Microsoft Teams is a quick and easy to deploy communications platform to facilitate remote working within your business. During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, many business have chosen to deploy Microsoft Teams as their communications platform as it can be deployed quickly, it is very easy to pick up and as is regarded as one of the best communication and collaboration platforms available.
There are four initial steps to quickly setting up Microsoft Teams for remote working. We have shared some useful recommendations on each of these within this blog as well as some of our employees top tips for using Microsoft Teams for remote working.
Microsoft Teams is available to everyone with the Microsoft Office licenses below.
1. Setting up Microsoft Teams
Implementing Microsoft Teams across your business is possible to do very quickly but needs to be done in a considered manner to ensure adoption levels are high and users understand how to use the platform and the benefits of Microsoft Teams.
We would recommend you start off by creating a group of early adopters within the business to champion the Microsoft Teams roll out, ideally you would select one person in each department. This group of early adopters can then begin to use the Microsoft Teams application on both desktop and mobile to gain some familiarity with the platform and it’s features. (Microsoft Teams is available to download on Windows, Mac, iOS or Android and has a browser version.)
Microsoft Teams enables you to create ‘Teams’ within your organisation, these Teams are formed of specific groups of people e.g. a Sales Team, A Delivery Team. You can then use these Teams to communicate with people inside your organisation and also enable them to include contacts from outside your organisation should you wish to. Within each Team you can store and save documents and collaborate with others by directly working on these documents together; in real-time. If you are looking to implement advanced Document Storage, please get in touch as our Microsoft SharePoint Consultants can fully integrate this for you.
Please note: To get the best experience on Microsoft Teams, we recommend you to deploy Exchange Online and SharePoint Online, and ensure you have a verified domain for Microsoft 365. If you need help setting this up please contact us.
2. Setting up chat, Teams channels and application integrations
Once you have created your first Team, you can start to add channels within the Team to segment the chat into specific threads. The images below is an example Sales Team structure where you separate the specific threads within the Team itself into separate channels.
We recommend you create a policy around team creation so you don’t end up with hundreds of teams across the business which can prove hard to manage. A naming policy is also recommended so you can clearly distinguish which teams include external contacts. If you are planning to invite external contacts to join your teams, it is wise to include the word Client or EXT at the start of the team name. By ensuring this is enforced, there is little risk of Team members sharing sensitive information to the wrong contacts without realising.
As mentioned in the section above, there is an option to integrate SharePoint within Microsoft Teams to provide document storage. Whilst, it is not imperative to have this setup from the start, it is something to consider as it promotes adoption due to users not having to leave the Application to access files. Microsoft SharePoint also brings a wealth of benefits including controlled document management, security, and version control as you can easily roll-back file versions.
There are many other third party applications you can integrate within Microsoft Teams such as Trello, Survey Monkey as well as all the Microsoft Modern Workplace including Microsoft Dynamics 365, OneNote etc.
The more things you can enable within your Microsoft Teams setup the more useful it will be to our users and you’ll see much higher adoption rates as well as productivity.
3. Setting up Teams Meetings and Teams Live events
Within Microsoft Teams you can easily setup Teams Meetings and include up to 300 people, these can include audio or audio video conferencing. This feature enables you to schedule meetings without having to leave the application, is easy to access and best of all, syncs with your Outlook calendar.
Within any Teams meeting you can share your screens with the audience, and blur your background for privacy reasons. Teams meetings can be recorded at the click of a button and the recording is then securely stored in the cloud via Microsoft Stream where users can then access it.
You can also setup Teams Live events for up to 5000 people – this is where you can host a full company broadcast or webinar in real time, it also gives the option for participants to ask questions via the Q&A chat pane, but not interrupt the presentation as their audio is disabled.
4. Adopting Microsoft 365 Business Voice to use Teams as your telephony solution
Microsoft 365 Business Voice is a cost-effective cloud based telephony solution that can be accessed from any device and fully integrates with Microsoft Teams. To enable dial-in audio conferencing within Microsoft Teams without a Business Voice license, you must have Audio Conferencing licenses assigned to your users. It includes;
- Unlimited minutes of domestic calling (UK Local, National & Mobile)
- International call plans
- Cloud-based phone system with advanced features including call transfer, multi-level auto attendants, and call queues.
- Built-in redundancy and load balancing with a 99.9% uptime guarantee via the Microsoft Cloud
- Dial-in audio conferencing for up to 250 people per meeting.
- Call from anywhere, on any device through the Microsoft Teams app on desktop, mobile, web, and desk phones
Add on – Cloud Contact Centre including skills based/multi-layer routing, live wallboards, advanced reporting FCA and MIFID Compliant Cloud Call Recording with 7 years retention.
5. Our top tips for using Microsoft Teams for remote working
Try to always use video in Teams meetings with colleagues
It’s very important to maintain human contact whilst remote working and we advise all our employees to enable video when on calls/in Teams Meetings. Regular contact with colleagues will help you feel connected and stay focussed. When you are holding Microsoft Teams meetings from your home environment, it’s important to stay free of distractions. There is a handy background blur tool to blur out the background when you join a Teams meeting in video mode. You can access this by clicking the three dots and selecting ‘blur my background’ as shown below.
Remember to change your status regularly
Your normal work hours may be disrupted whilst working from home especially if you have children to also entertain. To enable colleagues to see when you are available make sure you set your Teams status to available, busy or do not disturb so they can see your availability. You can also set a status message. To change your status, look to the op right of the Teams application window, click on your user profile and select it.
Make large Teams Meetings inclusive
If you have several participants on a Teams Meeting or conference call it can be difficult for people to share their opinions in busy discussions. Make sure that you encourage them to use the chat window within the Teams meeting if they prefer to.
Record important meetings
With all Teams meetings you have the option to record them – if the meeting is important we recommend you do this so people can review and recap if needed. As some people may need to drop out throughout meetings due to bad internet, childcare or other commitments.
Use chat to check-in regularly
Promote to your employees that they use chat regularly to check in with other colleagues.
Remember to disconnect
Try to work your normal working hours and change your status to ‘do not disturb’ during lunch breaks and after work. This a great tip to encourage disconnection and promote valuable downtime when needed.
If you looking to quickly implement Microsoft Teams across your business would like some professional advice on where to start or how to use the powerful Microsoft Teams application to its full potential please get in touch.