In this digital-first world where every business is looking for a way to overcome all the challenges that come with the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling virtual collaboration has become everyone’s top objective.
If you’ve been following our blog lately, you already know that we talked about virtual collaboration in our previous article. As you probably recall, we mentioned that everyone is now sold on the idea of a “remote workforce”, but a lot of companies still struggle to find the right tools to help them jumpstart their digital transformation.
As mentioned in the previous articles, Microsoft Teams has proven itself as a worthy ally for this type of job. Businesses of all sizes and stature are now relying on Microsoft Teams to help them maximize the potential of their “online collaborative work”.
For over 145 million people across the globe, Microsoft Teams is a go-to option for improving collaboration. The platform brings together apps, communication tools, and provides a shared space where groups of users can collaborate on different projects.
Even though this platform brings undeniable value to businesses of all shapes and sizes, it’s important to underline once again that Teams is not a plug-and-play solution. It is, in a sense, that you can start using it right away. But, if you want to leverage its full potential and successfully integrate it into your business so that it actually increases your efficiency, you need to introduce some adjustments to your organizational structure and style of work.
As we wrote in our previous article, Microsoft Teams is not just another internal communication tool nor a fancy-looking substitute for email. Businesses who opt for this solution with this pre-built notion are usually the ones that fail to make use of the platform's full potential and properly introduce a new, remote-first style of work to their organization.
Microsoft Teams is a robust collaboration platform that unifies chat, voice, video, and file sharing. It’s so much more than a chat app.
The platform offers significant perks for improving collaboration, teamwork, and productivity within the Office 365 universal toolkit. The tech giant from Redmond, Washington has transformed Teams over the years into a unique team collaboration hub within Office 365.
With Teams and Office 365, you have everything you need to meet the needs of any type of workforce. Teams is a fast and fluid solution with minimum overhead. It integrates with all the apps your employees use since they got their first computer (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, etc.).
In addition to this, users are also given the ability to customize workspaces with tabs, connectors, and bots. From a developer’s perspective, Teams offers a lot of room for building various apps and customization. Every organization is given the space to build outside-of-the-box solutions to support their high-performing teams.
For a lot of companies out there, Teams has modernized the meetings experience. Employees are given the ability to review conversations and notes before the meeting. During a meeting, the same employees can share content and use audio conferencing and video. Teams supports private and group meeting capabilities, scheduling capabilities, and free/busy calendar availability.
And from a security standpoint (which is always a big factor especially with enterprise-level companies), Teams is an absolute leader in the field. The platform comes with enterprise-grade security integrated with the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center and Azure Active Directory. It fits perfectly with customers that are looking for access management solutions that give them full control over data and environment access/usage.
To elevate your employee productivity and the velocity of communication, businesses need a strategy before they roll out Teams to the entire company and start forcing employees to figure out how to best use the platform on their own.
The key aspect of properly introducing organizational change lies in understanding how to manage disruption on a macro and micro level.
To successfully introduce new elements and new protocols to your company that will improve your collaboration, you need first to:
Wide adoption by your employees is the crucial factor here. The biggest part of the change management process revolves around meeting the needs of each employee which means that you need to build instruments for motivation and support. To get people on board with change, they first need to understand why the change is happening.
Second, they need to feel like they have the desired skills and resources to successfully “survive the change” and find their purpose in the new system.
Third, you need to educate. If you want your employees to support the change, they need to understand how the platform helps. They need to understand how to assemble a team on the platform and enable “high-velocity work”. Your employees and management need core rules like access and team naming policies, and how to chat in each team channel. Building subthreads is an intelligent way to keep multiple conversations in a “scroll rage” and allow the conversation to stay focused.
In the case of rolling out Teams across your company, the obstacle of adapting to change is far less stressful because part of that “change” feels familiar. By tying together many Microsoft 365 tools in one centralized place, Teams leverages functionalities that help distributed teams work better. Most of the tools in the toolset are familiar to a lot of your employees. The obstacle of getting people used to a new interface and system is far less challenging.
In addition to that, the Office 365 package offers room for developing, building, analyzing, and automating business processes which is a key factor for streamlining workflows and boosting efficiency. By leveraging self-service functionality in Microsoft 365, your employees can create the resources and tools they need while avoiding the time-consuming gatekeeping of a fully locked-down system.
All these benefits aside, what sells Teams is its ability to keep everyone informed. This is a major pain point that the platform has wonderfully eliminated from a lot of companies. Bulletins and Milestones are two big peaks that unlock a strong communication flow that’s immediately felt across the entire company.
Bulletins enable managers to post memos, announcements, and other company news, including images and videos. The app is optimized for mobile devices, so employees never miss important alerts or updates.
Milestones app is a great option for elevating cross-functional collaboration and project managing to another level. The is envisioned as a place for planning, tracking, updating, and sharing the progress of specific tasks and projects. Users can track tasks by owners and status or view updates in the activity log. The productivity app’s dashboard also provides a 360-degree view of an entire project.