Working remote

Could Microsoft Teams Help Your Team During COVID-19?

1. Why you need a tech platform when everyone is remote

Having meetings is a vital way to continue staying connected with your team. Without having a tech platform for meeting and collaborating virtually, this could lead to problems.

You have meetings- nothing is new about that. These various types of meetings can include one-on-ones, stakeholder meetings, training classes, and more. If you’re not meeting together in-person, you ultimately need a way to meet virtually. When in the midst of a crisis like COVID-19, your employees need to care for loved ones, home-school kids, and deal with emergencies. Ultimately, you need a business platform to allow your staff to work remotely when and where they can.

2. Why Teams is a good platform

Microsoft Teams is one of our recommended platforms for working remotely. “What is Teams,” you ask? Teams is a chat-based workspace within Office 365 that’s created by Microsoft. It’s a platform that provides a new way of communicating.

Teams is feature-rich in both mobile and desktop apps, offering real-time chat, audio, and video calls, along with in-the-moment file collaboration over cellular or Wi-Fi. Teams collects all your conversations and documents in one place so you can locate them easily. Since there’s just one interface you don’t have to learn or integrate multiple applications. It’s safe to say that Teams is a one-stop-shop.

3. How to get Teams if you don’t have it

You may already have Teams installed. Microsoft claims 20 million active daily users across 500,000 organizations including 91 of the top 100 firms in America.

If your company has Teams installed, you can skip this section and go to point #4.

If your company isn’t yet on the Teams train, you’ll be happy to hear that Microsoft recently announced an offer of 6 months free service for new accounts. Read below to see how you can get Teams for your team or your company.

For individuals who work at a company or school:

Individuals who work at businesses or are enrolled at school can get Teams accounts for themselves. You should be aware that the free service open to individuals includes online audio and video chats and calls with screen sharing. It doesn’t include scheduled meetings with large groups, though scheduled meetings are available as a paid service.

There are two ways to get free service for individuals:

  1. If you’re using a company or school email address, Microsoft will lead you through the process of setting up a Microsoft Account. You can step through that process with their help on login.microsoftonline.com.
  2. If you’re an individual using a large email service like Gmail, you can sign up for the plans directly. In either case, your ultimate destination is products.office.com, a site that offers plans for a variety of Microsoft’s products including Teams, Skype, and O365.

For organizations with IT staff:

If you work for a company, organization, or education institution with IT staff and you want to roll out Teams centrally, you can do that with one of a couple of free trial programs:

  1. Companies and organizations qualify for a free trial of Office 365 E1 including Teams. You can find more information on that trial at docs.microsoft.com where you’ll be directed to “reach out to your Microsoft account team or partner.”
  2. Education institutions qualify for a free trial of Office 365 A1, the subscription designed for schools. Be aware that there is a pricing structure for students and a second one for faculty and staff. You can find that offer at Microsoft.com.

4. How to use Teams quickly

 

Create a Team

How to create a team screenshot

  1. In the Microsoft Teams interface, click the Teams icon.
  2. At the bottom of the left menu, click Join or create a team.
  3. In the Teams window, click Create team.Create team from scratch or from Office 365 group screenshot
  4. In the Create your team window, choose whether to Build a team from scratch or Create from an existing Office 365 group or team.
  5. When you build from scratch, choose whether you want to create a private or public team.
    Setting Team Privacy screenshot

Create a Teams Meeting

You can create a meeting from inside the Calendar function for Outlook or Teams. In either app, the process is nearly the same.

New Teams meeting screenshot

  1. Open the Calendar.
  2. At the top right of the screen, select + New meeting.
  3. In the Meetings window, name your meeting.
  4. In the Attendees field, type names for required attendees.
  5. To add optional attendees, at the far right of the field, click + Optional.
  6. Choose a time to meet or Teams will suggest times when all your attendees are free.
  7. If you have booked a room, add the location.
  8. Enter any details about the meeting.
  9. When you click Send, the Send button will change to Join and Teams will automatically populate link information in the body of the meeting window.

 

Join a Teams Meeting

When it’s time for your meeting,

  1. In the Teams Calendar, click the meeting.
  2. In the meeting window, click the Join button.
  3. Or, Click the Join Microsoft Teams Meeting link in the meeting details field.

 

Collaborate on a File

  1. In a team conversation or in the Files tab, select options (…) next to the file you’d like to collaborate on.
    Teams file collaboration screenshot
  2. The file opens in Teams by default, but you can click options () to choose to open the file in the Desktop App or through your Browser.
  3. To leave comments for others collaborating within the document, click Comments.
  4. Click Conversations to leave comments for people accessing the document or just viewing the conversation about the document, these will appear in the Post tab or Chat associated with the document.
    Teams file collaboration screenshot 2

 

Make a Call from Within Teams

It’s easy to make a call from within Teams.

  1. In the Teams interface, click the Calls icon.
  2. Type a name or phone number (as long as you have the paid-for version.)
  3. Or click the Phone icon in your contact files.
    Make phone call in Teams screenshot

Interested in finding out what are other differences between Microsoft Teams free and paid-for accounts? Take a look at this document.