Average read time: 10 min.

Published on: 12/05/2021

Do’s and don’ts in Microsoft Teams

No matter how you or your organization are going about implementing Microsoft Teams in the daily workflow, it is important to do things right when adopting this Office 365 tool. Some would argue that there is no wrong way to use Microsoft Teams and that it just depends on what you use it for. Even though it’s true that the way organizations deploy this fantastic application varies, we’d still like to insist on some useful do’s and don’ts that are always relevant.

Tips for efficient meetings (3 do’s)

1.
Network issues during a Microsoft Teams meeting (or any online meeting for that matter) are simply frustrating. Working from home it tends to occur because most people’s private internet connection isn’t as powerful as the one in the office. Are you having one of those days? The key is to reduce the load on your connection any way you can, for example:

  • Switch off your webcam and all incoming video.
  • When discussing a PowerPoint, try sharing the file instead of your screen.
  • If nothing helps, try connecting via your phone.

2.
Having meetings is one thing. Extracting useful lessons from meetings is something else. The key to success is the quality of everyone’s meeting notes. If you want to improve the quality of the notes, simply involve everybody in the process together. There are two very straightforward ways to do so, thanks to Microsoft Teams:

  • Create a Notes wiki page directly from the meeting. Click on the three dots and then on the option ‘Meeting notes’. It will generate a wiki page in the Teams channel.
  • If the meeting is with people who are all members of the same Team or channel you can also create a OneNote notebook (accessible by all) in that channel before starting the meeting. When holding the meeting, simply invite people to have it open. Or have one person take notes, share his or her screen so participants can validate what is written down.

3.
An innocent pitfall of online meetings is letting two or more people talk over each other. Due to voice call latency, it is a little it harder to anticipate on your turn to speak, for anyone. Our recommendation: get the potential sting out of the situation when this happens, by introducing something as simple as: rock-paper-scissors. The winner can continue talking and everyone agrees to let the other person speak immediately afterward.

Tips for efficient communication in Teams channels (1 do, 2 don’ts)

1.
One of the great advantages of Teams-channels and threads is that it gives everybody a pretty clear overview of discussions. Another is that you can tag specific people when you need a reaction from them. Thanks to Teams notifications you are sure they will read your message. However, sometimes you have something important to say without knowing who exactly is the right person to react. In that case you can tag-mention the channel or team. Don’t overdo this!. Otherwise, you will unwittingly undermine the value of that tag-mention and people will stop paying attention to it. 

2.
Coming back to the fact that threads in Teams-channels are useful as an overview of distinct discussions throughout the history of the channel… If you want to bring even more clarity, do the following. Whenever you start a new subject that is bound to entail a lengthy discussion thread, add a title. That will make the topic so much easier to identify later on when browsing through the thread history.

3.
Teams channels are also a good place to collaborate on documents together. By default, every channel you create has a ‘Files’-tab. Here you can create folders and subfolders and subsequently upload any files that are relevant to the channel. Often you will want to link to a specific file in a discussion thread. When you do, avoid simply copy-pasting the link in your message because it is always very long and will therefore clutter the message you are trying to convey in your post. Instead, use the ‘insert link’-feature from the text formatting tool, to apply the link to a part of your text message.

Tips for efficient file management (1 do, 2 don’ts)

1.
We just mentioned sharing links to files in a channel thread. Know that you can link to a file directly or to a folder in which the file is stored. That can be useful. However, keep your file and folder management as simple as possible. Don’t use too many subfolders in a channel and don’t make the folder names too long. If a file URL is too long, it may cause synchronization issues.

2.
If you frequently work with files in a Team, consider syncing it to your computer. You can do this from the underlying SharePoint site. Use ‘Files on Demand’ in your OneDrive settings to minimize the impact on the amount of space this takes up on your computer.

3.
Don’t rename a channel. Or at the very least, do so very exceptionally and communicate clearly with channel members. The underlying SharePoint folder will still use the old name. That may cause confusion for people syncing the files to their computer’s hard drive.

Tips for efficient Team management (2 do’s)

1.
An important aspect of successfully managing your Microsoft Teams governance is realizing when a Team and its corresponding channels are no longer of use. When a Team is no longer active, archive it. That way, it no longer appears in your list of Teams and you avoid clutter. Don’t worry, the data are not lost. The Team itself will be set to read-only and can be found under the gear icon next to the button ‘Join or create a team’ on the left bottom side.

2.
When you realize a Team you are a member of is no longer relevant to you (but you are not the Team owner), just leave the Team. Another option is to hide the team but after a while, your list of hidden Teams will become unmanageable. When the team in question needs you again at a later point in time, you can still rejoin the Team later by using the button ‘Join or create a Team’.

Time management tips for Teams (3 do’s)

1.
When you need to focus, it can be difficult to ignore that little red numbered dot on the Teams icon in the task bar. We realize the following is the oldest trick in the book on working online. Yet, people seem to forget about it. When you don’t want to be distracted y anything, simply change your status to Do not Disturb. No new notifications will appear during that time. When you change your status again, you will receive them. Are you worried you’ll forget to change your status and therefore miss important notifications? No problem. Teams allows you to set a duration for the status period.

2.
If you’re like most people, you’ll probably start your day in Teams by going to the Activity tab and checking out the relevant news for you. To use this as efficiently as possible, take some time to go through your notification settings. You can customize them to strike a balance that you’re comfortable with. After all, the goal of notifications and an activity feed is not to lose time every morning, going over items that in the end you don’t really care about.

3.
Teams contains a lot of useful apps. Our last ‘do’ of this article is simple: Check out the Tasks by Planner and To Do app. It is one of the most interesting features to help you manage your time and your priorities better than ever. As the name indicates, the app regroups the tasks from ‘Planner’ (Teams) and ‘To Do’ (Outlook) that are relevant to you. It is also the place that gives you an overview of all the task boards associated to any teams you are a member of in Microsoft Teams.

We certainly hope you’ll pick up at least some of the tips to improve your daily digital work life. If you want to boost your digital adoption and that of your colleagues, definitely consider our OASE-platform. It allows you to discover how to do… pretty much anything there is in Microsoft 365.

Curious? Get in touch now!

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