Microsoft Teams: What You Should Know Before Joining Your Coworkers

Microsoft Teams: What You Should Know Before Joining Your Coworkers

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The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many employees to work from home. Instead of sitting in physical meetings, moving from cubicle to cubicle, and taking phone calls at their desks to collaborate with their coworkers on work-related projects, employees are now using remote work tools.

Microsoft Teams is just one of the many platforms employees are using for collaboration during the COVID-19 crisis. More than 75 million workers are interacting with their coworkers on the Microsoft Teams platform, a number that has nearly doubled since early March, according to Microsoft's third-quarter earnings report. Even though more workers are using Teams now than ever before, not everybody is familiar with its functionality.

There's nothing to be ashamed of if Microsoft Teams is new to you. Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that offers chat capabilities, video conferencing, file storage, and more. It’s designed to assist remote employees with collaboration to accomplish a common goal. The platform essentially enables these employees to openly collaborate in real-time on projects by providing them with a chat-based workspace.

Before getting started with Teams, there are a few things you should know.

What exactly is a “team”?

Team members can be within a single department or across an organization. What brings a team together is the “outcome they’re driving toward.” Avoid cluttering your workspace by only adding a team when several people are working toward a common goal, and it's necessary for collaboration. Also, try to keep your teams small by being selective when adding members. You may want to follow this simple rule: Only add someone who can provide value. Don’t worry about forgetting someone. You can add new team members if the need arises.

Use channels to communicate

Think of channels as discussion topics within a team. Channels are where you and your team members hold meetings, have conversations, and work on projects together. There’s no limit on the number of channels you can create in a team. Create the number of channels you think will help your team move toward its common objective.

Your activity feed is your best friend

The Teams platform may overwhelm you at first, especially if you’re a member of several teams, and within those teams are numerous channels, but there’s no reason to panic. You can stay on top of things with your activity feed — it's your best friend. You can find all of your notifications in your activity feed. Teams also allows you to customize your notifications.

Add tabs to help organize files within a channel

Tabs help team members with organizing data. Teams allows you to add tabs to any of your member channels. Users can access and manage data more easily by adding tabs to a channel. For example, the general Files tab houses all the files for that channel. Use tabs as a navigation tool.

It may take a while for you to get used to Microsoft Teams, but after you do, you won’t want to collaborate without it.