Sweep Out the Digital Cobwebs
As winter ends, we often like to tidy up our homes and sweep out the cobwebs. It can also be a good time of year to spring clean some of your IT, particularly heavily used platforms like Microsoft Teams. For a lot of companies, Teams is where they “live”, especially since the pandemic and the increase in remote work. Teams is used for scheduling and hosting video meetings, exchanging messages over Chat, managing tasks and project documents, and a lot more. So just like your house, it can be easy with all your competing day-to-day priorities for things to get a little cluttered. Of course, expansive cloud storage and highly efficient search capabilities means it’s not strictly necessary. But taking just a few moments to organize these workspaces will help you and others in your company remove digital bloat and keep focused on productive work.
Here are some ideas for how to streamline your Teams environments.
Hide or Delete Chats
Teams may make it almost too easy to message colleagues, and chat threads pile up. Scroll down your list of individual and group chats, taking note of the date of the most recent post. Anything old, out-of-date or no longer relevant you can either delete or simply hide by hovering over the thread name and then click the three dots that appear to access a small drop-down menu. If you select “Hide”, you can still search for and reveal those chats. If you delete them, they’re gone for good.
Depending on how employees and outside vendors or contractors collaborate, your Teams channels can become a bit messy as well. Inactive or “zombie” teams can pose security and even compliance risk, and they make content harder to find and manage. If teams are structured around projects, be sure to archive any that are complete. The same is true if an organizational change disbands a particular group of collaborators. You may even have industry regulations requiring certain retention policies—delete, archive, declare as a record or move—so ensure the right ones are in place.
Review (or Create) Policies for Team Management
In addition, check which user roles have the authority to create, manage and archive teams. If your organization seems to have too many teams, you may want to establish clear requirements and guidelines for who can create them, why they should be created, how they should be named and when and how they are archived. Approval processes can be put in place to keep sprawl in check.
Remove Inactive Users
Having unnecessary users in a team is a security risk, as well as a source of digital clutter. It’s a good idea to regularly check teams for any members who are no longer required, which could be external guests or employees who have left the company.
In some cases, teams may have become ownerless. Owners are also responsible for managing the channels and its users, so these “orphaned” teams should get assigned new owners or ensure each team has more than one, so it’s never abandoned. One best practice: create a policy inside Teams that automatically asks the most active members of an ownerless group or team if they’ll accept ownership. (Guests are never invited to be owner.)
Make the Most of New Features
As a cloud-based platform, Teams get regular updates that can make using it easier. Here are three new features that will help keep Teams organized and streamlined.
- Filter Activity for unread notifications — Toggle “Unread only” to filter out anything you’ve already seen.
- Delete or rename files — Go to a channel’s Files tab and select three “more options” dots on the file. Changes will be reflected in the team’s corresponding SharePoint site.
- Remove calls from Call History — Hide a call from your history, by hovering over list, clicking “more options” and selecting “Remove from view”. Admins can still retrieve call data from removed calls.
For a lot of organizations, Teams has supercharged how work gets done, providing access to each other through multiple forms of communication, breaking down silos, reducing the volume of internal email, and cutting down on big meetings. The best part is that it’s not hard to manage. And just like a household, taking small steps to tidy up makes a huge difference.