A hidden gem in Office365: Teams

It’s not easy being productive at work.

There’s social media lurking around the corner and there are colleagues that keep popping by your desk.

When it comes to actual work getting done, there’s more obstacles coming up: finding the scattered information, keeping your Favorites or Bookmarks up to date with your company’s systems, getting all information secured easily without bothering your end users a lot, and just getting to your key information quickly.

It’s hard for paper(less) workers these days.

Luckily, Office 365 can help out a great deal.

Managing email, files, tasks, resources, invoices, offers, … Office 365 is rather good at it, at an interesting price point.

But how does this help our workers?

Introducing Teams

Teams is Microsoft’s answer to its competitor, Slack. And it sure does a decent job at supporting development teams getting work done. But there’s so much more in Teams that can help other workers across departments!

Basically, Microsoft Teams has … well … Teams. Teams consist of several Channels. Each Channel has several “tabs” with functionality.

Here’s a schematic overview of how the interface looks:

  1. Teams: a team is basically a group of people that work together on Marketing, Sales, HR, Project XYZ, … Security is set up around that Team, so everything that is created for that project, like Files or Tasks, is secured.
  2. Channels: to group your work inside a Team more conveniently, you can create multiple channels. You get the “General” channel by default. For example you could organize HR around 3 channels: Culture, Recruitment, and Employer Branding. Each Channel has its own Files, Tasks, …
  3. Tabs: each channel can have several Tabs. You can think of a Tab as a kind of application that you can use within that channel. So for instance, the HR team can have the following tabs on the Recruitment channel:
    1. Files: including job listing Word documents, invoices for job listing sites and LinkedIn, password files for those services, …
    2. Tasks: an Office 365 Planner to organize the different stages your applicants run through at what state they are in (your Kanban board like in Trello)
    3. Notes: meeting notes of the interviews with candidates can be kept safely in the HR team and not inside other (shadow IT) places
    4. Conversations: this is probably the most Slack-like thing around and won’t work for many teams, probably including the HR team. This default Tab (that you can’t remove as of writing) allows you to have persistent conversations within the team/channel. You can see this as your virtual meeting room or workplace: even though you’re not around physically, you still have your digital “you” that can interact with your team using text, links, smileys and video chat (powered by Skype for Business).
    5. There are unlimited ways you can mix & match Tabs to suit your teams/channels.

Why Microsoft Teams is so brilliant

Okay, maybe “brilliant” is a bit strong, but the idea of a one-stop shop for your HR team is great!

Instead of looking for the HR site on the intranet or trying to remember where to go to manage job listing or what the status is for that candidate. Just open Microsoft Teams.

As you’re part of the Team it will show up in your Teams list and you can even favorite your team. Just navigate to your desired channel and wham! There’s your files, tasks, external web sites (using the Website Tab).

I’ve used this functionality many times when switching tasks between team coach/lead strategist and consultant roles. Just go to the team you need to work for and you’ll get all the bells and whistles you need to do your work.

Securely, because Office 365 Groups takes care of all of the O365 applications so that files and tasks and notes are secured with the same centralized list of members of your Team.

And to top all of that, Microsoft is investing strongly in this new direction as they are positioning it as the successor of Skype for Business.

So no more frustration?

I like to think so, yes

Where’s that sales document? Right, chances are it’s with the Sales Team.

Where’s the HR job listing? Right, probably under the HR Team.

Where are my project documents? Chances are, they’re in the project’s Team.

Simple to find, easy to secure, and versatile enough to support very diverse teams.

I’m sold, how about you?

For more information, please get in touch and we’ll gladly help you:

Written by Sebastiaan Mindreau, Lead Strategist Digital at LoQutus.