26 Jul Microsoft Teams: 7 Tips & Tricks for Productive Use
During last year’s COVID-19 pandemic, many of us (and for some of us, our employers) fell in love with working from home. The WFH trend doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon: many workplaces are continuing to allow remote work, and investing in new technologies to make it happen smoothly. If your office has recently adopted Microsoft Teams, you’re in good company: the app’s worldwide daily active users increased from 75 million in April 2020 to 145 million in April 2021. Adjusting to a new program can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. Check out these 7 handy tips and tricks to get the most out of Microsoft Teams.
Overview of Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is a Microsoft application designed for collaborative workspaces. Members of a professional team can use the program to communicate and collaborate in a single, secure location. A few perks of using Teams include calling, messaging, and online meeting capabilities; sharing and live collaboration on files; and integration with both Microsoft Office and non-Office apps. For a complete guide to installing and using Teams, check out the video below:
Tips & Tricks
So now that you know how it works, here are a few helpful tips to save you time and effort:
#1: Add Titles to Chat Exchanges
Chat is a main feature of Teams, and it’s common to have several chats with various groups going at once. While it’s handy to have all those conversations in one place, scrolling through all of them to find the right one can be cumbersome and even lead to time-wasting errors. Luckily, you can add titles to your chat exchanges. To add your title, just click the pencil icon at the top beside the member’s name, and begin typing. Doing so will not only make the conversation easier to identify, but will also make it searchable.
#2: Invite Guests to Team Chats
In addition to communicating directly with your team members on Teams, you can talk to important players outside your team or organization. Just add them as a guest! They’ll have lesser capabilities than team owners or members, but there is still quite a bit they can do. To add someone as a guest, first get your admin to enable guest access. Then, find the Team to which you want to add a guest, click the More (…) option, and select Add Member. Then enter the email ID of your guest, add their name under Edit Guest Information, and click Add. Your guest will then receive a welcome email with joining information. Once they’ve completed their end, you’re all set!
#3: Get Help from T-Bot
If you ever used an early version of Windows, you may remember Clippy, the helpful little paper clip there to answer your questions on how to use your operating system. MS Teams has its own little helper called T-Bot. While T-Bot doesn’t have a cute little avatar, it does have a handy chat box that comes automatically set up in your chat window. Using T-Bot is a lot like using any other search engine; just ask a question or type in a key word or phrase, and the bot will return the information you’re looking for.
#4: Translate Messages
If your team is very large or crosses international borders, you may encounter a language barrier. With Teams, this doesn’t have to bring communication to a halt; the software comes with a built-in translator. If you receive a message in an unfamiliar language, just click the More (…) option at the top of the message and click “Translate.” Then, you’ll see the message in the language in which your MS Teams is set up.
#5: Record & Share Meetings
During online meetings, you can record audio or video and share your screen with team members. Just click the More (…) option and select Start Recording (when you want to stop recording, you can do so the same way). All users in the meeting will be notified that the meeting is being recorded.
When you record a channel meeting, it will be automatically saved to Microsoft SharePoint for easy access. Any other type of meeting will be saved to your OneDrive. To share your screen during the meeting, click the Share icon and choose what you would like to share: Desktop (everything on your screen), Window (a specific app), Powerpoint (the presentation), or Browse (to browse any other file).
#6: Mark Important Chat Messages Urgent
There’s nothing more frustrating than sending a coworker an important message only to receive no response. Maybe your message was innocently lost in the shuffle, but you’re still left waiting in the dark. In Microsoft Teams chat, you can avoid that problem by marketing important messages, “urgent.” When composing a message in Teams, you can select one of three options below the text compose box: Standard, Important, or Urgent. If you mark Important or Urgent when composing your message, those messages will be marked as such for the recipient to see. If you mark Urgent, however, your recipient will automatically receive priority notifications every two minutes (for the next 20), that way, your urgent messages will be impossible to miss.
#7: Integrate Other Apps
Microsoft Teams is a handy tool, but it’s not a one-stop shop. You’ll likely be using other apps during the course of your work day. Luckily, Teams can integrate with many of the apps you use every day! It integrates automatically with other Microsoft 365 apps like SharePoint, OneDrive, and Planner– all apps are automatically synced and are cross-app available. You can also integrate outside apps, like Google Workspace programs, Trello, Todoist, Slack, and even Facebook Ads or Messenger in various ways.
Microsoft Teams is designed to foster collaboration, streamline your work day, and make your professional life just a little bit easier. Learning a new program can be a challenge, but once you understand the basics, you’ll be glad to have this tool at your disposal.
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