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Remote Working - Microsoft Teams

Remote Working with Microsoft Teams

As companies strive to provide business continuity through the Coronavirus outbreak, it is important to find ways of keeping up productivity and motivation of employees even if they have to work from home in isolation. Microsoft teams is one means of staying in touch and retaining business communication and productivity for remote workers and employees working from home.

What is Microsoft teams?

It is a tool that enables teamwork from Office 365 software.  It actually replaces Skype for business online as Microsoft’s professional online meeting solution for team members.  It is a software that combines instant messaging, calling, document collaboration and video conferencing into a single app, everything is integrated to enable new ways of working, allowing collaboration remotely.

What can you use Microsoft Teams for?

There are many ways Teams can be used to increase productivity whether using the software in the office or remotely, it’s an extremely flexible software.  Here’s a list of some of the key functions available through Teams.

  • Virtual consultations
  • Senior leadership team meetings
  • Internal collaboration
  • Collaboration externally – stay connected with customers, partners and clients
  • Multi teams with unlimited numbers
  • Group chats 
  • Video calls and video meetings (individual and teams)
  • Conference call & Audio conferencing
  • Screen sharing real time
  • Document sharing
  • Create to do lists
  • Create team projects
  • Remote teaching
  • Remote IT support
  • Live events

The software offers much more than just a platform for chatting with colleagues.  Whilst the chat function is quick, useful and helps to improve communication, teams provides so much more to enhance employee productivity and communication especially as more and more people are moving to remote work.  It can even be used to connect friends and family through group calls and voice calls.

Can I use Teams for Virtual Meetings?

Audio and video call conferencing is an easy way to have virtual meetings.  You can easily invite people to join meetings either through the calendar app within teams or through your outlook account which is conveniently linked to teams.

During a meeting up to 4 attendees will be visible at any one time.  It has an interactive function in that as people are video chatting, they will appear into view.  Teams can cope with up to 50 attendees in a group video call.  It is advisable to request everyone to mute their microphones to reduce noise interference – this can be easily reversed as and when someone wishes to speak.  You can also use the chat function during a meeting which is a helpful feature.

Meetings in teams has never been easier, once a meeting has been set up you can chat with participants pre-meeting and share the agenda, files and documents to be reviewed.   During a meeting you can also share your screen to go through a presentation or document.  There is even a ‘whiteboard’ tab where everyone can add ideas and thoughts!

After you have finished a meeting, the call is immediately available to listen to for anyone who missed it, together with the meeting notes and agreed actions.

Teams offers a unique video conferencing solution with many added features to ensure you have everything you need virtually at your finger tips.  It’s a productive and efficient alternative when it is not possible to have face to face meetings in a conference room or working spaces.

How do I get set up with Teams?

First, you will need to have Office 365 installed.  (Please note that there is a free version that you may be able to get access to.)

You can sign in, using your Microsoft 365 email/username and password, through the following routes:

  1. In Windows – click start to find or search for Microsoft Teams
  2. On Mac, go to the Applications folder and click Microsoft Teams
  3. On mobile, tap the Teams icon

How can I get started with Teams?

Once you are in, learn more about the basics by using this quick start guide to Microsoft Teams and tips for working with the software.  This guide shows an Infographic and screenshot of the Teams dashboard with identified areas within it, as well as the following ‘how to’ guides:

  • Sign in
  • Start a conversation
  • Pick a team and channel
  • Start a meeting
  • Make video and audio calls
  • Reply to a conversation
  • Mention someone
  • Add an emoji, meme or GIF
  • Stay on top of things
  • Add a tab in a channel
  • Share a file
  • Work with files
  • Search for stuff
  • Find your personal apps
  • Add apps
  • Next steps including how to get free training, tutorials and videos.

Quick start guide to Microsoft Teams

What if I experience issues with Teams?

If you are experiencing issues using the software, this may be due to the surge of demand due to the effects of coronavirus which is forcing millions of people to work from home and causing major outage.  In the first instance, here is a link to troubleshoot Microsoft Teams integration.  You can also go through this link for general help and learning.

Are there any alternative remote working solutions?

Yes.  There are many different options for remote working.  They all work in similar ways and offer similar tools, so it is really a preference of what works best for your requirements.

Alternative video conference solutions include Zoom and Cisco Webex.