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5 Tips to Transform Collaboration with Microsoft Teams

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Peter Sprague, Director of Solutions Engineering
Peter Sprague, Director of Solutions Engineering

Putting apprehensions about ERP projects at ease

Remote-work. Telecommuting. WFH. Whatever you call it, your staff designated as non-essential workers are now probably doing it.  

Working remotely does have its benefits. There’s a good chance for more heads down, uninterrupted work time. 

But the real challenge for managers is how to make your team and workgroups still feel connected when working apart. How do you provide virtual space for collaboration? How can you make those connections that happen organically in the office happen remotely 

Microsoft Teams for Remote Work

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration platform that enables you to chat, meet, call, share docs, and collaborate all in one place. You can use it on a desktop or download it on your mobile phone for anywhere access.  

Blue Horseshoe uses Microsoft Teams for organizing project work. It gives team members a place to store files, streamline communication, manage tasks, and share thoughts and ideas. Teams helps us work better together, even though we’re not always at the same location.  

Best of all, Microsoft is making Teams available to everyone for free to help us all stay connected. 

Here are a few tips from the Blue Horseshoe team to help you get the most out of Microsoft Teams. 

1. Organizing Your Microsoft Teams

Organizing your teams is crucial, since there’s a good chance you’ll be the owner or member of one or more teams. Microsoft defines a team as a group of people gathered to get something done. At Blue Horseshoe, teams typically represent a department or cross-functional work group.   

Each team is made up of channels. Channels help you focus on a specific topic or project. For example, Blue Horseshoe has a Product Development Team, and then different channels for our applications, like Supply Chain Cloud.

Add channels to a team

Add channels to a team

When creating a new channel, you can set the privacy to Standard (whole team access) or Private (limited access). This keeps people focused on the right information and decreases unnecessary notifications. Note that once you create a channel, the privacy settings cannot be changed. 

Create a Private Channel

Edit Privacy Settings

In each channel, you can add apps to help you do more in Teams. You can take the dashboards and tools your team already uses and have them at the ready in your various channels and chats (more about chats in tip 2).  

Add apps to your channels

Add apps to your channels

Use the General channel to house apps with high-level information and the other channels you created for more specific information.  

There’s a lot of apps to choose from and these apps may vary depending on the objectives of your channel.  

Get the apps that benefit your goals

Get the apps that benefit your goals

2. Chat. More than IM

You can do more than just talk with the chat feature.

You can save chat messages

You can save chat messages

Open Chat next to documents you are collaborating on to share thoughts and ideas with each other quickly.  

Open Chat on Documents

Open Chat on Documents

Use the "pop out chat" button to keep communication going while working in other areas of Teams.

3. Getting the most out of Posts

The Posts tab is basically a group chat for members with access to the channel. Send messages and documents, schedule meetings, and see channel notifications all from the Posts tab.

Posts Tab  

The Posts tab is basically a group chat for members with access to the channel. Send messages and documents, schedule meetings, and see channel notifications all from the Posts tab. It’s a quick way to help channel members get up to date on what’s happening.  

Posts Tab

Posts Tab

To make Posts easier to navigate, try the following:  

  • Mentions - Tag or "mention" someone in Posts using @insertname. This will notify them of the conversation you mentioned them in 

  • Subject - Add a subject when creating a new conversation. This keeps the conversation more focused.  

  • Conversation Icons - There are multiple icons under the conversations box. Use these to add personality to your messages, schedule meetings, or share documents  

Conversation Icons

Conversation Icons

4. File-Sharing

The Files tab uses SharePoint to enable you to work directly on your documents within Teams. Now team members are immediately up to date with the latest version and can edit it with you. 

Create new files by clicking + New and editing in Teams or click Upload to add a file from your computer. 

New files

New files

You can switch between editing and view only to lock down your files. Here’s how.

1. Click Open in SharePoint

1. Click Open in SharePoint

 

2. Click the 3 dots of the file or folder you wish to limit access to and select Manage access

2. Click the 3 dots of the file or folder you wish to limit access to and select Manage access 

 

 

 

 

3. Click the drop-down icon and select Can view

3. Click the drop-down icon and select Can view

 

 

 

 

 

5. Teams Meeting Features

Teams meetings give you all the features you need to have a productive meeting. 

Share Content: The share button allows you to share your screen, documents, and gives you access to a meeting whiteboard. The whiteboard gives you and all meeting participants the opportunity to create notes and diagrams.  

Click the share button and select Whiteboard 

Whiteboard App

Video options bar

   

Example of Whiteboard

 

Click the 3 dots icon to pull up a selection of other meeting features:  

  • Meeting Notes - Take notes right on the meeting screen. Notes are shared with participants before, during, and after the meeting 

  • Start video with blur - Messy room? No problem. This feature blurs out the background to help keep the focus on you and not the socks you forgot to pick up  

  • Live Captions - This feature turns your words into text and displays it in the corner of the screen 

  • Start Recording - Recording your meeting is a great option when people can't make it or when there's crucial information being presented that you need remember.   

Get Microsoft Teams

Working at a distance doesn’t mean less collaboration. Teams helps you improve productivity while providing a virtual community.

Get Teams and start working remotely

Microsoft Teams Training

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