7 tips for making the most of the powerful cloud platform
The transition to remote work during the pandemic has opened many eyes to how their organizations might communicate differently, even once they’re back in their offices.
Outlook no longer cuts it. Email is now messy and overwhelming, especially for internal communication.
But there are tools already at your fingertips—cloud platforms like Microsoft 365 and applications like Teams—that improve productivity and collaboration. You just have to learn how to use them.
Shifting Focus to Teams
Microsoft 365 integrates an expansive and growing suite of applications, with Teams as its primary workspace. It greatly streamlines how you connect for meetings, share and co-author documents, and much more. Here are just a few tips and tricks to consider.
#1 Get Organized
Take a bit of time to structure what goes where, and segment how you collaborate around specific topics or departments, which Microsoft coincidentally calls Teams. Members can be added or removed. Teams can then be broken down into Channels.
#2 Rethink Files
Microsoft 365 simplifies file management. Instead of you mandating processes for uploading files or version tracking, each Team Channel features a “Files” tab as a default document library. Include links to files or folders on task assignments, messages, emails, etc., instead of attaching separate documents. Everything relevant to that Team is kept in one shared location.
#3 Integrate Outlook
If you need to move an email thread and attachments from Outlook, just click “Share to Teams”—it drops into a Teams channel conversation. It also works in reverse: share a Teams chat to an Outlook email by clicking on the more options icon (“…”).
#4 Consolidate Tasks
Microsoft 365 enables you to create a unified view of all your tasks across Microsoft To Do, Planner, Teams channels, and Outlook. Display tasks assigned to you, their priority as well as start or due date. In Planner, you can choose the view that works the best for you—list, boards, charts, or schedules—and monitor your teams’ progress on their tasks.
#5 Run Better Meetings
Meeting online is now commonplace, but not everyone hosts them well. Encourage scheduling from within Teams (it syncs with Outlook), and include external guests. Also, use “Meet Now” to quickly gather team members.
The digital whiteboard helps you capture ideas, and automatically saves them for future reference. Remember to record, so coworkers can catch up later; they can search for keywords to jump to specific points, and the automatic transcription is a huge help. You can also turn on highly accurate captions to read in real-time if it’s hard to understand the audio. Finally, expand meeting collaboration with the + icon, which lets you include another app or file at the top of the meeting chat.
#6 Close your virtual office door
When working remotely, it’s vital you set boundaries and optimize your work. Turn off or mute distracting notifications that can overwhelm your workday, and frequently update your status to let colleagues know when it’s okay to reach you.
Microsoft updates features all the time, so be sure to try out different ways to communicate. For example, you can send a short voice recording in a chat or automate one when you’re away from your computer. Polls and surveys are another way to get fast input from colleagues.
There’s no “I” in “Remote Teamwork”
Working remotely forces everyone to adjust to new processes. Fortunately, technology like Microsoft 365 has already laid the groundwork to make it easier and more efficient than ever. All it takes is a little careful thought about how to best use the tools we are provided.
We can help you migrate to Microsoft 365, and help you use it to its fullest. Contact us to discuss what you need.