With the fast pivot to an all-remote work environment back in March, many organizations — including Xgility — turned to Microsoft Teams for business continuity so their workforce could remain productive and engaged as they work from home. In fact, Microsoft announced in April that Teams had more than 75 million daily active users — and two-thirds of them have shared, collaborated, or interacted with files on Teams as well. Now, that’s a LOT of users!
At Xgility, we discovered firsthand that the swift shift to an all-remote environment was overwhelming. And, like many organizations, we had to learn how to leverage Microsoft Teams in new ways — even beyond the basics functionality of meetings, calls, and chats — to communicate, collaborate, and engage with our coworkers, teams, clients, and partners as we began working remotely.
Based on the lessons we learned and questions from our clients, we started our Microsoft Teams Essentials webinar series to share ways to help organizations make the most out of Microsoft Teams in the short-term while working from home — whether or not their employees were new to Microsoft Teams.
During the webinars, JoAnna Battin, Xgility’s Director of Strategy & Advisory Services AND Teams expert, demonstrates and explains how key features and functionality can be used to help your organization actively connect, chat, meet, co-edit in real-time, share files, and collaborate even if your employees aren’t in the same location.
Think of Microsoft Teams as Your Virtual Workplace
Even before the pandemic, many organizations begin using Teams for just online meetings and chats but aren’t aware of all its capabilities. Teams is a powerful platform and filled with robust features and functionality — think of it as a secure, virtual workspace — that combines meetings, calls, chat, and collaboration into a single tool. So, it is important to keep the combined functionality in mind as you think of how to use Teams in multiple ways when working with your team and coworkers.
Watch the Recorded Webinars
In case you missed the live webinars, we’ve provided the recorded Microsoft Teams Essentials webinar videos below so you can watch them here. We hope you find them useful. Feel free to share with your coworkers and colleagues as well.
Please Note: These webinars were geared towards helping organizations use Microsoft Teams to remain productive in the short-term as we all began working from home and they are by no means a full introduction to all of Teams features and functionality for IT Admins, Teams Admins, or users. However, we hope this practical guidance can be a starting point to help you and your organization be connected, productive, and engaged. For long-term success, we recommend developing and implementing a strategic plan for the governance, deployment, and adoption of Office 365 tools including Microsoft Teams.
Webinar 1: Stay Connected & Engaged with Chats, Messages & Online Meetings
Learn how to strategically communicate in Microsoft Teams. JoAnna shares tips and demonstrates how to use chats, messaging, and meeting functionality — to help you stay connected and engaged while working remotely.
Key Takeaways Include:
- Use the Chat panel for 1:1 or quick small group conversations that don’t require a Team. Chats provide an engaging way to communicate and can easily replace an email. Pro Tip: Give your chat a name to clarify its purpose and to make it easier to find for future reference.
- You can still meet face-to-face with your coworkers – even if you aren’t in the same location – with video conferencing. It’s a great way to still feel like you are connected to your team as well as to avoid feeling isolated. You can share your screen, collaborate on documents, or just catch up.
- For online meetings, turn the video on so your team can interact face to face, feel more connected, and avoid confusion that can occur when there are no visual cues to help you interpret conversations.
- Don’t worry if you have unfolded laundry in the background: Embrace the blur background tool or the new custom background tool.
- Embrace online meeting features: You can share your screen, have chats, take notes, and much more.
- When using the Meet Now feature, give your meeting a title in the “Subject Line” box to help make it easier to find for future reference.
Webinar 2: Creating Teams & Channels for Long-Term Success
JoAnna unravels common confusion around Teams and Channels — the key components for true collaboration within Microsoft Teams. She demonstrates and dives into best practices and key decision points when setting up Teams and Channels to help you set a solid foundation for success now — and prevent sprawl and chaos in the future.
Key Takeaways Include:
- Teams can be created to be private or public. If private, people within your organization need permission to join. If public, anyone within the organization can join (up to 5,000 members).
- Channels are dedicated sections within a team and are designed to keep conversations and files organized by specific topics, projects, etc. — whatever works for your team!
- Admins: Avoid adding too many restrictions around the different features and functionality within Teams. Users will get frustrated — leading to low adoption and the use of third-party tools.
- Admins: Understand the interoperability between Office 365 and Microsoft 365 Groups as well as how Exchange, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business interact with Microsoft Teams (see Resources below for links to learn more). On the back end, every new team you create gets the following resources, dedicated exclusively to the members of that team:
– An Office 365 group
– A SharePoint Online site and document library to store team files
– An Exchange Online shared mailbox and calendar
– A shared OneNote notebook
- Before creating a Team, ask yourself: What’s the purpose of the Team? Who needs access to the information contained within the Team? Should it be a Team or a Channel?
- Think carefully before naming your Team.
- Conversations, files, and notes across team channels are only visible to members of the Team. When you have permission for a Team, you have access to everything within that Team.
Webinar 3: Co-Authoring & File Sharing for True Collaboration
JoAnna demonstrates and explains how to upload and share files, co-author documents, and collaboratively work together within Microsoft Team’s teams and channels, online meetings, calls, and chats so you can stay productive and engaged — no matter your location.
Key Takeaways Include:
There are Many Ways to Collaborate in Microsoft Teams.
Pro Tip: Collaboration does not necessarily mean working on a document at the same time. Try out these different ideas the next time you and your team needs to collaborate on a document or file:
- Share your screen to talk through document changes either in a 1:1 chat or call — or inside a Team or Channel.
- Use the Meet Now function for a Teams call or video meeting so you can speak to your colleague while you co-author a document together in the same file. (Hint: No screen share is required).
- After you edit a document, use the @mention function in conversations pane in a Team or Channel to let people know it is ready for review and revisions.
- Use Conversations Tab inside of a document to provide feedback – without revising the document.
We hope you found the information valuable and that it will help you leverage Microsoft Teams in new ways.
Take a Step Back and Plan for Microsoft Teams Long-Term Success
To gain the widespread adoption of Microsoft Teams across your organization, strategic planning is a key step towards long-term success. If your organization is using Teams without a strategic plan, now is the time to step back and evaluate if your users are truly using it to its full potential.
Our Team is Here to Help
At Xgility, we know what it takes to strategically plan and deploy Microsoft Teams.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, our team has been helping our clients of all sizes successfully roll out Microsoft Teams with unprecedented adoption rates. Contact us today to learn how our team can help your organization get started with Microsoft Teams and provide your workforce with the right tools they need to do their best work. As a Microsoft Gold Partner with vast experience under our belts, we are ready to help. Contact Us Now »
Microsoft Teams Quick Start Guide [PDF]
Microsoft 365 Groups and Microsoft Teams
How Exchange and Microsoft Teams Interact
How SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business interact with Microsoft Teams