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Boost Business Productivity and Collaboration: A Microsoft Teams Tool Guide

Collaboration | Posted on September 10, 2019 by Ross Haven

The right collaboration tools can have a huge positive impact on productivity.

But collaboration can’t always wait for a scheduled meeting. In the workplace, casual conversations become working sessions at a moment’s notice. Whether they’re at the water cooler or across the world, colleagues need the ability to create, share and contribute without friction.

Our collaboration study found 95% of North American workers rely on some form of collaboration to do their jobs. Meanwhile, 78% of workers experience frequent technical difficulties. Without the tools to support a dynamic, collaborative work environment, productivity suffers.

Microsoft designed Teams to offer features and functionality to overcome traditional barriers to productive, meaningful collaboration. In the article below, we explore its top 5 productivity-boosting tools.

1) Meet Now for Instant Collaboration

For collaboration to be effective, users need to start live collaboration sessions with audio, video and rich content sharing without waiting. Teams offers several ways to start instant meetings with the “Meet Now” feature.

With “Meet Now,” users can launch a meeting from within an existing conversation to retain its context. Or, they can use the toolbar at the bottom of the conversation tab to start a general meeting within a channel conversation. Before the meeting begins, Teams presents options for adding a subject to the meeting, turning on video or rescheduling.

Once a meeting is in progress, users can add participants or begin sharing content. They also have the power to capture meeting notes that will be added into the conversation feed once the meeting is concluded.

2) Seamless Access with Mobile Sharing

Good collaboration can happen anywhere, any time. Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever. Staying connected and being productive often means having the ability to access data and collaborate whether on a PC or mobile device. The Microsoft Teams mobile sharing and companion experiences make this a possibility.

In an ideal world, devices work together and extend the flexibility of collaboration applications. Traditional video meetings limit each participant to one device at a time. But often, completing related tasks during a meeting is easier with two.

Microsoft Teams lets users join an participate in meetings with a computer and phone, without conflict. The result is greater flexibility in communication, sharing and control.

3) Companion Experiences for Multi-Device Meetings

Remote users sometimes feel left out or distracted when they can’t see physical surroundings from a computer or room camera. Companion Experiences also solve many of the everyday problems hindering video meetings.

In a Teams meeting, joining with a phone as a companion device allows users to present live mobile videos or photos. Content presenting from the phone will display on the computer the same way everyone else sees it.

Presenting from a phone application or sharing content stored only on a phone often is another common cause of friction in meetings. In Teams, joining with a phone as a companion allows users to present straight from the device.

For those on the move, switching a meeting between a phone and computer without dropping can also be a trying experience. Often, it involves hanging up one device to switch to the other.  In a Teams meeting with a phone joined as a companion, users can toggle video, speaker and microphone between computer and phone in any combination.

4) Remote Control for PowerPoint Made Easier

For those who thrive in “presenter mode,” the power to control applications like PowerPoint while moving and talking is essential. In the past, this required using multiple systems, often combining PowerPoint with another videoconferencing solution on desktop or mobile or both.

A Teams meeting brings all of these systems together. Launching PowerPoint on a computer and controlling it from a phone, users can present PowerPoint content to local or remote participants.

As a bonus, other participants can review or request control of a presentation deck. This provides an excellent tool for Q&A sessions and a way around the time-lags that often creep up between presenters. Combine decks in Teams allows each presenter to take control as needed.

5) Creating and Navigating Org Charts with Who

Meaningful collaboration requires bringing together people with the right expertise at the right time. In the past, businesses would create manual organization charts and physical directories for this purpose. This presents several challenges. In today’s technology-rich environments, data lives in multiple locations, resulting in multiple – sometimes conflicting – sources.

End users need a single source of organizational information that stays accurate and up-to-date. Teams makes it possible through Who bot, which can easily identify people in your company to collaborate with. The Who bot makes it possible to find people based on skill set, department, hierarchy and previous activity on projects across Teams, SharePoint and email.

Users can interact with Who bot in many ways, such as typing question in the conversation tab or using the search taskbar on the top of the Teams application. Users can also type queries such as “/who  Who is Adele?” that Who bot can answer.

Teams also features a “Your Org” tab where users can view a visual Organization Chart. They can then search by name or alias to find other users and their peers, managers and direct reports.

The “Upcoming Meetings” tab which will display meetings are scheduled for the next 7 days with a visual representation of the other participants. Hovering over the user provides the entire contact card.

Get Moving with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is tailor-made to make collaboration more meaningful. Getting the most out of Teams takes careful planning and a deep understanding of end-user requirements. Without the right approach, you may fail to realize the full benefits of your Microsoft collaboration investment. Working with us ensures you capture end-user requirements, break down silos and optimize your Microsoft collaboration investments.

Don’t miss the previous articles in our series on how you can get the best value out of Microsoft Teams:

Ready to make way for meaningful collaboration?

Get your collaboration strategies off the ground with a fast-tracked migration to Microsoft Teams through Teams Accelerator. Learn more and start the conversation with one of our experts now.

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