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An Overview of Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams was first released back in 2017, and since then has become a staple application in offices all over the world. Microsoft describes the platform as a “chat-based workspace in Office 365.” It’s used by all kinds of businesses as a way to enable increased collaboration among staff and external stakeholders. Read on for an overview of Microsoft teams and what it’s used for.

Why is Microsoft Teams useful?

Many companies find Microsoft Teams to be a useful application because it facilitates easy communication and collaboration. This is especially so for businesses that employ remote workers because Teams can be accessed from any device (password permitting).

Microsoft Teams for Remote Workers

It’s known that employees working from home, or other kinds of remote workers, can often feel disconnected from their colleagues. Microsoft Teams offers an ideal opportunity to remedy this, in that it can be accessed by any member of the team for quick communication.

Among Microsoft Teams’ functions are instant messaging, video calls, conference calls and screen sharing, all of which can vastly benefit colleagues who are working together on various projects, but are not located in the same office.

microsoft teams for remote workers

Microsoft Teams for Large Businesses

A similar problem can occur in large businesses that have many departments or offices – either nationally or internationally. When colleagues are physically situated far apart from each other, whether this is a case of different floors in an office building or two different international offices, Microsoft Teams offers easy ways in which they can collaborate.

In the case of multi-departmental businesses, the various uses of Microsoft Teams are also a great way to stimulate socialising and consequential teamwork. It allows colleagues to exchange ideas, express opinions, and ask questions in real-time.

Microsoft Teams for SMEs

The application is also vastly useful for small to medium-sized businesses. In any fast-paced environment in which staff are working on a number of different products, or on projects for multiple clients, communication can easily become disorganised. Microsoft Teams gives you the option to separate different communications into different categories, making it easier to stay on track.

Microsoft Teams and Office 365

Microsoft Teams is part of the Microsoft Office 365 package, and as such, it merges seamlessly with the other applications in 365. From within Teams it’s possible to access and interact with:

  • Excel
  • Word
  • OneNote
  • Planner
  • PowerPoint

The option to use these simultaneously means that documents can easily be shared and worked on with colleagues, and the organisation of meetings is simple and efficient.

microsoft teams

What is Microsoft Teams Used For?

Designed as an expansive communication application, Microsoft Teams is primarily used as a way for colleagues and third party individuals to contact each other and work closely together. It boasts a wide range of helpful functions to help facilitate collaboration via communication. These include:

Instant Messaging

One of the most popular uses of Microsoft Teams is the simple ‘Chat’ option. This works like other modern messenger applications such as WhatsApp and Slack, in that it allows users to type quick messages to each other that will appear instantly. It can be used for quick questions, social conversation, and sending documents too. There is also the option to use emojis and GIFs.

Video calling

Anyone in the same Microsoft Teams account (generally this would include a whole workforce or those who have been invited), can use the application to make video calls with each other. There can be two or more participants, meaning it’s an ideal platform on which to conduct team meetings with remote workers.

External conference calling

In addition to hosting video calls for teammates, Microsoft Teams also gives the option to invite external stakeholders to calls, using a dial-in phone number. This is a useful function for companies that use third party suppliers, or who have clients that are closely involved with projects. Again, this option can also be used to conduct business meetings with people who are unable to visit your office.

Document sharing

Documents created on Microsoft applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint can be uploaded on Microsoft Teams, for sharing among colleagues. Such documents can be downloaded and edited on a desktop, or likewise, it’s possible for multiple colleagues to work on a document simultaneously via SharePoint. SharePoint is a Microsoft document storage platform, where documents are automatically saved and can be accessed at any time. Password protection can be added if required, to limit the accessibility of documents.

Screen sharing

For even further ease of collaboration, it’s possible for participants of video calls to share their screen with other people on the call. This could be a useful tool for all kinds of meetings, whether to simply explain a query or to go through a presentation in a team or client meeting.

Creating group categories

Within Microsoft Teams you can build separate Teams and Channels, with Channels being subsets within a Team. This is a useful option for businesses that work with various clients, or on multiple projects because it means communication relating to specific areas can be kept separate. This makes it easier for users when it comes to locating historic instructions or comments.

Microsoft Teams’ functions are helpful for colleagues of all levels and in all kinds of business. It’s a very user-friendly piece of software that demands very little knowledge of IT. Read our guide to how to use Microsoft Teams effectively to find out more about how it works, and how it could help your team to communicate and collaborate more.

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