Average read time: 7 min.

Published on: 03/05/2021

Getting started with Microsoft Teams

Getting started with Teams, let alone getting entire departments in your organization set up, might seem daunting. How fast will it take for people to pick up the functionalities? Will the adaptation cost valuable time? Will they use the collaboration tool the way it is supposed to? All valid questions. Luckily there are plenty of positive answers that OASE has in store for its members.

Maybe you are completely new to Teams yourself? Let’s start with the beginning. In this article, we’ll warm you up with a quick tour on of some handy basics of Microsoft Teams.

The activity list with notifications

When you open your Microsoft Teams application, the first thing you might want to check out are the activities. This is a list of everything relevant to you, regardless of which Team it was posted in. Every post in which you or one of the Teams you are a member of was mentioned, appears here. You will be notified when a new activity is added to the list. Would rather not be interrupted by these notifications? No problem.

There are plenty of ways you can choose to be notified or you can turn notifications off altogether. Choose wisely. Open ‘Notifications’ in your activity feed settings. Here you can choose whether you want to be notified by e-mail, about what you've missed when you've been away from Teams and how frequently you want to be notified about this as well.

For the notifications you receive in the Teams application itself you can choose whether or not to see a preview of the relevant activity and whether you want to be alerted with a sound or not. Also useful is choosing for what type of activities you want to receive a notification: for all of them, only those in which you are mentioned or something in between. Besides the activities in Teams, you can also set up your notifications chat messages, meetings and even for specific people you want to follow up on a little more closely. That can be handy to assist someone who’s just onboarded your team for example.

Teams: what’s in the name?

Microsoft Teams is all about organizing collaboration and communication as effectively as possible. In other words, it’s all about working together as… well, teams.

An overview of all the Teams you are a member of, is shown in your tab ‘Teams’. On the left side of your screen is a list of the Teams and their different channels, while the center of your screen features the contents of the selected Team. By default, the content a channel visualizes when you click on it are the posts around which the team members have communicated so far. Another content tab present by default in every Team is ‘Files’. You can add other tabs as you like or as you need by clicking on the ‘+’ at the end of your tab-list. Teams will suggest a wide variety of options to choose from, including but not limited to all Office 365 applications. You can even websites!

If your list of Teams is becoming too extensive to keep a clear view, you can either leave the Teams that are no longer relevant for you, or hide them. All your hidden Teams are separated from your list and placed under the collapsed list named ‘Hidden’, at the bottom of your overview.

It is useful to unfold the list to see all the Teams you have hidden every once in a while, especially if you have turned off your notification for your hidden Teams. That way you stay in touch with what is going on.

As opposed to the Teams you decide do hide, you’ll notice that certain other Teams-channels are very relevant to you because you revisit them several times a day. In that case it is useful to pin the channel. Pinned channels always appear on the top of the overview list.


How to set up Teams meetings

In most workplaces, every so often, teams hold meetings. In times of COVID-19, Microsoft Teams meetings are probably the most common form of meetings. Most people think they have to set these up by using their agenda in Outlook. However Microsoft Teams facilitates the set up quite a bit.

In both hidden and visible Teams, you can set up a meeting in a specific channel. By doing so, you automatically invite everyone who is a member of that Team, saving you the time of inviting them all individually.

All of your meetings are visible in your Teams calendar. The ones you have yet to respond to yourself will be shown with a stripe-patterned bar on the left side, like a candy cane. If you click on the meeting, you will see its details and you’ll be able to respond without having to go to your Outlook. If you have accepted the meeting, the striped bar will turn into a solid color, while rejecting the meeting will remove it from your calendar so it doesn’t take up any space. If the meeting is canceled, the bar will turn white and the details will be crossed out. A canceled meeting isn’t automatically removed from your calendar, but you can do so manually with two simple clicks.

We’ll leave it that for now. Definitely experiment with these basic functionalities of Teams. They are very likely to be useful on a daily basis.

In case you have some questions or want to take it some steps further and really boost Microsoft Teams adoption:
OASE offers a whole matrix of videos and learning courses. Be sure to check them out.

Not a member yet? Contact us today to make it happen.

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