Microsoft Teams is a platform designed to enhance collaboration, providing space to discuss ideas, hold meetings, and share notes and files with team members. When used efficiently, it helps organize your team’s efforts and increase work productivity. Like any platform, it can take a while to get to grips with everything the application can offer. Here are seven tips to help you get started and drive productivity with Microsoft Teams:

1. Use Microsoft Teams Features to Minimize Distractions

Although Microsoft Teams aims to increase work productivity, it can also be a distraction. This is especially true in the early days, as users get to grips with the software.

To mitigate this, use the features within Microsoft Teams designed to minimize distractions. For example, customize notifications to receive them only when you need to receive immediate updates.

2. Make Use of Apps and Bots to Enhance Productivity

You can customize how you use Microsoft Teams by integrating apps and bots designed to boost work productivity.

For example, Icebreaker is a useful bot to help you establish a new team and build rapport among members. The integration works by selecting two team members each week to get to know each other better. It uses data from their calendars to suggest a mutually convenient time, reducing the effort required from both parties.

On a more practical level, Workbot is a great tool to help you use other applications without leaving Microsoft Teams. This integration reduces time spent hopping between applications to increase productivity.

3. Collaborate on Office Files in Microsoft Teams

How often do you have more than one team member working on a specific file? File-sharing has long been a challenge for document management within organizations, often leading to multiple versions of the same document.

Microsoft Teams changes this, providing an environment to work on files collaboratively. This functionality ensures your team is always working from the most up-to-date version of the document. In turn, this minimizes duplication of effort and increases work productivity.

4. Focus Discussions Using Channels in Microsoft Teams

You don’t need to create a new team for each new project within Microsoft Teams. In fact, doing so can reduce productivity. Employees can become confused and overwhelmed when keeping up with several teams.

Instead, create new channels to focus your discussions and create splinter groups within the main team. Organizing larger teams like this drives productivity, with team members only receiving updates directly relevant to their work.

5. Use OneNote

The integration between OneNote and Microsoft Teams is essential to maximize productivity. Encourage team members to use OneNote to keep track of their meeting notes. They can then share their notes with everyone on the team. This feature ensures team members capture and communicate vital discussions with the rest of the team.

Once the notes have been recorded, they can be organized and stored within the relevant channel in Microsoft Teams. Here, members can continue to access them for the duration of the project.

6. Download the Microsoft Teams Mobile App

To get the most from your team, make sure each team member downloads the Microsoft Teams mobile application. The application will enable them to access the key files and discussions from their mobile device. It also provides them the ability to attend meetings remotely.

The existence of the application doesn’t mean you should expect your team members to be available 24/7. We know time away from work is essential to maintain productivity. Therefore, encourage your team members to set quiet time within the application. This feature ensures notifications do not encroach on their family time.

7. Share Time-Savings Hacks with Your End-Users

There are many hacks you can use within Microsoft Teams to save time and increase productivity. Spend time learning about them before you roll out Microsoft Teams within your organization. Share the most relevant with your employees, including these particularly useful hacks:

  • Use the @mention function. This sends a notification to the tagged team members. It’s useful when one or two team members are delaying progress, encouraging a response from them.
  • Bookmark important messages so they don’t get lost as the conversation progresses.
  • Add guests when you need to add people from outside your organization temporarily.
  • Use shortcuts. For example, using “/files” will bring up a list of your recent files to search through, rather than clicking through folders to find what you’re looking for.
  • Record meetings so team members can refer back to the recording later in the project.
  • Set your status to busy when you don’t want to be interrupted by team members.

Taken together, these tips can help you take your work productivity to the next level. Do you need more support to implement Microsoft Teams within your organization? Contact us to find out how we can help.

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Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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