Cloud Communications

Using The Features of Microsoft Teams To Maximize Productivity

Microsoft Teams is one of the more superior video conferencing platforms available. It offers team-based communication via instant messaging, audio calls, and video conferencing. Its user-friendly design and plethora of additional features enables individuals to communicate more efficiently—which translates to improved productivity. Ultimately, Microsoft Teams is focused on boosting collaboration while reducing clutter in the workspace. However, with such a large quantity of both simple and advanced features, unless you’re a veteran with Microsoft Teams, it is likely that some may go unnoticed. Thus, we will go over the primary features, along with some of the lesser-known features, to highlight what Microsoft Teams has to offer.

To begin, Microsoft Teams is a video conferencing software which can be accessed using your typical internet browser. However, it is also available as a mobile application which can be downloaded onto any device, whether it be a laptop, desktop, or smartphone. Thus, with Microsoft Teams you are no longer confined to a physical workspace, as you can login from any device to continue your work remotely. This introduces a new level of flexibility for employees. Microsoft Teams is already one of the most popular options for video conferencing and file sharing, and this makes sense given that, as of 2021, one in five Canadians work from home. Rather than be restricted to working from their home office, Canadians, using Microsoft Teams on mobile devices, can work from any location they like.

Moving on, another feature of Microsoft Teams is that it is integrated with Microsoft 365—the suite of products such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, and Outlook. In this sense, whether you’re managing emails using Outlook, preparing a presentation in PowerPoint, documenting finances in a spreadsheet using Excel, or so on, Microsoft Teams is built to seamlessly incorporate these applications into its file sharing. There is no need to worry over incompatibility, as one might when using alternative forms of communication software. If your business is already leveraging Word, Excel, or so on, then it makes sense to take advantage of Microsoft Teams to streamline collaboration and ensure the highest degree of functionality.

Additionally, given that Teams is integrated with Microsoft 365, you can expect the same high standards of cybersecurity. Data is encrypted in transit and at rest, from endpoint-to-endpoint. Furthermore, industry best practices for user-based security are implemented, including multi-factor authentication and phishing detection.

With group organization managing who has access to files is simplified. You can invite and remove individuals to and from specific groups, and any given group can be given access to a distinct library of files. Furthermore, you can change permissions per individual. Most importantly, group members can make edits to shared files (and see the edits of others) in real time. Therefore, any Microsoft 365 file can be discussed over video conferencing and updated live to all the fellow group members. Thus, everyone can share their contributions in a more efficient manner.

Next, five of the most important, more under-the-radar, features of Microsoft Teams which are unique to video conferencing will be highlighted. First, live captions are available. These are auto generated following the speech recognized from the audio of conference calls. They offer an additional aid for internalizing what the speaker is trying to convey. Second, just in case someone can’t make the meeting, recordings of video conferences can be saved and shared. Third, spotlighting entails that when viewing a video conference call, you can choose up to seven speakers to spectate. Alternatively, one can choose to always spectate the person who is currently speaking. Fourth, reactions enable you to display your emotions towards what the the speaker is saying, live. Using emoticons you can show that you are surprised, laughing, appreciative, or have a question regarding the current meeting. Fifth, to gauge your audience’s opinion, you can employ meeting polls to ask critical questions and collect responses.

Of course, if you just briefly need to make a clarification with a colleague, then it is likely that instant messaging will suffice. On this note, slash commands can be used in the text chat to immediately perform actions, saving valuable time. The full list of possible commands is accessible here.

Lastly, Microsoft Teams offers multiple options for notification management. In particular, the option is granted to prioritize certain notifications. This way, you can filter out certain content and focus on what’s of utmost importance. Similarly, call forwarding allows you to send unanswered calls from your Teams account to your smartphone. In this sense, rather than send unanswered calls to your voicemail, Teams will ring your phone number. This ensures that you don’t miss any crucial meetings.

All in all, Microsoft Teams offers a complete solution for Private Branch Exchange (PBX). However, in order to receive external calls from the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) one can either use a calling plan directly from Microsoft, or through direct routing via a third-party company. If you’re interested in figuring out which is best for you, considering reading our article on the subject here.

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