Employee Development

How to Improve Collaboration Using Microsoft Teams

By Jörn Oelze

Employee using online collaboration tools

In recent years, the number of organizations seeking the support of software platforms for employee collaboration has steadily increased. Now, in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced many employees to work from home, collaboration platforms have become a necessity to continue business operations.

There are a variety of tools available to aid with virtual collaboration, and Microsoft Teams has quickly become the trusted choice of companies large and small due to its user-friendly interface and functionality.

Since April 2020, Microsoft Teams has recorded 75 million daily active users. Of those millions of users, an impressive 93 of the Fortune 100 companies have chosen to utilize Microsoft Teams for their business. 

While virtual collaboration tools have increased in popularity over the past few months, it’s evident this is a trend that’s here to stay.

Why Use Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams encourages and supports employees to effectively collaborate to accomplish business goals and increase productivity.

Its versatility supports individuals and groups through seamless integration with Microsoft 365 applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more.

Users can conveniently access, share, and edit documents within different apps, all without having to leave the Teams platform.

And if you’re away from your desktop, Teams has its own mobile app to help you stay connected on-the-go!

Communication Made Easy

When you’re working remotely, having communication guidelines is a great way to stay organized and unified. Understanding which messages require an email versus a quick chat will ensure everyone in your department is on the same page.

You’ll no longer drown in long email threads as conversations on Teams are well-structured for easy access.

The chat function in Teams allows you to have private or group messages with your colleagues. It’s simple to create a new group dedicated to a project, department, or upcoming event. Conversation threads are saved for future reference and files can be bookmarked for later viewing.

You can get creative and utilize the chat function for more than work-related conversations. Because working from home has many missing the social interactions of the office, try creating a conversation group dedicated to bonding with coworkers about hobbies, interests, or other social topics. In Teams you have access to GIFS, stickers, and photo sharing to keep the conversation fun and engaging.

It’s no secret that working from home comes with new challenges and distractions. Teams makes it easy to update your status and share if you’re away, in a call, or available. Your colleagues will know when you’re ready to chat or if you’re out walking the dog!

Virtual Meetings With Microsoft Teams

When the topic of discussion requires additional conversation beyond a quick chat, Teams allows you to schedule audio or video meetings with colleagues. Video calls are highly encouraged during times of social distancing to increase engagement.

Once a meeting is scheduled, you can share the agenda and relevant documents as well as keep track of meeting notes all in one place.

For video conferences with multiple attendees, Teams offers a convenient “raise my hand” option to alert the other members that you have something to say without disrupting the conversation.

Just as raising your hand is a simple way to practice video call etiquette, here are five additional quick tips to improve your conversations when engaging in your next video call:

  1. Use a quality microphone or headset.
  2. Optimize visual composition. This includes avoiding strong backlight and keeping your camera at eye-level.
  3. Always be aware of the camera, even if you’re not speaking. If it’s not your turn to talk, mute your microphone to avoid distracting others.
  4. Drinks are fine but save your snacks for after the video call.
  5. Preparation is key! Have a meeting agenda or checklist to stay focused during the call. If you’re the organizer of the meeting, be considerate of others and don’t be late.

For additional ideas on how to get creative with video calls and boost team morale, check out this blog post!

Digital Skills for the Modern Workplace

As we rely more heavily on software in our day-to-day activities to stay connected and organized, it’s important to stay current on technology and industry trends.

The BizLibrary Collection has over 2,600 titles included in the software training library to help improve your team’s technology skills within today’s most widely used desktop applications. Our courses on Microsoft Teams, Office 365, and many other applications make it easy to learn these crucial software skills!

Learn why organizations like yours are turning to BizLibrary’s solutions to help them effectively train their teams. 

Jörn Oelze is the owner of SONIC Performance Support, a producer-partner with BizLibrary. With over 20 years of experience in adult education, Jörn has expanded his instructor-led training skills into the field of online workplace learning and performance support through SONIC Performance.