In light of the Covid-19/Coronavirus pandemic it has become even more apparent that the Traditional Workplace is inefficient and not geared up to be the Modern Workplace that is currently required. In case you’re wondering what, the Modern Workplace is, here’s a definition from Microsoft:

“The modern workplace is evolving at lightning speed, with distributed teams, brand-new business models, and complex security issues. The right digital tools connect and support employees, wherever they are, to encourage productivity, engagement, and collaboration.”

What the traditional workplace most often lacks is a genuine hub to enable teams to work centrally, collaboratively and remotely. Team members need to be able to communicate with each other and have easy access to all of the apps required to deliver against whatever their task might be, and Microsoft Teams delivers on both fronts.

If you’re not aware of Microsoft Teams, it’s the successor to Skype for Business, which has a recently announced end of life date as July 31, 2021. Microsoft Teams however is much more than just a ‘unified communications’ platform, it’s a workspace, a hub for teamwork in Office 365 and is unsurprisingly the fastest growing app from Microsoft.

Support your Remote Workforce

To support organisations during the Covid-19 pandemic, Mirosoft have released an article answering the most frequently asked questions about how IT admins can manage the increased number of users working remotely. With some practical guidance on how to support the remote workforce to be productive when they’re working from home (WFH). You can access the article from Microsoft HERE.

You can also SIGNUP and start using the FREE version of Microsoft Teams TODAY, to access the following functionality:

Microsoft Teams Features Listing

Fig 1. Microsoft Teams FREE Features

To learn more about Microsoft Teams and how it can help, keep reading!

Microsoft Teams: Improving Communication & Remote Working

The most commonly used forum for communication (team chat) within most organisations is still email, whilst that’s ok, it’s not really the best forum for ongoing discussions around projects or tasks or realtime collaboration. Think about life outside of work, for group chats / video calls you probably use WhatsApp, it’s quick and efficient – just like Microsoft Teams.

Of course, there’s a place for email but the usage needs to be focused and unfortunately for many people the inbox acts as a catch-all for all comms, both internal, external, formal, informal and everything else in-between.

Apparently, the average office worker receives 121 emails a day and send around 40; and it can be frustrating trawling through them all. Too many emails can crowd out the main tasks that need to be focused on – not ideal when you have dependencies and fast approaching deadlines!

In Microsoft Teams, teams are made up of channels, most PMO’s that we work with now have a channel per project (programme or portfolio) and within those channels you can hold meetings, have conversations and work on files together.

Microsoft Teams | Wellingtone

Fig 2. Screenshare example of Microsoft Teams

There are several advantages to using Microsoft Teams over email:

  • All topic specific conversations and files exist in the team channel rather than being spread across a variety of mailboxes. There’s increased visibility and one place to look. Note that documents & other files are stored in a SharePoint document library.
  • Conversations stay in Teams; there’s less likelihood of splinter conversations taking place whereby recipients might drop off from the email ‘To’ or even the ‘CC’ lists!
  • Email traffic will ease up and hopefully become more focused i.e. on external conversations hopefully resulting in fewer distractions.
    Microsoft Teams: One Solution to Unite all Apps

As well as providing all the features required for meetings, calling & file sharing it allows for app integration, which basically allows users to access of the required apps from a single window within the channel.

To illustrate, imagine you’re working on a hybrid project that employs Microsoft Project Online, Azure DevOps (or Jira), Excel and SharePoint – typically a team member would need to open up each individual solution on the desktop or across a number of browser tabs – however Microsoft Teams acts like a glue that binds together the workspace for this project. The Team member simply starts up Microsoft Teams in the morning, navigates to the channel and every required tab is open and ready to go.

There are a multitude of app integrations available from within the app store, you can even upload your own!

Microsoft Teams App Store | Wellingtone

Fig 3. App store within Microsoft Teams

Next Steps

Microsoft Teams is constantly evolving so Keep an eye on what’s new in Microsoft Teams and have a look at the official page on the Microsoft portal for details on plans and licensing.

If you want to discuss how Wellingtone can help you to work smarter then contact us.