Collaborate Like a Pro: Our Top 10 Microsoft Teams Features

April 6, 2021

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With over 115 million users across the globe, it’s safe to say that Microsoft Teams is one of the most widely used video and messaging platforms on the market.

The only manx-owned microsoft gold partner on the Island
 

With more businesses than ever operating remotely, video conferencing platforms have gone from being a relative luxury to an absolute business necessity. Often the go-to choice for businesses, Microsoft Teams is the collaborative platform that keeps on giving, offering so much more than just video capabilities and integrating flawlessly with the entire 365 suite.

At Elite Group IOM, we’re a big fan of all things Microsoft. Not only are we a Microsoft Gold Partner but we also use Teams extensively across our own company, promoting effective collaboration and communication between our colleagues and partners. In that spirit, we decided to share our favourite Teams features that help us get the most out of working from home.

 

1.Instant Messaging

Taking inspiration from social media platforms such as Facebook, Microsoft Teams has a dynamic instant messaging function that we just love. Less formal than an email, instant messenger is especially useful if you have a quick question for a colleague and don’t fancy waiting around for an email reply. Indeed, with the ability to create a single or group chat, the instant messenger feature allows for agile interactions and instant discussions, reducing the amount of emails clogging up your inbox.

Complete with stickers, gifs, and emojis, the instant messenger function also adds a bit of fun to the working day, allowing employees to interact casually without the formality of emails; perfect for promoting better working relationships when away from the office.

 

2.Video Calling

Perhaps the most well-known feature of the platform, Teams offers high-quality video and audio calling for up to 250 people at once. You can also add parties outside of your organisation, even if they don’t have Teams or Microsoft themselves. Perfect for hosting meetings and conferences remotely, video calling comes with all the features you need to minimise interruptions, including muting and background blurring, making it the ideal solution for reducing background distractions when working from home.

With seamless video and audio, Teams enables you and your colleagues to continue collaborating effectively, even when you’re not in the office. Face-to-face video calling allows for a more personal approach to business communication, allowing you to simulate in-person meetings and interactions that often result in more productive and engaged discussions.

 

3.Integrated Calendar in Teams and Outlook

One of our favourite things about Microsoft’s range of products has to be how well they collaborate with one another. Teams is certainly no exception to this rule, with its impressive integration capabilities and streamlined functionality. To help you stay organised and to make scheduling meetings easier, Microsoft allows you to integrate your Teams and Outlook calendar.

By having a centralised calendar, you can have a simplified overview of all your meetings and work commitments in one place, rather than spread across two separate applications. When you create a meeting in Teams, it will automatically sync with your Outlook calendar, providing reminders and notifications about scheduled meetings straight into your Outlook inbox.

 

4.Sharing Key Documents

Sharing important documents and files is made simple with Microsoft Teams. Particularly compatible with Microsoft 365 applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, sharing documents with Teams allows for better teamwork and simple collaboration on joint documents and projects.

With options to open documents in your desktop, browser or straight in Teams, you and your colleagues can edit and review the same documents, at the same time, reducing the number of separate copies and versions sent between team members. All documents uploaded onto a chat or team are automatically saved in that workspace, and can be easily retrieved at any time, from any device connected to your Teams.

 

5.Meeting Notes and Whiteboards

With Microsoft Teams, you not only have the ability to host meetings with colleagues but you can also set up a virtual whiteboard to collaborate visually and take notes during meetings. This interactive function allows all meeting attendees to draw, type text and add post-it notes onto the whiteboard, so virtual meetings can become a truly collaborative and dynamic experience.

Once the meeting is finished, there’s no need to take a physical copy of your notes, you can simply export and save your whiteboards to your documents, sharing it with colleagues through a link on Teams or Outlook.

 

6.Teams Mobile App

In a modern business environment, staying connected on the go has never been more important for employees, especially when working from home. As well as its desktop application, Microsoft Teams also comes with a user-friendly smartphone application, compatible with both ISO and android.

With all the functionality of Microsoft Teams in the palm of your hand, you can take video and audio calls, as well as view and reply to chats and teams from anywhere with an internet connection. For a responsive and agile workforce, you can also view and edit documents stored on Teams on your smartphone, anytime, anywhere.

 

7.Direct Access to Skype, OneDrive and SharePoint

As well as integrating well with Microsoft 365, Teams also works well with other business critical apps such as OneDrive and SharePoint, allowing you to sync your shared documents stored on Teams with those stored on the other two platforms. In this sense, OneDrive and SharePoint can act as a back-up for content and chats shared on Teams, so you can access important documents on multiple platforms for a consistent and efficient workflow.

In addition to this, Microsoft Teams can also collaborate with secondary video platform, Skype. This means that you can call and send messages to Skype straight from your Teams, allowing you to collaborate effectively with external businesses and customers that use a different video calling platform.

 

8.Integrate Third-Party Apps Easily

We’ve already talked extensively about the integration capabilities of Teams but we’re still not done. As well as seamless integration with other Microsoft products and video calling platforms, Teams also offers you the option to integrate a number of third-party apps to promote collaboration, organisation, and interoperability.

With an extensive range of applications available to install and integrate into your Teams, you can easily find a way to customise the platform in a way that truly works for your employees and business. Whether you’re looking for apps to track engagement or time management or connectors to join up existing applications, there’s something to suit everyone.

 

9.Status Settings

As Microsoft Teams is designed to be open in the background as you work, it comes with a status feature that can be used to signal to colleagues whether you’re free, busy or away from your desk. With a range of status settings and the option to set a status message, you can convey to colleagues if you’re out on lunch, in a meeting or on a break.

If you’re on another call or in a meeting, Teams will automatically update your status to ‘Busy’, going back to ‘Available’ as soon as you’re free again. It can also detect when a user is away from their computer and will switch to ‘Away’ after 10 minutes of being idle.

 

10.Teams Reports

Teams reports is the analytical and reporting feature of the platform that allows admin users to see how employees are using Teams, gaining valuable insight into usage patterns, as well as helping to inform areas where training is needed or where communication efforts can be improved across your team.

It can also be used to monitor overall employee productivity, keeping track of calls, meetings, and chats to see how well your employees are collaborating and communicating on the Teams platform.

 

If you’re looking to improve collaboration and communication for your employees, as well as promote effective home working across your business, get in touch with Elite Group IOM. As the only Manx-owned Microsoft Gold partner on the Island, you can trust our team to get your team up and running.

 

Elite Group IOM is one of the island’s leading IT and unified communication providers, supplying reliable and professional IT and telecoms services to organisations seeking Connectivity, UC & Voice, Cloud Service, IT Software and Security solutions.

For more information on how Elite Group IOM can help your business flourish through technology, contact us today.