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How To Navigate Microsoft Teams for Effective Communication

How To Navigate Microsoft Teams for Effective Communication

Microsoft Teams has grown substantially since 2017 to become the behemoth it is today, but that almost didn’t happen. Microsoft was initially interested in purchasing Slack in 2016 but ultimately decided against it and announced Teams as a competing option the following year. Their early success was primarily attributed to the dominance of Microsoft Office 365 and the bundling of its messaging platform. The pandemic made their messaging platform a go-to for meetings and collaboration. On a single day in April 2020, Teams logged 4.1 billion meeting minutes. 

Microsoft Teams is More Than Chat 

Although Microsoft Teams was initially a Skype for business killer, it has become central to running an integrated business. What started as a chat-dominated tool quickly grew into a collaboration hub. Here are just a few of the features:

  • VoIP Calls 
  • Video Conferencing 
  • Teams for Education 
  • Single, Team, and entire organization chats 
  • Integration with Office 365 
  • Meeting Breakout Rooms

According to Microsoft, prior to the pandemic, in November 2019, Teams had 20 million active monthly users. Fast-forward to October 2023, and Teams had 320 million active monthly users or 80 percent of all Office 365 users. Microsoft Teams has evolved into a fundamental part of any organization’s communication infrastructure.

Strategies to Solve Business Communication with Microsoft Teams 

Workflows are everything when navigating Microsoft Teams, so mimicking how users collaborate and integrate or even improve on those methods will allow for quicker adoption. Flexibility is another critical strategy when using Teams to facilitate effective organizational communication. It’s essential to encourage collaboration with team members to identify which features are essential to your business. This time will be well spent; getting this correct at the beginning will make the rollout or the restructuring of collaborative communication much easier.

Understanding the terminology will be essential when implementing Microsoft Teams, for example:

  • Team – A virtual workplace where a group of people are working toward a shared goal 
  • Channel – A dedicated section within a Team to share files, enable tools, and message 
  • Chat – These can be two people or groups but have different functions than a Channel 
  • Team Owner – Admins that can restrict or allow apps, actions, or other participation in a Team; if the Team is private, they can invite or dismiss individuals

You should distill this information down to the simple fact that a cohesive Microsoft Teams experience should make people’s working days easier. Overcomplicating the implementation will set your business up for unneeded frustrations.

Create Teams Channels for Specific Uses 

Think of a Team as a central meeting point for a larger group with similar goals.  Channels are more specific sub-groups with different focuses. The idea is to keep that topic localized to that Channel, so no cross-communication issues arise.

Here’s a scenario: You have a Technical Support division, and you support software/hardware issues for internal users. You want to make sure everyone is on the same page. Below is an example of how to set up that Team.

  • Team – Technical Support – All members of that division 
  • Channels 
  • Phones Support Tier 1 – Individuals focused on taking calls to see if issues can be resolved before moving to advanced support 
  • Hardware Support Tier 2 – Individuals troubleshooting physical units 
  • Software Support Tier 2 – Individuals focusing on software concerns 
  • Returns Support Tier 3 – Individuals cataloging and replacing defective units

To navigate Microsoft Teams effectively, you need to break down different groups so they can hone in on issues, get results quicker, and remove the people it doesn’t pertain to from the equation so they can focus on their tasks.

Audio and Video Calls 

The inclusion of audio and video calls makes collaboration even more straightforward. Imagine you are a supervisor checking in on a new remote employee. The new employee sent you a Word doc to look over, and you decide this is a great teaching moment, so you video chat with that employee. Thanks to the seamless integration with Office 365, you can pull up the document on the call, screen share, and make edits or comments on the doc while going through it live. Simple, clean, and effective.

The ease of the interaction reduces confusion or missed tone through written text, and the employee feels supported. The interaction takes less time than typing and can be recorded so the employee has access. Any chat links or meeting notes shared during the meeting are saved for reference after the fact, and you both are confident of the next steps.

Easy Application Connections 

The deep integration with Office 365 allows for edits and showcasing items within Microsoft Teams’ native navigation. You can even open files on the web and desktop apps if you desire, but not being forced to leave Teams will boost productivity.

In addition, an Apps finder built directly into the lefthand navigation allows you to search for and install apps created by Microsoft, 3rd parties, or even apps created by your organization. There are over 1,900 available app connections for Teams. It’s important to note that if an app is available, it doesn’t mean there aren’t subscriptions for those apps; it may be accessible to connect but might have additional requirements.

Also, on the organizational level, restrictions can be placed on what can and cannot be downloaded to adhere to business security concerns or limit the use of unsupported apps.

Seamless Mobile Connection 

Teams for Mobile is just as powerful as the desktop or web variations. You can take calls, conduct video conferences, have access to update your status, or even place yourself Out of Office, which connects back to Outlook. A bonus of Teams for Mobile is its compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can manage calls through your car infotainment system if needed. The native simplicity built-in makes navigating Microsoft Teams much easier.

The Microsoft Teams Ecosystem Changes Everything; Xtel Can Make the Change a Reality 

Microsoft Teams is a collaboration monster that needs to be taken seriously. It is a great communication tool that integrates with cloud-based systems to enhance what it already does so well.  Xtel is here to supercharge your organization with a robust Microsoft Teams unified communications offering that can’t be missed. Contact Xtel today, and let’s see what differences we can make together.