This straightforward guide has been designed to introduce you to Microsoft Teams and to ease you gently into using its features and benefits for improved productivity and teamwork.
Overview – Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams – a complete workspace for your entire organisation.
Businesses operate a hybrid of homeworking, office workspaces and remote access from anywhere at any time. Cloud-based applications are in demand and while you may have heard of Microsoft Teams you might not be familiar with its capabilities.
Microsoft Teams is designed for use by small groups of users and is delivered as part of an active Microsoft 365 subscription.
Benefits of Microsoft Teams
The benefits of Microsoft Teams – one seamlessly integrated space
Teams is so much more than a video calling and messaging platform. The powerful cloud-based application is available to use with iOS and Android mobiles and tablets and your desktop for complete synchronisation.
You can securely store and share files, integrate your favourite applications, such as Word, Powerpoint and Excel, and communicate with your entire organisation in real time within an audio visual and text workspace.
Logging in for the first time
When you log in for the first time it helps to know what your options are to become familiar with the look and feel.
Click the Microsoft Teams icon and log in using your username and password. You only have to sign in once, so remember to check the box to ‘stay signed in’ and click ‘yes’ to hide future messages to save time.
Find your teams and channels
Teams are a place to stay organised with the people, files, services and content that matters in order to progress projects and have meaningful conversations.
You can set up multiple teams within your Microsoft workspace, each one bringing together a collection of people, conversations, files and tools, referred to as a channel. A channel is specific to a topic, department or project with all of its files, apps, conversations and services accessible by category tabs. It really is that simple.
Start a conversation
Eliminate the need for emails and start a conversation with your entire team within a channel by typing your message and clicking send. Create a private new chat message with an individual, or between a group of people, within a channel or make a video or audio call by clicking a single icon.
Join in real-time instant messaging conversations from any device by using the @ symbol before typing a person’s name, a channel or a team to notify them of what’s new.
Organising your workspace
Boost creativity, share ideas and progress client and in-house workflows as individual tasks or team projects. Add meetings to your Outlook calendar and sync everything with your mobile and desktop to effortlessly share a multitude of content.
It’s never been easier to set up a new piece of work, keep track of deadlines and stay in the loop with client and colleague conversations. All notifications are stored in one place so you can see the latest developments in a single glance.
Starting a meeting
Starting a meeting with a colleague or multiple colleagues (involved in the same channel) is a quick and easy process. Simply click the ‘meet now’ icon found under the message field and type @ to select people to invite from the drop-down list of channel collaborators. There will be an option to create a waiting room for attendees to access before they are admitted for security purposes.
Joining a meeting is simple. If you are logged into Microsoft Teams a notification will alert you of a waiting invitation. You can also click the link in the Outlook calendar appointment or within the email invite. Select your audio and video preferences and remember to add your name so that people know who they are talking to.
If you don’t have a Microsoft Teams account, you can choose to download the application (it takes seconds) or click once to join the meeting online.
Share, organise & edit files
There are several ways to organise and share files so that they remain linked to specific channels or are accessible throughout your entire Teams account.
Clicking ‘files’ on the left-hand side of the dashboard will display everything saved within all your teams. Clicking ‘files’ at the top of a channel will show anything related to that individual channel and give you the option to highlight a selected file as a new tab. ‘More options’ will display what you can do with the file, such as opening it to edit or sharing it with a colleague.
Files can be edited securely and customised with notes and apps in real time with a single tap – it couldn’t be easier.
Staying on top of activities
Sometimes it makes sense to have a quick visual overview in one place. On the left of your Team’s dashboard is an ‘activity’ icon that produces a handy chronological feed of all your notifications and developments within every channel you follow.
Here, you can quickly scan the feed to see who has messaged you, what tasks have been assigned and any files or conversations that need attention.
Adding apps and using stickers
Clicking the ‘apps’ icon on the left-hand side of your Team’s dashboard will open a visual inventory of the apps you have access to. From this window any app can be opened or uninstalled, and you can search, add new apps and choose the appropriate settings to customise everything to your needs.
Microsoft Teams has a fun side too. You can easily add an emoji, meme or GIF to any private or group channel conversation. Type your message then click the ‘sticker’ icon underneath the field to choose an appropriate visual guaranteed to make your colleagues smile!
Searching and adding tabs
Tabs are important applications, services and files that are visible at the top of every channel. Click the ‘+’ icon to select the app and follow the prompts to access what you need. A search field is available if you can’t see what you want.
To find something specific within an app, type the relevant words into the command box in the top right of your channel. The left-hand panel will pull up all matching results allowing you to select between messages, people and files.
There is a filter icon available to refine your search even further.
Next, we’ll introduce a step by step guide to setting up and customising your own team in Microsoft Teams.