top of page

Microsoft Teams: How to improve a Workplace with Software

Hybrid and remote workplaces are the way forward, and these have created the need for companies to virtually connect employees across multiple locations, and even in different time zones. Many organisations are turning to software to facilitate employees with an easy way to connect and get work done. One of the go to software is Microsoft Teams, which has helped hundreds of millions in organising working groups and fostering collaboration through the software’s chat and meetings tools.


But, it's not all that simple. With so many apps and plug ins that can be added to Microsoft Teams, harnessing its full power to get things done isn't that straightforward. Have you ever said:

Where is that document I was working on last night?! 😠
Why can't I find yesterday's meeting notes? 😨
How do I turn this thing off? 🥴

We hear you! Fear not, as the benefits can sure surpass its complications. Below are four strategies for building work relationships through Microsoft Teams and improve the workplace. *Click on each title to jump to that section.*


people working on laptops at a table


1. CHANNELS = Better Organisation = Better Communication


Microsoft Teams allows you to create shared workspaces with your groups, including people within and outside the organisation. Team members can join in on conversations, organise information and share content through Team channels. Channels are the foundation in building work relationships through Microsoft Teams. Think of a ring binder folder for all things HR. In that ring folder you can have different compartments for Learning and Development, Recruitment, etc. Each of these should have their own Channel.


First, set up channels based on a shared purpose. For example, there are usually channels for specific projects, such as a channel dedicated to one client, and channels for certain aspects of one project, like a channel for content collaborators for one client.


Channels can also be established for specific lines of communication, like for leadership to all staff or a group social outlet on non-work topics like organising Christmas does and other celebrations.


Second, invite all relevant stakeholders to each channel. This does wonders in breaking down information silos, encouraging team communication and bringing transparency to workflows.


Team members can easily be added to or dropped from channels. All previous conversations in the channel remain intact, regardless of who is coming and going from the group. This makes it straightforward to access and manage information as team members change.



2. MEETINGS = Video On = Connection


Chatting on Channels is a highly effective way to contribute ideas, brainstorm, and ask or answer questions; but participants cannot see one another. While most communications need not be face-to-face, it is important to regularly have conversations where you can see and hear participants. This provides greater context and clarity to conversations. It is much easier to read people’s emotions and appreciate their intent when communications are aided by nonverbal cues like facial expressions and voice inflections. In this way, face-to-face communications help build trust and understanding between people. For all teams - especially hybrid and remote teams - video conferencing is a powerful and necessary tool. Unlike impromptu in-person meetings and chats in the office, video meetings with remote employees require some forethought and strategy. Here are some ways to use video meetings in optimally effective ways: Team Check-ins - have team or one-on-one video meetings regularly to make employees feel connected to each other and their work. This can include weekly performance reviews or daily stand-up meetings. Screen Sharing - rely on this feature to collaborate on project research or document creation in real-time. Teams will feel more included and actively engaged with one another. All-Hands Meetings - use video conferencing to communicate important or sensitive information to a large team, your entire staff or another sizable group of associates. A video meeting in such instances will be more impactful compared to an impersonal, mass email.


Be Kind - nevertheless, let's also be conscious that people have bad days, and might not feel like turning their video on. If you notice a colleague who has their video off more than often, send them a chat asking if everything is OK and that you are there for them if they need to vent.


3. LIVE EVENTS = Stronger Team Dynamics Enhance your team dynamics with live broadcasts in Microsoft Teams. Live broadcasts are the perfect vehicle for company leaders to give presentations to staff, or for outside experts to share insights with your group. Live events are of course broadcast in real-time, creating a more exciting atmosphere and deeper connection between presenters and audience than pre-recorded presentations. Live events can also be recorded and packaged for later viewing or use by employees, customers or other collaborators. Consider building work relationships through Microsoft Teams by using live broadcasts for: ● Question & Answer sessions between company leaders and staff ● Knowledge-sharing presentations by internal or external advisors ● Keynote speakers at conferences ● Webinars, symposiums or other types of forums ● Sales and marketing events for a targeted external audience or the general public ● All-staff presentations or conventions ● Virtual town halls for building dialogue with staff or outside stakeholders


4. ENCOURAGE = Better Uptake Naturally, the extent to which Microsoft Teams can level up your work groups’ collaborative abilities will depend largely on how each person uses the software. To meet the goal of building work relationships through Microsoft Teams, while maximising the effectiveness of this platform, there are two critical steps to take: Align Microsoft Teams Usage with Goals- encourage your team to not only use the software, but to do so in a way that aligns with goals relating to an individual, working group and organisational performance. How can Teams be used by an employee to hit their growth goals? Can Teams be used by a group in a manner that overcomes a production problem? Is the organisation advocating that employees feel free to voice their ideas through Teams in keeping with a company culture that values employees’ input? Training and Best Practices - Microsoft Teams is a relatively straightforward platform to use. Because many people can jump on the software and use it intuitively for basic tasks, it can be easy to overlook how to augment its capabilities for an individual’s or a group’s workflow. Similarly, users may not know the full suite of Teams tools. Just like any software, it is highly advisable to offer a variety learning and training options to people. These will improve people's skills and make them more comfort with using the software. In addition to teaching all of the features of Teams and how to access them, working groups should develop Microsoft Teams best practices. This document can serve as a roadmap on how a specific team can incorporate Teams into its workflow for the utmost efficiency.

Would you like your people to take Microsoft Teams to the next level?


Our WorkingSmart with Microsoft Teams training course is Instructor-led and tailored to best suit the audience. Learn more with the links below:

-


Priority Management is a worldwide training company with 55 offices in 15 countries. We have successfully trained more than two million graduates in Priority workshops. Our programs help companies and people be more effective and manage their workflow in and out of the office by providing tools, processes and discipline. Simply put - A Better Way To Work! Clients range from Fortune 500 companies, small-to-medium businesses and government/military employees.


Click Here to learn more about how Priority can help you and your team Work Smart, develop essential management skills and the competencies to....make life and work better and happier!


This blog has been sourced by Priority Management International and edited by Priority Management London.


bottom of page