoft Teams benefits very clearly, but let’s keep going!
Do you like to make lists? Most teams do, so included in the Microsoft Teams downloads is a tool called Planner which allows you to create tasks, assign them to members of the team, create due dates and allow anyone on the team to update the status. This allows everyone on the team to have a good idea of the progress being made, minimizing unnecessary meetings.
That chat feature that you use while in a meeting is going to be available anytime so you can ask questions of the group and get a quick response. Make a comment for the whole group and direct it at specific individuals with something like:
“Great work everyone! I really appreciate how @crystal and @rodney took the initiative to find another bakery when the first flaked on us ?”
This chat feature all by itself is a very useful tool which we will discuss in more detail in another article.
I am a big fan of using whiteboards to brainstorm and quickly capture ideas, so Microsoft Whiteboard is one of those tools that gives me that flexibility I need to collaborate with others when working remotely, while also keeping the ideas saved for editing later. Access on a touch screen device with a pen and you can get your ideas down quickly. Working remotely has never been easier now that these very powerful tools are easily accessible.
Have you ever built a Wiki? Well you can now with the integrated Wiki tab in Teams. It can be a powerful solution for collecting information and organizing it for a group of people. However, the integration with OneNote may be even better. OneNote has it’s own application, web editor and mobile app so you have a bit more flexibility in how you add and edit the content. Yes, OneNote can easily be added as a tab at the top of Teams as well.
Oh wait, there’s more!
As you start to play around with Teams you notice that you can add tabs across the top. This opens up a whole new world of Microsoft Teams Downloads apps that may be beneficial for you and the team as you all are working remotely. Consider integrating a Visio workflow, maybe a PowerBI dashboard or a Form to regularly collect information from the team. At the time of this writing there are 927 apps that can be easily integrated into your Microsoft Teams environment allowing you to customize workflows for everyone. Let me be clear, you do not need all these apps to function effectively, and the sheer number of apps can be overwhelming. This is where Utility Alliance Partners can help.
The way you and your team works is unique and if you are like most teams, has evolved from one workflow to the next based on an idea, new tool or an experiment along the way. This is a good thing in that it shows you are flexible and open to the continuous improvement process. These days it’s almost required as new tools are being developed every day. However, without a change management strategy in place you may just continue to experiment without any actual process efficiency improvement. This can become exhausting for your team when it appears that there isn’t a clear direction in mind. Eventually you may start to notice the team is resisting change which can ultimately lead to conflict, turn-over and project delays.
Consider a free consultation to discuss your current workflow, any specific goals you have for process efficiency improvement or any roadblocks you are facing which may be holding your team back. We have a wide variety of experience and we love to share! A new perspective may be all that’s needed to save you from another failed experiment.
Microsoft Teams Downloads – Desktop
As mentioned above, you can use the tool on both your desktop and your mobile devices, on many different platforms. Obviously it will work on a Windows operating system, but you’ll be pleased to know that Microsoft Teams works on all major environments including Android, iOS, Linux and macOS.
Microsoft Teams Downloads – Mobile
If you have a smart phone, you can use it to access Microsoft Teams. Interestingly the Microsoft Teams app is available for iOS and Android mobile devices, but as of July 2018 it was discontinued on the Windows Phones…idk?