In this unprecedented time of national lockdown, digital collaboration tools that support remote teamwork are in the spotlight.
None more so than Microsoft’s excellent Teams tool. The app’s user base recently spiked to 44 million users across the globe as more people began working from home as governments ramped up their response to the coronavirus pandemic by encouraging social distancing and self-isolation.
And now, on the verge of a national lockdown that’s going to keep us all in our homes for at least 21 days, and so many people using Teams, we thought it would be the perfect time to offer up some useful tips and tricks to help people familiarise themselves with Teams.
Sharing is caring
The core features of Teams, which is primarily a communications app, include allowing workers to talk, share files, and have meetings (audio & video). It’s a tool that lets geographically-separated teams co-ordinate by ensuring people are constantly in touch and sharing important information and documents with one another.
Teams integrates with many other Microsoft applications, as it’s part of the Microsoft Office Suite. As such it integrates with the likes of Word, OneNote, SharePoint, and Planner, and more, putting it within easy reach from whichever Office application you happen to be using.
If you’re looking for ways to get more out of Teams, or you’re just trying to wrap your head around it, these tips will help.
Tip #1: Name your chats
Chats take place in channels within Teams, and can contain more than one conversation. To help you keep track of your chats, give them a name. For instance, if you were discussing throwing more money behind a digital campaign, you could call it “Facebook campaign funding”. Giving chats names makes them searchable, which comes in handy at a later stage. To do this, simply click the pencil next to the names of the people in the chat and enter the title there.
Tip #2: Use SharePoint for file storage and sharing
Microsoft’s SharePoint technology is used in many business environments as a great way to securely store files and collaborate on tasks across the business. And today, it’s integrated quite tightly with Teams, too, letting you easily share and access files via SharePoint by clicking the Files tab. The best part is these files can be collaborated on no matter if you’re using a desktop Office app, or Office Online.
Tip #3: Forward emails into a chat
While chat apps are taking over, email isn’t going anywhere. This is why Microsoft has built the ability to forward emails directly into chat channels within Teams: all you need to do is get the channel’s email address by clicking the three dots next to the channel name you wish to email and choose “Get email address”. Copy it, and use it with your email client to send emails, documents, and other attachments directly to the channel.
Tip #4: Use the mobile app
You may not know this, but there are mobile versions of Teams to use when you’re away from your desk. Available for Android, iOS and Windows mobile, the apps offer a simplified version of Teams that focuses on team chats and channels, which is very handy when you’re away from your desk but still need to stay abreast of happenings.
Tip #5: Use keyboard shortcuts
Here are some excellent shortcut keys that’ll help you get around Teams faster than ever:
- Press R to reply to a thread inside the Teams app
- Press Alt-A in Windows to attach a file to a message
- To open settings, press Control-comma(,)
- To zoom in, press control and equals sign (=)
- Open Search with Control-E
- Switch between navigation tabs, press Control and 1 through 6
There are plenty more to be found online by clicking here.
Tip #6: Play nicely with others
You’re not limited to your own team with Teams: the application lets you invite anyone else at your company to use it. Teams essentially grants them guest access, so long as they have an Outlook account. You can chat, send and share files and documents with them and much more. Give it a go: simply search for anyone in your company and start chatting right away!
Tip #7: Animate chats with GIFs and memes
The working world is a different space today compared to years ago, and things like the animated GIFs and funny memes that we all share outside of work hours are starting to find their place at the office. Microsoft has added the ability to post many awesome pop culture references into Teams chats; everything from funny cat GIFs to popular memes are but a click away. They can be a great way to amuse a co-worker or even drive a point home!
New users incoming
Teams is a fantastic productivity-enhancing collaboration tool that is going to see a lot of new users in the next few months.
We hope the above helps you all come to grips with at least part of it.