Many teams are working remotely due to COVID-19; teams are being forced to use virtual tools for communication, like Microsoft Teams, to collaborate effectively!
Even though Microsoft Teams is an effective tool, it is also difficult to navigate!
In this article, we’ll explore how you can use Microsoft Teams’ key features and functions to use the program as a professional. We’ll begin by learning the basics of the use of Microsoft Teams.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based team collaboration service that is part of Microsoft 365. The primary capabilities of Microsoft Teams include business messaging and video calls, as well as calling along with file sharing. As a result, companies of all sizes can make use of Teams.
Teams are Microsoft’s primary cloud-based unified communication ( UC) offering. It competes against similar products, including Slack, Cisco Webex, and Google Workspace. As a communications application for business, Teams enables local and remote workers to work together on content in near-real time and near-real-time across various devices, such as laptops and mobile devices. In addition, Microsoft Teams integrates with other Microsoft business applications, such as Exchange, PowerPoint, and SharePoint.
Microsoft Teams is especially useful for remote collaboration since it keeps teams that are dispersed workers in touch and communicating. The COVID-19 epidemic compelled companies worldwide to adopt Microsoft Teams extensively — and other collaboration software as a communication platform to facilitate remote working.
Microsoft Teams is usually deployed across all organizations, not only within specific corporate departments. In some instances, Teams may replace email in internal communication within the company among employees.
Microsoft Teams’ features make it distinct from other collaboration software.
Channels and Teams. Teams are comprised of channels. Channels are discussion boards for teammates.
Conversations within teams and channels. Team members can join and view various conversations on the General channel. They can also utilize the @ feature to connect others to conversations in different channels, like Slack.
Chat function. The basic chat function is typically found in most collaboration applications and can be used between groups, teams, and even individuals.
Document storage within SharePoint. Every Team which utilizes Microsoft Teams will have a website within SharePoint Online that includes the default folder for document libraries. The files shared across all conversations will be automatically saved to the folder. Security and permissions options can be customized to suit sensitive data.
Video calling online as well as screen sharing. Enjoy smooth and speedy video calls with employees working within your company or customers outside of your company. Video call features are a great feature to include on the platform for collaboration. You can also benefit from easy and quick desktop sharing for technical support and real-time, multi-user collaboration.
Online meetings. This feature can improve your communication in corporate-wide gatherings and even train through online meetings, which can accommodate up to 10,000 participants. Online meetings can accommodate any person who is outside or within a business. The feature also comes with an aid to scheduling and note-taking software, as well as file uploading and chat messaging during the meeting.
Audio conferencing. This is a feature you can’t find on most collaboration platforms. With an audio conference, it is possible to join the online conference via phone. With an access number that covers thousands of locations, users traveling can join without internet access. It is important to note that this will require additional licensing.
Microsoft teams pricing & plans
Let’s start with the basics. MS Teams is a program that will differ in price based on usage. The cost of MS Teams can also change from year to year, and it is regularly updated. The MS Teams cost is included in the price for Office 365 at higher tiers. So, you can download MS Teams for free standalone, but if you decide to purchase it, you’ll typically purchase the option of Microsoft 365 Business Basic or Microsoft 365 Business Basic. There are a variety of pricing levels.
- Free. In the free version, Meetings can be scheduled with up to 100 people; however, you can’t access meeting recordings. There are a lot of features for collaboration and chat but no productivity applications, services, security, or compliance options. This is an excellent option when basic collaboration and communication features are needed. Smaller businesses typically only require the basic edition of MS Teams, but there are so many significantly enhanced benefits of Office 365 that buying it can be more beneficial.
- Microsoft 365 Business Basic: $5.00 per user a month. You can have meetings that can have up to 300 people. The service comes with chat and collaboration capabilities; however, there aren’t any services, productivity applications, security and compliance options, or administration tools. Therefore, there aren’t advanced features apart from the rest features Office 365 suite.
- Microsoft 365 Business Standard: In this, you can avail yourself of productivity apps and services. This includes Exchange mail hosting and personal storage for files, desktop versions, and Microsoft Bookings. It will cost you 12.5$ a month.
- Office 360 E3: You can have meetings with up to 10,000 people and have up to 500 000 users. Security, compliance, support, and administration features are accessible. Most businesses aren’t going to require this level of support and functionality, but larger companies often do. It will cost you 20$ a month.
- Add-on licenses: There are several other licenses to use specific Microsoft Teams features and to provide you with more flexibility. Audio conferencing, toll-free numbers, call rooms, and plans for advanced communication are available to companies of any size. Click here to see the entire list and others.
How to use Microsoft Teams
The bottom line is that, in the end, Microsoft Teams is all about collaboration.
The scenarios in which you’re most likely to gain by using Teams is collaboration in a department, group, or project or with people who aren’t part of your company. What are the best ways to arrange Teams to handle these scenarios?
Microsoft Teams used by departments
Each department within the company (e.g., marketing and HR) can have its own assigned group within Teams.
You can also make channels for every collaboration topic.
Examples: Templates & procedures. The team members collaborate and share their expertise on documents – all in this channel.
The majority of our collaboration is done through channels for team members.
Microsoft Teams for project management
You can form a brand new team for each of your clients, and each assignment or project you work on assigned to a customer is given an individual channel.
Channels are the place where work gets completed and can be a fantastic method of facilitating conversations about particular projects and workflows. It is possible to create up to 200 public channels as well as 30 channels that are private throughout a team’s existence. The number of channels includes channels you make and then delete.
To determine if the channel is public or private, consider the subject’s sensitivity around where the channel’s arranged.
For instance, you may like the Brainstorming channel to remain open to ensure that everyone on the Team can contribute whenever they are thinking of something or an idea. At the same time, you might want to restrict access to your Budget channel to only select team members who need to be informed.
An additional folder is created within the SharePoint document library if you make a channel. Everything related to the project is now centrally located in SharePoint, allowing anyone to work with SharePoint and Teams.
Keep in mind that choice is good. People like to work how they would like to work. Therefore, we attempted to ease their lives by providing an option for Teams within the SharePoint Quick Launch menu. Quick launch allows you to connect to a URL; that is, you are able to go to Teams and find the URL for the general channel:
For detailed instructions on how to insert links below the common Quick Launch headings, refer to the section on adding hyperlinks in Quick Launch in Microsoft Docs.
Everyone in the Team can move between Teamwork and SharePoint quickly. At present, there’s a limit of 100 channels for each Team. This should be enough for a while; however, there are always some exceptions.
Use Microsoft Teams in Video and voice meetings
Audio and video conferencing are an increasing part of Teams that has replaced Microsoft’s popular Skype for Business Online app.
This was particularly the case in the aftermath of the epidemic, as companies have rushed to make virtual meetings possible between remote employees. Microsoft had reported an increase of 1000% in meetings using video when businesses closed their doors and sent employees home. They also reported a dramatic rise in daily active Teams users, between 32 million users at the beginning of March to 75 million at the close of April.
To take advantage of the quick change in the work environment and ease videoconferencing fatigue, Microsoft has been quick to add new features to enhance the capability of working remotely, including video calls as the primary feature.
One of the most significant advancements was the launch of Together mode in the summer of this year. It creates a virtual setting like a conference room or cafe, resizing users’ video feeds and putting footage in a more authentic setting (at the very least, in comparison with Brady Bunch-style squares) to create a more shared space conducive to conversations. Microsoft introduced more of these scenes and layouts that are custom during September.
To cut down on distractions, real-time suppression of noise is now available. It uses deep-learning algorithms to block out background noise and only retain the signal from speech.
Teams also offer basic video-call features, including customized backgrounds, hand-raising, screen-sharing recordings, and live captions. Another highly sought-after feature -breakout rooms are expected to be available at the end of 2020.
Apart from video conferences for groups, users can use Teams to broadcast company-wide events and live-streaming videos that up to 10,000 workers can use (or 20000 using an Advanced Communications license add-on).
Audio call features include cloud voicemail call queues, call queues, direct routing to current telecom providers, as well as the audio conference.
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