Microsoft Teams for Improved Office Collaboration

Emails have long been the standard business communication platform. They provide a relatively simple standard platform to communicate with clients, suppliers and internal staff. While still crucial for external business to business communication, there are many benefits to using an internal communication platform.

In this article I will be going over the benefits of Teams, as many businesses are predominantly Microsoft based. Many of these benefits, however, also apply to similar platforms such as Slack and Google chat & meet.

Real Time and Centralised

In contrast to emails, Teams chats are in real time. They allow staff to have quick conversations and avoid lengthy email chains and reply-all email blasts for trivial and non-essential conversations. By separating lighter office conversations and updates, staff can save time organising and sifting through non-essential emails. Allowing them to focus on their work, they can also have less distractions as they can set status’s on teams. Other staff can see they are unavailable and wait to message them until they are ready, in contrast to getting numerous emails while they are in the middle of an important task.

Channels and Groups

Teams allows staff to have quick one on one conversations with each other. The added benefit here is the groups and channels. These can be organised into logical teams so that only the correct people are included. This could include organising by Project, Topic, Department, Location or any other logical separation. It allows team members to participate in only the discussions that are relevant to them.

If team members are part of many groups, they can check them as required. Rather than having an inbox full of emails that may not be relevant to them.

File Sharing and Document Collaboration – Integrated with 365

With many businesses moving to the cloud, SharePoint has become the main document storage location for many organisations. Being part of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, Teams is tightly integrated with SharePoint and OneDrive. This makes it extremely easy to share documents and have them available in Teams. Staff are then able to collaborate in real time, they can work together and leave comments for each other. It makes collaboration seamless if staff are not having to switch between apps to do their work.

Task Management

Teams has an abundance of apps that can be integrated into groups. Some of the most useful apps are task management lists and boards. Many Microsoft subscriptions include To-Do, Planner and Lists. These apps allow you to create lists of tasks for planning and tracking. They offer different views including Kanban options. Microsoft Lists can be especially useful if you still rely on spreadsheets. It can turn these into online, multi-user lists. It supports different views and gives you more of an ‘app’ experience for each board.

Security and Compliance

If your business already relies on the Microsoft 365 ecosystem, Teams includes all of the security controls that you have already setup for Microsoft 365 tenant. You can use the same account and identity, including authentication and MFA to simplify user access to teams. This also helps increase adoption, as staff don’t need additional logins or setup to login and start collaborating teams.

Teams also includes a comprehensive admin portal to apply policies and controls. These help restrict information leaving the organisation and allows access control to manage user access in teams and groups.

Teams is also likely built into your subscription at no extra cost if you are using Business Standard or Premium. By consolidating your subscriptions, you may also be able to save costs using teams. If you are paying for additional services such as Slack, Zoom, and Dropbox.

Virtual Meetings

Teams can assist in helping teams further connect through virtual meetings. Internal teams can have meetings regardless of teams being in different locations or team members working from home. It allows for screen sharing and even interaction, this could be helpful in one-on-one meetings where a manager may need to assist a remote team member. Recording can also enable further engagement and allow staff who were away or unable to attend access to the meeting.

Staff can also hold webinars and external client meetings through teams. Further keeping all your business communication in one central location.

Mobile and portability

Teams can be used on any number of devices including desktops, laptops, phones, tablets, smart displays and meeting room devices. If companies are using Teams as their main communication hub, this allows access on as many devices as possible. It gives staff as much freedom as possible, to be able to join the meeting regardless of how and where they work.

Wrap Up

Teams can become a valuable asset for your business. Implemented properly, it can allow your teams and business to communicate and collaborate more effectively. It can also provide cost savings and a more secure and integrated solution, that allows access to files and resources seamlessly.

If your business could benefit from Teams, SharePoint and 365 more broadly, please get in touch. At FordhamIT we can evaluate and formulate a plan tailored for your business.