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Business Unplugged™
This blog features Carol Roth's tough love on business and entrepreneurship, as well as insights from Carol's community of contributors.

5 Ways Your Team Can Collaborate Better with Microsoft Teams

Written By: Carol Roth | No Comments

In recent years, email, file sharing and other tools have boosted your employees’ ability to collaborate, regardless of where they happen to be at any given time. But, technology has fallen short of simulating a close-knit work environment. Well, Microsoft Teams* has bridged the gap. Here are 5 ways that Microsoft Teams helps your employees work together effectively, whether they are in the same room or across the globe.

#1. Save time tracking down files.

Your employees work together well, but they are also individuals who tend to organize files in their own ways. Even when they meet in the same room, how much time do they waste trying to locate the files that are essential to the discussion?

With Microsoft Teams, employees share a “workspace,” which is essentially a common digital environment devoted to the project at hand. Important files might be buried deep in a maze of folders, but they are instantly accessible from the workspace, without time-consuming searches

Don’t forget that emails are files too. When a project suddenly changes course in ways that affect the team’s current activities, they need to know about it right now, even if they monitor their email boxes infrequently during the day. Those important messages pop up prominently in the Teams workspace. No one will miss vital information that stands out on their screens.

Of course, the workspace is fully customizable, so you can organize everything on the screen for easy accessibility. Where many desktops become overcrowded over time, you control the look and feel of the workspace so that information never becomes hidden in plain sight.

#2. Collaborate in real time.

Anyone who has ever shared files with other people knows how challenging it can be to collaborate, unless they work together in one room. It can be frustrating to watch your important changes disappear just because someone else on the team starts working on a prior version.

If your employees use the versioning features in Office 365, they are already a step ahead of the game, but between its chat feature and the ability to work on documents in real time, Teams helps take it a step further. Now, no matter where they are, everyone can witness changes as they occur. Even if employees are not in an official online meeting, they can chat through their changes and see results, avoiding taking backward steps during the collaboration process.

#3. Access chat histories for context.

Any number of meetings and informal conversations contribute to a project’s completion. Unfortunately, even when everyone takes notes, they can misinterpret important details or miss them entirely. Imagine what can happen just because a team member forgot about a new requirement to obtain customer feedback during specific points in the project.

This is one example of how a Microsoft Teams chat is more powerful than a typical meeting. Of course, you can conduct formal meetings or even one-on-ones. But, Teams automatically retains histories of all chats. Even if you attended a chat, you can refer back to it — and even previous iterations of documents. This history is invaluable when you need to get the details right and keep others up-to-date.

#4. Customize the Teams environment for full access to needed apps.

Of course, team members have instant access to the wide array of Microsoft tools that they use to do their jobs every day. But, you don’t want them to have to exit the Teams workspace when they need to use external apps.

Microsoft already provides many powerful tools, but the company also integrates with a growing list of external providers. For example, if you want to use Trello for project management, use Growbots to generate leads or get travel assistance with Hipmunk, add the apps to the workspace so that everyone can use them.

#5. Get reliable security for all team members.

You don’t have to give up security just because multiple users can access the Teams workspace. Office 365 already provides the advanced Cloud security that you expect from Microsoft. And, you can set your own security within each Teams workspace to provide all needed information, while keeping confidential information private on a person-by-person basis.

You can seamlessly manage projects at any time and in any place.

Not too long ago, remote employees found ways to contribute to projects, but they felt external to the team. Even now, members that miss meetings or conversations are often left out in the cold. Microsoft Teams removes the sense of isolation that can stifle the excitement and creativity of project participants. Whether they stay current on all conversations or if they just share in an occasional joke, they get to know each other better and work together more effectively. This is what team spirit is all about.

 

*Disclosure: Carol Roth and Intercap Merchant Partners, LLC have a client relationship with Microsoft

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is currently an on-air contributor for the national cable television station CNBC, the pre-eminent name in business news, and the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country. Carol multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011 &2012) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth