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Boosting Team Productivity With Microsoft 365 Teams: A Step-By-Step Guide 

Microsoft 365 Teams is much more than a video call and chat solution. When you use it to its full capability, it can be the central hub for communication in your organisation.  

Teams is a time saver, making it simple for your people to locate their messages. It’s a way for everyone to stay on the same page, whether they’re in the office or anywhere else. Teams is a solution that helps your people work together, focusing on the task rather than on the means of communication. What’s more, it’s a way for your people to connect as humans, not just colleagues. Wherever you are, whatever device you’re using, Teams keeps you in touch.  

In this article, we’ll show you the eight steps to get the most from Microsoft 365 Teams. Get ready to turbocharge communication in your organisation. 

Step 1: Setting Up Microsoft 365 Teams 

Let’s assume you’ve got your Microsoft 365 account set up and downloaded all the apps you need, so it’s time to start setting up Teams for your organisation. 

Firstly, appoint one or more Teams administrators to manage your Teams setup. Part of their role will be setting up user accounts and assigning permissions to users (1). They could also act as Teams ambassadors, educating other employees about Teams, so they know how to use it and the benefits it delivers. Perhaps they could create some ‘how to’ guides to help people use the various aspects of Teams. 

Once you’re up and running, start creating teams where people in your organisation can communicate, hold meetings, share files and work together. On the ‘Join or create a team’ screen, create a team, give it a name, then invite people from inside and outside your organisation via email (2). You can create as many teams as you wish. 

Step 2: Navigating The Microsoft 365 Teams Interface 

The main screen of Teams is designed to help you find what you need quickly and easily. On the left of the screen is the navigation bar where you can access channels, chats, meetings and files. Use the search bar at the top to zero in on the information you need. 

Users can customise their Microsoft 365 Teams interface to help them navigate it even faster, such as adding extra tabs and assigning colours to the most-used options. You can also alter your notification settings to ensure you receive the right alerts at the right time. 

Step 3: Creating Channels 

Channels are one of the most powerful features of Microsoft 365 Teams (3). Channels are segments of an overarching team that you can create to keep all communications and files around a certain topic in one place. Many organisations create a channel for each specific project, inviting every team member working on that project.  

To create a channel, click the More option inside your team, where you’ll see Manage Channels and then Add Channel. From that screen, you can create and name your channel, then add members as necessary (4). 

Step 4: Communication With Team Members 

Microsoft 365 Teams offers several different communication options for people within teams, all accessible from the Teams main screen: 

  • Chat – Instant messaging one-to-one or in a group. Send files, links, even GIFs to get work done or let off steam 
  • Audio calls – Use the phone call icon to make or receive audio calls one-to-one or in a group. You can also type someone’s phone number into Teams to make a call, if you have a Teams calling plan enabled (5) 
  • Video meetings – Make one-to-one or group video calls by clicking the video icon in a team or chat 

The great thing about Teams is that it stores all communication, so you can search through and refer back whenever you need to. 

In addition, invest in good quality wireless headsets with noise-cancelling mics for your people. Even in busy open-plan offices, noise-cancelling delivers a top-class experience. With the right equipment, organisations could even use Teams to replace legacy phones.  

Step 5: Sharing Files and Collaborating 

We’ve all been there. Multiple uncontrolled versions of files, flying around your company in emails. No one can keep up with which is the current version and everyone makes offline edits that need to be merged. Teams offers you a better way. 

As part of the Microsoft 365 suite of solutions, Teams integrates with OneDrive so team members can create, upload and share files with each other. Then, they can edit them together (inside the Teams app, your browser or full Office app) with no worries about version control (6). 

You can share files in Teams with a few clicks in OneDrive, either by creating a link or sharing directly with users. You can also create a library of files in a channel, so everyone inside the channel can work on a file together. 

Make sure when sharing a file, you assign the correct permissions. The default permission is editing access, but if you only want the receiver to be able to view or suggest changes to the file, select those options before you share. 

Step 6: Managing Tasks and Assignments 

Microsoft 365 Teams has a Tasks app (7) to help managers monitor their teams’ work. Inside this feature, you can: 

  • Assign tasks – Allocate tasks to team members, who can notify within the app when they’ve started and completed a task 
  • Track progress – Managers can track the progress of tasks, including how near a task is to completion. Teams presents this information as a chart. You can also see open tasks in a calendar view 
  • Manage team projects – Managers can set up notifications to keep them informed of progress. In the Activity feed, you can see information including new task lists and completed tasks 

Step 7: Integrating Microsoft 365 Apps and Services 

As part of the Microsoft 365 family of products, Teams plays nicely with the Microsoft apps and services you use every day. 

Microsoft has made it easy to access these integrated services from Teams, so it doesn’t slow down your workflow. In the apps section on the left-hand side of the Teams screen, you’ll find access to Word, Excel, SharePoint and a smorgasbord of other useful solutions. 

With these apps enabled, you can use these solutions easily without leaving the Teams environment. For example, you could co-create a PowerPoint presentation with people inside a Teams channel or work together on a Word document. 

Step 8: Customising Microsoft 365 Teams 

Teams is highly customisable to help users work the way they want to. 

For example, you can change the appearance of your Microsoft Teams screen from light to dark or vice versa. You can also add pictures to your profile so everyone knows who you are. 

If you’re the type who is easily distracted from your work by notifications, visit the Notifications screen in Settings to change the frequency of your alerts. You can switch between daily, hourly or live in the moment.  

Finally, it’s good practice to update your status in Teams with any essential information. Teams status automatically looks at your calendar and sets your status based on if you have a meeting, if you’re out of the office, or if you have active calls or video meetings booked in. However, you might prefer to update you status manually, such as if you’re out of the office or busy on a project. You can always change it back to normal again when you’re back.  

Tips for Boosting Team Productivity 

Let’s end this article with some bonus tips and best practices to get the most out of Microsoft Teams 365: 

  • Pin your essential teams – Over time, your Teams sidebar can get cluttered. Make sure your most-used teams appear at the top of the list with the Pin option. Conversely, feel free to hide the teams you never use 
  • @ people – Grab someone’s attention in a crowded group chat by typing @ and their name. They’ll get an instant notification and (hopefully) read your message sooner 
  • Add essential files to channel tabs – Each channel has tabs at the top of its main screen. If you need users to see a document or collaborate on it, try creating a tab for it 
  • Streamline video meetings – Avoid that awkward bit at the start of a large video call where everyone is fumbling for their camera and mute buttons by setting defaults for the beginning of a meeting 
  • Use keyboard shortcuts – Microsoft Teams has a wide range of keyboard shortcuts to help you speed up your workflow (8). Experiment with them and see what works 
  • Set up call and meeting recordings – When people can’t join a meeting or townhall live, a recording helps them stay up-to-date 

Conclusion 

We hope these tips help you get the most from your Microsoft 365 Teams setup. When used properly, Teams can be a game-changer for workflow and collaboration. Whether a team member is in the office, at home, travelling or anywhere else, they remain contactable and an essential part of the group.  

At Doherty Associates, we help clients thrive in today’s modern workplace. Our experts set clients up on Microsoft 365, ensuring efficient data migration, robust security and a focus on what is needed. Then, once they’re up and running, we deliver ongoing management, taking care of the tech so you can concentrate on your business. We’re also a Tier 1 Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider. 

To find out more, visit www.doherty.co.uk/services/modern-workplace

Sources: 

1 – Microsoft – Set up Microsoft Teams in your small business 

2 – Microsoft – Create and organise teams 

3 – Microsoft – Overview of teams and channels in Microsoft Teams 

4 – Microsoft – Create a channel on the go 

5 – Microsoft – First things to know about calls in Microsoft Teams 

6 – Microsoft – Collaborate on files in Microsoft Teams 

7 – Microsoft – Assign and track tasks in Teams 

8 – Microsoft – Keyboard shortcuts for Microsoft Teams 

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