A few weeks ago, no one could have thought that many companies would have to review all their business processes (which, by the way, they set up not in a single year) and send most of the employees (if not all) to work remotely overnight. Things are even worse if we are not talking about a company with 10 employees, but about large corporations and holdings. The statistics showed that the demand for different collaborative tools and platforms for remote work has boosted during the last few days. And a lot of managers prioritize the question of organizing the effective work of their employees as well as choosing the right tools. One of them we want to discuss in this article — Microsoft Teams. What benefits does this platform have and how can it help you with building the remote working processes?
P.S. The article is based on the experience of Microsoft that was forced to organize the remote work for 50,000 employees in the Seattle area.
Microsoft Teams is one of the newest Microsoft’s services. It was launched just three years ago, on March 14, 2017, and has a pretty interesting history. One year before Teams release, rumors appeared in the press that Microsoft wanted to buy Slack for $8 billion. But Bill Gates was against the deal persuading other managers to focus better on improving Skype for Business. But one internal Microsoft’s hackathon has changed the things — the Teams service was developed. Two months after the release, the service replaced Microsoft Classroom, in September 2017, the company announced that Skype for Business is now also Microsoft Teams.
Today it became known that Teams has surpassed Slack by the number of active users: in July, it had 13 million, on November 20 million, and on March 19, there were 44 million daily users. The reason for such a huge jump is the 2019-1010 coronavirus pandemic.
Initially positioned itself exclusively as a messaging platform, today, Teams is much bigger. The platform has a number of useful features making the service good for different kinds of work, like education or business.
Each team can create a virtual work environment with a specific URL, so only the invited persons can access it. Teams feature allows admins to divide people into groups, communities or classes. Also, every team can set up different channels — topics of conversations. Users can discuss and comment on various posts with text, GIFs, images, and even memes. Direct messages are also supported. By the way, Microsoft Teams can be integrated with various third-party platforms that can even submit the information to Channels (Facebook Pages, MailChimp, and so on). People can also communicate through calls or by creating video conferences.
In this section, we want to tell you how Microsoft Teams can help your company to boost productivity working remotely.
Problem: no office equipment. The first problem that almost all employees face is that people do not have the space for working from home. Here we include the presence of all office equipment, such as printers, scans, and so on.
Solution: file storage in Teams. The solution is that people can effectively exchange and share the documents through the file storage feature in Teams. Users can restrict file access so that only some people that were invited to collaborate can view, edit, download, and comment on them. As for the workspace, we are sure that in your home, you will have a small comfortable corner in the bedroom with flowers and different pillows on the ground, or a table for gaming, or any other place that you like. Imagine that from now it is your office.
Problem: the daily rhythms are getting off. Sleeping, working and resting regimes are very important for our bodies. By the way, this is one of the most important factors affecting our productivity. When a person goes to the office, adhering to the regime is much easier. However, while working from home, people begin to break it.
Solution: communicate with your teammates. At home, it is very important not to lose touch with your colleagues, constantly discuss current problems and make decisions together. For example, make it a habit to gather with colleagues for a cup of morning coffee and to discuss current affairs through a video conference, as well as to mark completed tasks for the day. Microsoft Teams has all the features you need for this. Also, a great option is to create a Channel with all your employees. This will add not only cohesion to the team but also provide a chance to have fun together.
Problem: the absence of physical rooms and “life” communication. This item is closely related to the previous one, however, now we want to focus more on conducting effective meetings. We know that when you are with colleagues in the physical room, then everything is solved much faster and more efficiently. How not to lose this efficiency during remote work?
Solution: sort out the video conferencing feature in Microsoft Teams. Video meetings feature is one of the most powerful options Microsoft Teams has, but only a few people can use it. First of all, make sure that all users have a virtual “join” option on their screen. We highly recommend that all participants turn on not only the microphone but also the camera. In fact, face-to-face communication allows people to feel more connected. Also, record your meetings, it will really help you later and do not forget to send the records to all participants.
We know that among our readers, there are a lot of those who are now working remotely. There are also many managers who need to build new processes for remote work in a very short time. Share your tips and secrets in the comment box below. By the way, not so long ago we published the article where we discussed the future of remote jobs and how today’s situation influences the work organizing in the future. Have some fresh thoughts as well? Click the link.