During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been hugely impressed by Microsoft Teams and the way in which it can assist businesses with remote workers. Microsoft’s premium collaboration tool is full of useful features that can benefit businesses of any size, in any industry. We’ve found that it has a wide range of useful tools that will help make your business more productive. In this blog post, we look at five of our favourite Microsoft Teams features and explain a little about what they are, and how they might help.
This is a hugely popular feature, and whilst it’s common amongst similar platforms, it’s rarely done this well. The user experience of any software that offers guest access is often tedious at best. Usually, you need to register for access, an action that will no doubt cost you your email address and an endless stream of marketing emails. On occasions, you also need to download an app or the software itself, before you can use it. With Microsoft Teams, things are a little different. Whilst you do need an email address, you don’t have to register for the service and you don’t need to download anything either. You can access it all in the browser. What’s more certain features like video meetings don’t even require an email address for guest access. This might seem like an incredibly small feature, but a positive user experience means your first impression with guests isn’t cumbersome or awkward. That’s a big tick in our book!
Tabs are great for sharing additional content amongst your workforce, in a quick, easy and meaningful manner. Tabs can be added to any channel and allow you to bring in interactive content. Have a look at some of the options available below. This is where integrations really come into their own!
We promise this feature hasn’t been added purely because it makes you feel clever, although that is an added bonus! Slash commands are quick instructions you can give in order to perform common actions. For example, you might wish to change your status to ‘Away’ when you leave your desk at lunch. To do that, simply type /away into the command box at the top of the window and your status will change. There are loads of these! Some of our favourites are:
/GoTo – Jumps straight to a channel.
/Call – Starts a phone.
/Unread – View all your unread activity.
/WhatsNews – See what’s new in Teams.
If you type / into the command bar at the top of the Teams window you will see a list of the available slash commands. Keep checking back, because these are being added to regularly!
The Microsoft Teams mobile app comes with a brilliant feature called ‘quiet hours’ to help you maintain a positive work/life balance. Using the feature allows you to silence notifications from the app during certain hours of the day. You can even use it to silence notifications for entire days at a time – perfect at the weekend! With the working day becoming blurred due to remote working, we’ve found this feature to be really useful when trying to strike the right balance between work and life. Notifications can invade your personal life if you’re not careful, but this setting allows you to control that, and make Teams work around your schedule.
The Introduction of Bots
The introduction of bots into Microsoft Teams is an early attempt to introduce users to AI and automation. Teams features several bots, of which users can interact with to gather information or perform simple tasks. For example, StatsBot can provide scheduled reports from services such as Google Analytics, whereas WhoBot can tell you who in your team knows what. We feel that these bots are only just scratching the surface when it comes to what their future potential may be, so it’s worth keeping an eye on this feature as we’re sure they’ll continue to develop with time, and soon become an integral part of your workflow.