If you’ve had someone within your business network mention Microsoft Teams to you, they might have said something about how Teams is the answer to your need to streamline all of your communications. “It just makes everything so much easier,” they said. “It’s the best way to go.”
That’s great, but does Teams really live up to the hype? After all, the last thing you need is one more means of communication to overcomplicate your life. Between constant emails and instant messages, you feel as if you have trouble keeping it all straight.
But this is the reason Teams is the answer you’ve been waiting for. Teams is a free messaging app that combines the best parts of emails and instant messages or text. It’s easier than sending an email, but it’s not as personal or as invasive as sending a text message (because let’s face it — how many of us dread getting business texts on our personal phones at inconvenient times?). It’s a streamlined method of communication where co-workers can also share files or even set up audio and video calls.
Here’s a look at everything your business can do with Teams:
Use it from your computer desktop or your phone.
Teams is available for you to use at your computer, either via a desktop application or through your internet browser. You can also download the app on your phone for easy access on the go. If you still want to use email as your primary means of communication, but you have colleagues who are on Teams, you can set your preferences to send you an email whenever you have a message waiting for you in Teams.
Create channels for separate conversations.
Any topic of conversation you discuss in Teams will take place in a channel. You might create channels to discuss a specific client’s portfolio or a project you and your team are collaborating on. Everyone within the channel can see the messages and contribute to the conversation. If you want to make sure you get a specific person’s attention, you can tag them with the @ symbol so they get a notification. You can also @channel to send a notification to everyone who is part of that conversation.
This makes it easy to be transparent and keep everyone in the loop about everything. Even if you aren’t part of a conversation, you can go check out and read through everything that’s being said on a private channel to stay informed. That’s not something you can do on an email chain, so it’s easy for people to miss important information when you’re sending emails.
Have private channels or direct messages.
If you have information that doesn’t concern everyone or is pertinent to only a few members of your staff, you can create private channels where only members from your network who are invited to join the channel can see what’s being discussed. There’s also the option of a direct message between you and a colleague — something that’s as easy to fire off as a text message, but you won’t be obnoxious if you send an email-length message instead.
Do you have documents, images, PDFs, or presentations that you want to share with colleagues? It’s easy to just paste it into a Teams thread. Then anyone within that channel can pull it up and look at it. There’s plenty of storage space, so you don’t have to worry about any of those shared files clogging up your computer memory.
Reduce the communication clutter.
Have you ever had one of those email chains where somebody goes off on a tangent in response to one person’s message? The next thing you know, the entire email thread is discussing a point that’s completely different from the intention of the original email. With Teams, you can reply directly to one person’s comment, and that reply starts a separate thread. No more worry about digressions! Teams even makes it easy to search for specific words, either within a channel or within your entire network of communication.
You can integrate it with other applications.
Many businesses use Teams for communication while using other platforms for things like project management. Good news — you’re able to integrate Teams with those platforms. Now you can receive updates directly through Teams about what’s happening on ticket services like HelpScout, project organization tools Trello or ClickUp, and CRM HubSpot.
It’s easy to silence notifications.
You can go set your notifications on Teams to only go off during set hours (such as 9AM-5PM on weekdays). However, in case of an emergency, a colleague has the option of overriding your off settings so their message still comes through at night or on the weekend.