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A Comprehensive Guide to Using Microsoft Teams Part 2: Benefits & Best Practices

Microsoft Teams is the tech giant’s contribution to the ever-growing trend of group messaging platforms and multi-channel productivity networks. Specifically targeted for businesses of any size, operating in any industry, Teams has proven itself to be more than just your typical chat application. Its integration with multiple Office 365 features makes it quite versatile and capable of supporting a number of procedures such as document editing, real-time collaboration, face-to-face Skype calling, and instant file storage and sharing in-app.

We previously provided a brief overview of Microsoft Teams and how businesses could successfully deploy it to optimize its features. In this post, we’ll be looking at how organizations can benefit from this application, as well as some best practices for optimizing Team’s use value.

MICROSOFT TEAMS: The Benefits for Your Business

1. User Notifications

Teams sends you notifications whenever you receive a message or an @mention in channels you’re following. You can set it so that these notifications remain in the platform and never reach your email. The Activity Pane gets you caught up on what you may have missed and the Chat Pane shows your recent conversation. You also have the option to filter through messages to only find the ones related to you.

2. Microsoft App Integration

Teams is fully integrated with Microsoft Office 365. All notes, attachments, meetings, and chats are combined, effectively allowing business partners and employees to have a seamless interaction with each other wherever they may be. Key assets like files, email, and calendars can be shared as well.

3. Scheduling Tools

Microsoft Teams can be synced with your Office 365 calendar, which in turn automatically updates your schedule in-app. It also suggests meeting times based on the similar free times of attendees within a dedicated Team. You can also make a meeting private or public to all members—an essential setting for voluntary training, dispensing sensitive information, or simply brainstorming.

4. Real-Time Document Collaboration

You can edit and co-author Microsoft Office documents within the Teams interface. It allows for multiple team members to work on the same document simultaneously. You can also pin high-priority documents in the workspace so that other members can see your uploaded document right away.

5. Security

On top of the standard data security and encryption protocols that is present in all MS Office 365 programs, Microsoft Teams has extra information protection features built in. For instance, the app is supported by Microsoft’s Hyperscale Cloud—MS software that provides an option for local data residency. This is useful for businesses with certain data pieces that must stay within one country only, but have employees all over the globe. There is also a a multi-factor authentication as well as a secure guest access.

MICROSOFT TEAMS: Best Practices

Here are some useful tips to get the most out of Microsoft Teams.

1. Use SharePoint as Often as Possible to Save Files

Microsoft SharePoint is a highly secure file storage platform that allows for sharing and multi-user collaboration. Recently integrated with Teams, it allows all members to upload, download, share, and simultaneously collaborate on all sorts of files. SharePoint also automatically synchronizes all variations of the file so that every member has access to the latest copy.

2. Utilize the Mobile App

Microsoft Teams has a mobile app available for Android, iOS, and Window users. A streamlined and simplified version of the full app, Teams mobile is great for on-the-go messaging. Its stripped-down version is also great for when you need to quickly catch up with what you missed while away from your desk or out of office.

3. Maximize Microsoft Planner Integration

Microsoft Planner is a software that allows for easy task management. Available for integration with Teams, you can (and should) use Planner as a straightforward, in-app feature to track tasks and reference them back to your team. You can access it immediately from any channel if you “pin” it, and adding a task is done in one click.

4. Title All Your Chat Exchanges

Each Team has a channel, and each channel can have multiple conversations running (depending on how you choose to setup Teams for your organization). To keep things organized and easy to sift through, get into the habit of naming all chat exchanges that happen within the platform. For instance, a group chat about your new Facebook campaign could be named “FB Ad Launch Mar 2019.” This way, you (and all other administrators) instantly know what’s being talked about in the chat. You can also instantly find it if you need to reference it.

5. Familiarize Your Team with the Keyboard Shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts make things a lot quicker and a lot easier on team members. For instance, rather than clicking around on the app, simply press the R key on your keyboard to instantly reply to a thread. Alt+A or Option+A (for Mac users) allows for instant file attachment. As part of your onboarding or pre-migration training, make sure all users are familiar with these simple keystrokes that could save them precious seconds every day.

With the progress it’s made in such a short amount of time, there’s no denying that Microsoft Teams is rapidly evolving. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes the default messaging and collaboration app for the majority of businesses worldwide.