In 2020, COVID-19 virtually stopped the world and forced most of us to stay home for fear of catching or spreading the virus. With so many people stuck indoors, businesses had to find new ways to help their employees work remotely, relying on software and technology to keep their staff connected.
While the seriousness of the virus seems to be lessening in many areas around the world, most industry experts now suggest home-working is likely to become part of the culture of work and could be with us long after the virus has passed.
Remote working offers significant benefits for both employees and companies alike – most notably saving money for employers (smaller premises means lower rent, rates and utility bills) and removing the daily commute for workers. Moreover, using innovative software like Microsoft Teams enables staff to set up a virtual office and work collaboratively on files.
The advantages of using Microsoft Teams
The greatest asset of Microsoft Teams is the software’s ability to consolidate the entire work process in one single platform. Where previously, work chats might get fragmented through emails, voice calls, texts or instant messaging, the Teams interface puts all communication in one place — easily trackable for when you need to verify details or check for project updates.
Setting up a Teams environment is easy – simply give your project a title, select the core components you require and invite other users to join. As Teams provides such an extensive and comprehensive range of tools, it can be used for almost any project and provides a hub for your employees to complete their work.
The software is particularly good for remote working as it provides a virtual workspace where your staff can congregate to discuss and complete projects. The key features of Microsoft Teams which you’ll use most include:
Threaded chat and Skype calling: Teams features threaded chats to enable everyone in your organization to keep track of conversations and offer progress updates. However, in circumstances that require discussing more sensitive information, individuals can message one another privately, without other users seeing. Teams is also tightly integrated with Skype, making it possible to arrange and hold video conferences with your entire network, all directly within the software. Simply agree a time with your staff and initiate the call.
Tight integration with the software you use most: Microsoft 365 (formerly Office) remains the most popular office tool in the world and all the main programs are directly embedded in Teams. Programs like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, Planner and OneNote have native support in Teams, meaning staff can work together collaboratively on documents. This also means they can share and discuss updates in real-time. Having native support of these tools also means your employees can get direct access to files, all clearly referenced in one place.
High levels of customization: Because every project is different, with its own precise requirements, milestones and deadlines, Microsoft Teams features high levels of customization. Each Team member’s workspace can be tailored to their particular needs, including prioritizing information most pertinent to their particular role. As the software uses the same Connector system used in Microsoft Exchange, Teams even allows notifications from third-party services like Twitter and GitHub – and can be extended yet further to feature other common services. Companies like codesoftware.net have also developed add-ons for Microsoft Teams to enable extended reporting, analytics and voice-recording services.
MS Teams is secure: Teams uses secure encryption to protect sensitive data from prying eyes, giving you peace of mind as you work on your files. Also, the data is stored on a global network of data houses, centrally managed and backed up frequently.