The Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns have undoubtedly impacted the way in which businesses go about their daily operations, specifically how employees communicate and collaborate with one another.
According to official statistics, the number of daily active users of Microsoft Teams has almost doubled in the past year, increasing from 75 million users in April 2020 to 145 million in April 2021.
This significant spike in popularity can be linked to the nationwide lockdowns that forced employees to practice remote working for over a year, and whilst this was originally seen as a temporary measure, a long-term culture of flexible working has remained within many organisations.
As such, there are some important benefits that can be enjoyed through the implementation of Microsoft Teams, even for those businesses that are trialing a return to the workplace in some capacity.
1. Quick conversations
In the absence of face-to-face contact, there are limited opportunities to ask small but necessary work-related questions, that would usually be handled through a brief in-person interaction. Instead, employees have to rely on email to communicate, which in certain situations, can be a drawn-out way of receiving a relatively small amount of information.
However, with Microsoft Teams, co-workers can privately communicate through the instant messaging service, exchanging important files and information in real-time, as opposed to wasting time creating lengthy emails and waiting for a response.
2. Video calling
Even if most of your team are back working in the office, the video calling features of Microsoft Teams can still be extremely useful, especially when contacting clients for catch-up meetings. Whilst face-to-face meetings are still necessary in some situations, the pandemic and resulting lockdowns have warmed people to the idea of hosting online meetings, as it saves participants travelling long distances for relatively short meetings.
3. Unclog your emails
One of the biggest inconveniences with email conversations comes when you are part of an email thread containing multiple contacts. Before you know it, your inbox is filled with sub-conversations that are going on within the chain, and it can be difficult to find and discover the relevant info when it’s needed.
With Microsoft Teams, groups of people with common interests are separated into channels, with each channel built around a subtopic. For example, a Marketing Team may have channels for ‘blogs’ or ‘press releases’, allowing employees to share information without unnecessarily disturbing other colleagues. Not only this, but it removes the need for ‘email digging’ as information is easily discoverable in Teams.
4. Easy integration
Rather than having to toggle between different apps and programmes, Microsoft Teams is a combination of all the most popular tools, allowing services to be accessed at any time and from any place. Each file and document is stored securely in its original chat and important information can be pinned to the top of a conversation for easier access. If your team is hosting a brainstorming exercise, then the ‘Whiteboard’ service allows users to clearly point and present ideas through Teams too.
Within modern businesses, employees are expected to be easily contactable, which means they must have access to important programmes and services from their phones, tablets and laptops. The Microsoft Teams application makes this possible, as workers can read/send messages, join calls and participate in meetings from their phone if needed.
6. Scheduling improvements
Although it isn’t one of the most exciting tasks, it is absolutely vital that your employees have the tools needed to clearly schedule meetings and appointments, as it ensures better time management for everyone in the business. In Microsoft Teams, users can access a calendar in the left-hand menu, which has been integrated with employee’s Outlook accounts, so they can schedule meetings which then seamlessly sync across the entire system.
One of the biggest concerns for businesses when implementing a new solution that is primarily used for sharing information and communicating, is the security of sensitive records. With GDPR compliance still a major ongoing issue for businesses, and one that could lead to serious financial and reputational consequences, organisations need to be certain that data is properly accounted for, so that breaches cannot occur.
Utilising built-in information protection with eDiscovery and audit, Teams is also designed with multi-factor authentication and secure guest access, ensuring information and records are always protected and conversations can continue securely.
It’s never too late to experience…
Even if your business is yet to implement a Teams solution, that does not mean it is too late to experience the benefits associated with it.
Despite many organisations already returning to the workplace, the introduction of Microsoft Teams means employees have the tools needed to communicate and collaborate, even if they are working from home for a period of time.
With built-in video chat and calling features, colleagues can communicate with one another and host important client meetings, without having to travel long distances to attend.
Ultimately, the addition of Teams means that important business operations can continue as normal, no matter what logistical challenges are presented.