Microsoft Teams: Keeping Employees Connected While Working from Home
Last week, Microsoft had to grapple with the same issue as countless other companies around the globe: transitioning thousands of employees from an office environment to working remotely. And just like many other organizations, they had to do it fast -- in fact, practically overnight. Many of Microsoft’s employees were already using Microsoft Teams. But once the message went out asking more than 50,000 employees to start working from home, the company’s utilization of Teams’ chat and video meeting functions increased dramatically.
Below, we’ll take a look at some tips for getting set up for Teams. Many thanks to Jared Spataro, Corporate VP for Microsoft 365, for sharing these tips.
And remember: if you’re looking to get started with Teams, don’t hesitate to contact us here at JourneyTEAM. We can help you get access to a 6-month free trial of Microsoft Teams.
Getting Started with Working Remotely
For those who are totally new to working from home, there are a few important things to keep in mind as you’re getting started.
First off, set up a dedicated workspace. If you have a home office, that’s ideal. But if not, don’t worry: Teams is set up to function as a virtual office, giving you access to the documents you need from home. Just be sure to find a space in your home that you can devote entirely to work, whether it be the corner of your bedroom, your kitchen table, part of your den, or another spot where you can avoid distractions.
Next, pay attention to your daily habits and rhythms, and communicate these to your teammates. Everyone’s schedules are subject to shift as we cope with the situation surrounding COVID-19, and it’s important to let your coworkers know when you’re available. It’s also a good idea to regularly update your teammates on your progress with various projects. You can do this directly in Teams channels, allowing teammates to see what you’re up to live. Anyone who’s not online when you post an update can easily search through the channel later, getting an overview of what you and other team members have accomplished.
Finally, be sure to set boundaries. Working remotely can make it harder to fully ‘unplug’ from work, which can quickly lead to burnout -- especially with the added stress that we’re all facing at the moment. Prioritize your health, keep to a schedule, and be sure to mentally ‘clock out’ from work at the end of the day. Doing so will actually increase your productivity in the long run.
Running Effective Meetings from Home
Once you’re up and running with Teams, you’ll be ready to take part in meetings with your coworkers.
Make sure you give everyone a virtual ‘join’ option for each meeting, and encourage everyone to use video. If you’re the meeting organizer, make an extra effort to include all of the participants in the discussion, as it’s easy for people to feel left out of larger conference calls and virtual meetings. It’s also a good idea to record meetings in Teams, as long as your organization permits it. This allows team members to go back and review what was discussed if needed.
Stay Socially Connected
One of the biggest challenges with working remotely is staying socially connected with your coworkers. Be sure to reach out to fellow team members, and don’t be afraid to make casual conversation when checking in. In addition to work-focused meetings in Teams, you can also connect via video for lunch. This gives everyone a chance to maintain social ties, which are essential for both long term productivity and personal wellbeing.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Working remotely can be challenging, and we’re all faced with a certain amount of stress and uncertainty in these difficult times. With this in mind, it’s important to devote some energy to keeping things light and positive, as team morale is essential to a productive workplace. Share personal stories and updates with team members in the General channel, and don’t be afraid to brainstorm some creative approaches to making the digital workplace fun.
Get Started with Teams Today
Does your organization need to shift to working remotely? Are you looking for a great solution? JourneyTEAM can help you get started with a 6 month free trial of Teams. Call us at 800.439.6456 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.