Many think of Microsoft Teams as a platform to host meetings and calls, but there’s so much more to this application than meets the eye. Particularly now when remote and hybrid working have become so prominent in our society, collaborative platforms and communication “in the moment” have been widely needed and depended on.
Microsoft have brought us a number of new collaboration features over the last a few years; for example, co-authoring of documents, sharing links to files instead of the files themselves and persistent chat. I rarely used these features when they were first released and with some, not even for the first few years! Now I use them every day. Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 bring them directly to you; it feels natural that they are part of my day and I don’t even realise I’m using them until I’ve looked back.
In this blog, I’ll be outlining below some key features (both existing and coming soon) that can help you and your organisation boost collaboration when using Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams Connect (Shared Channels) – coming November
A fantastic new feature that Microsoft have been working on is the eagerly-anticipated Teams Connect. Due for release in November this year, this new addition will enable you to share channels with anyone, whether they’re internal or external to your organisation. The premise is to provide a better-connected and collaborative environment for easy chatting, meetings, content sharing and the ability to co-author documents in real-time within that same shared channel.
Remote working has been widely accepted by many during the pandemic and as Microsoft have stated, hybrid working is here to stay for the future as well. With this in mind, having an online space where it’s seamless to partake in conversation, share files and apps whilst collaborating with either internal or external participants is the next step in modern-day hybrid working.
Teams Templates to aid creation and standardisation
Setting up your Teams platform can be done quickly and effectively using Microsoft Teams templates to help you build a collaborative and inclusive space for your team. There are a variety of templates to choose from and customise, making it a speedy process to set up.
The templates provide a standardised structure with pre-defined channels, tabs, apps etc., giving you an effective environment straightaway with no waiting time to build a design from scratch. After you’re through the creation stage, you’ll receive guidance on how best you can use the functionalities and what customisation may work best for your unique needs.
Turn your files into a tab to bring them to the forefront
Are you tired of scrolling through a conversation thread, trying to find a file that was once shared with you? Well, Microsoft has just the solution for you! Teams’ SharePoint integration means you can upload files directly into a conversation, which will then immediately become available within the Files tab of that channel.
No more hunting around for files or documents; instead, you can easily find the documents you’re after by organising your channels for better access and more productive working.
Brings together Office/Microsoft collaboration, such as document co-authoring
Long gone are the days of sending documents back and forth, waiting on amendments from different people. Within Microsoft Teams, multiple people can work on the same documents, spreadsheets and PowerPoint at the same time without interruption or lag between responses.
Additionally, if these documents are stored in your Teams channel, the files will be accessible to all members of that team, allowing everyone to collaborate and co-author simultaneously.
Enhance communication through collaboration whilst maintaining governance and control
Being designed to create and manage collaborative working with the help of channels and chats, Microsoft Teams is built to enhance users experience when working online together. There are many options for setting and configuring permissions within Teams, so if you want to have more or less structure to your environment, it’s entirely up to you.
Governance of this environment is important when creating a platform for users; however, as I mentioned previously, Teams Templates can help control certain aspects of this through customisation of channels with apps and files. You can build your templates in order to maintain a standardised structure throughout, making it easier for your users to adopt and maintain.
Teams can also be set up to give control of Teams creation to specific people. This can help ensure users are adhering to any governance policies and procedures and not creating excessive amounts of Teams channels.
Finally, keep an eye out for the new fluid components (currently in private preview). Fluid components in Teams chat allow end users to send a message with a table, action items, or a list that can be co-authored and edited by everyone in line and that is shareable across Office applications like Outlook. Align across teams by copy and pasting components across Teams chats. These aligned chats stay up to date. Fluid components in Teams meetings allows co-create an agenda, take notes, and assign tasks, within the Teams meeting.
To learn more about how to best utilise Microsoft Teams, get in touch for a complimentary consultation. Our Microsoft Teams expert will guide you through how to make your environment as collaborative and effective as possible.