Your company may have just rolled out Microsoft Teams, but what is it?
Microsoft Teams is a business communications and collaboration tool that allows you to work with your colleagues from your PC, wherever they or you are. Using Teams, you’ll be able to chat to your coworkers both individually and as a group. In addition, you’ll also be able to host and join meetings, call your coworkers and collaborate with them in real time.
There are a few things to get used to with this way of working, and throughout this website, you’ll find some useful tips and explanations without the jargon.
In this article, we will cover the main components that make up Teams and what you can do with them.
Availability Indicator (Presence)
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If you have used WhatsApp, you may be familiar with the little status under your friend’s name that shows if they are Online and using the app or not? Or perhaps on Facebook Messenger, you notice the little “green” indicator that shows your friend is “Active”?
These are called availability indicators and they describe your “Presence” within the app to your friends so that they can understand how best to contact you and more importantly sets a high level expectation on when they should receive a response from you.
Microsoft Teams uses presence to determine how the app and your coworkers can interact with you. Teams Presence automatically connects to your Outlook Calendar and will change your state automatically when you are in a meeting or not. It will also change when you are on a call or sharing your screen.
We will take a closer look at Teams Presence in another article, but for now remember that you have complete control over your presence throughout the app.
Chat is an integral part of Microsoft Teams. As the name suggests, this feature allows you to send a message to your coworkers using text. Again, a lot similar to WhatsApp. In some older applications you may be used to this feature could be associated to the Instant Message (IM) feature.
The reason it is not called Instant Message in Teams is because work has changed. The word “Instant” can imply immediate. When coupled with an available presence state can be misinterpreted and add a level of pressure to the recipient to immediately reply. This is not the case and poor working practices. Therefore, Chat is much more friendlier and comes without the implication of a deadline. Allowing you the space to work effectively.
Within Chat you have access to enriched text communication with the use of Stickers, Emoji’s, Giphy’s and formatting to help improve the context of your communication.
You can use Microsoft Teams as telephone and call your coworkers simply by searching for their name and pressing the call button. This will use your internet connection to make the call and will not cost you any money, nor will it require you to subscribe to anything.
In addition, if your administrator has enabled full calling features you will be able to use Teams as a complete replacement to your desk phone and you’ll be able to make and receive calls from your phone number to any person on the planet.
To make calls, it is recommended to use certified headsets for Teams. Using your laptop speakers and microphone, or ear buds and other non certified plug-in devices will lead to poor quality of audio and will impact your ability to communicate.
If your administrator has enabled your phone number in Teams, this means you can take your number with you, on your laptop and mobile phone using the Teams App. You no longer have to be at your desk to take a call.
Meetings are an important part of business. Traditional meeting platforms your administrator may have created “Conference Rooms” on your telephone. You’d book these rooms and use a standard space for people to dial-in to your conference.
With Teams, it is no longer necessary for the admin to create meeting spaces for you. Meetings is an integral part of Teams and you can create your own directly from the Teams client, mobile app or Outlook. All you need to do is choose at time, your participants and set an agenda and Teams will automatically create you a meeting for you to run to click to join with a single click.
Within the meeting, as an organiser, you’ll have lots of controls. You’ll be able to use video, mute and unmute participants, share your screen or PowerPoint, use digital Whiteboard and lots more to make your meeting more immersive and productive.
Microsoft Teams was created to allow groups of people to communicate and collaborate together in a single place, online without the need to send documents manually between email lists for revisions and feedback. The teams feature within Teams allows you to create a contained place for you to work on your project with just the people you need.
Within a team you can share and work on documents together in real time, chat, meet and also extend your team capabilities into the wider apps offered by Microsoft and beyond.
Teams allows you to separate your group based communication into smaller, manageable teams so that your work gets done faster.
How to Begin to Use Teams?
Microsoft Teams will be enabled by your IT department. Unless you are setting up Teams for personal use, you should not attempt to do so.
They may send you an e-mail telling you how to login and they might even pre-install Teams onto your business PC. If they don’t, you can download the Teams client from the below link
You can also being to use Teams using your standard Web Browser. Microsoft Edge works best, but all browsers are supported.
Microsoft Teams is also available on the Apple and Android App Stores.
One of the great principles Microsoft use for Teams is that the application has a similar or same experience to you no matter what device you use.
When you login to Teams, it will ask you for your e-mail address. This is usually your business e-mail address and the same password that you sign-in to your e-mail with. However, if this does not work, you should contact your IT department.