Top Microsoft Teams Tips to Keep Your Team Together

People are already feeling strain with the rapidly changing face of Covid-19.  Stress and tensions are naturally high and for many organisations this could be first time they have asked people to work remotely for extended periods.   It’s definitely not our New Zealand cultural norm.  Re-creating your culture with your people working remotely is tricky.  Remember, a lot of people chose to keep working for you because they consider their colleagues to be friends.

Whilst organisations are rapidly rolling out new technologies and ways of working, this change is more hurried than normal, forcing users to adopt new ways of working while the system is being rolled out.

We are also likely to see an increase in cyber-crime as people exploit the crisis and vulnerabilities in internal processes e.g. an emailed invoice or request for payment or a message purporting to be an update.

Our Suggestions For Working Effectively with TEAMS

  • Replicate as much as possible the workspace at home.  In the workplace having a second monitor is common – where as a laptop by itself has a small screen to work remotely from, tools like Teams are much easier with a second screen. If people might need to work remotely tomorrow, they need to not only take device home but also power supply and headset.
  • Train your people – before they need it. Maximise the time they have to adopt and encourage practice while you still have them in the workplace.  We can help with remote training webinars JUST for your business.
  • Download the full version of apps to your device, including your mobile for a better experience – particularly alerts, remember you can turn off notifications by channel or conversation.
  • Users who work fixed hours or need a break, can turn off notifications (outside their work hours)
  • Structure your Teams to identify priorities. Teams enables you to manage priorities whereas email treats every message in the same way.
  • Blur video background. There is a famous video of a news programme interviewing a subject matter expert, that gets interrupted when the experts young daughter comes into the room.   When doing video calls, your people may not want to share their home workspace, so remember there is the option to blur background on video calls.
  • Teach the right tools for different types of communication. Email fantastic tool to communicate facts or information.  Use Teams to host conversations and respond to messages. Find ways to collaborate including discussions, online meetings and shared workspaces doc e.g. OneNote
  • Ensure your people don’t feel isolated.  Increase communications. Look for ways to connect with remote users and create opportunities for people to interact, make sure the introverts have a voice. Remember on line calls with the camera on help us read body language
  • Blend communication styles with your people, use a mix of email, IM and phone calls
  • Find ways to be social, have fun – people are social think about recreating the watercooler space, separating fun from business and reducing clutter
  • Make the Teams channel names easier to navigate.  Channel names can have emoji in it, which can make them more fun and quicker to find
  • Reinforce the need to stay cyber safe – in fact to be more vigilant than normal

Etiquette

  • Don’t replicate ‘reply all’ in Teams, @mentioning a whole team is like spam, we aim to reduce clutter
  • Use @mention to make it clear who you want to action. Avoid @mention the whole channel because people won’t know who needs to action an item
  • Teach people etiquette for conference calls e.g. mute your mic when your not talking, how to ask questions
  • Put a subject line at top of post. You wouldn’t send an email without a subject line
  • Consider using thumbs up to acknowledge a post. Like doesn’t need to be used in the same way as Facebook photos
  •  Teams can have external members remember to tell the Team if the Team has guests and who they are, including new people

But getting this right isn’t as simple as sending a list of “do’s and don’ts” to your staff.

Get help, to get it right

We can provide advice and training (either in person or online) to help your team be ready, including practicing with these tools before they are needed in practice.

Once you need remote working, it is much harder to get these things right.  The time to invest in an effective remote working plan and culture is NOW!