One of the many challenges with remote work is finding ways to manage the remote teams and collaborate with their members. It requires a solution that covers many areas of a business: managing projects, sharing files, and hosting video conferences for online meetings and chats with colleagues. The problem is that you may not have the budget or IT capacity to put in place the tools needed. We’ve been helping companies manage their remote teams for more than a decade, and the good news is there are collaboration platforms out there that are budget friendly. In this article we will take a look at Microsoft Teams, which is currently a free service due to the pandemic. We will share some pros and cons of Teams, so you will have a better idea if it’s right for you.
Microsoft Teams is fast becoming a key platform for managing remote workers. Microsoft describes Teams as a “chat-based workspace in Office 365”. Internal groups within your company can message each other, join calls, and even share files.
You may be more familiar with collaboration tools like Slack for managing your remote workforce. but you should consider using Teams instead. Here’s why:
#1 - It Helps Remote Workers Manage Their Time Better
When managing remote teams, a main goal is making sure staff can optimize their time. Microsoft Teams can help employees organize their tasks by distributing information in specific channels. Team members know that when they receive notifications and files in a particular channel, these relate to a task they recognize. This means that colleagues can work in an organized way, receiving information in a predictable manner that allows them to prioritize and focus on the task at hand.
#2 -It Helps Boost Worker Productivity
Teams offers a collaboration platform that manages all business communication within a single interface. This saves time and avoids confusion, encouraging increased productivity. When team members have all the information centralized in one place, they can communicate easily with the other team members, wasting less time. That ensures efficient delivery of projects and services for the company. Furthermore, many of the apps that your organization may already use can be added to Teams. Plus, Microsoft is constantly adding new integrations with other business apps.
#3 - It is Easy to Use
Any remote work collaboration app should be intuitive and require minimal technical resources from staff working from home. This is certainly the case with Teams. The app is user-friendly and familiar to workers already using Microsoft Office. And because it’s cloud-based, it has virtually limitless processing power. The information you put on Teams can be accessed from anywhere and on any device.
Microsoft Teams can be a valuable tool and should be high on your list of business apps for managing a remote workforce. Nonetheless, it has some drawbacks you should also know about:
#1 - Its Filing System Can be Confusing
A best practice for managing remote workers is having an easy to search online filing system. This is something you may find confusing in Microsoft Teams. Organization is key, so make sure everyone adopts the same process for filing on Teams. Be aware that each channel contains a root folder stored in SharePoint. All the files uploaded for conversations in that channel link from that folder. You don’t want employees moving files without informing the administrator, because if they are moved elsewhere the file links you reference won’t work.
#2 - Team Calls Not Very Intuitive
If you compare another popular remote team collaboration app, Slack, you will find Team’s online meeting experience less intuitive. Microsoft, however, is making improvements to the Teams user experience. The accessibility features, such as being able to take notes in OneNote during a group call, helps to compensate for some of these drawbacks.
#3 - Difficult to Recreate Roles and Structures
If you wish to create new teams by simply duplicating an existing team or moving a channel, there is some bad news. Each time you create a new team, you have to do so manually and assign roles. Another feature you may find frustrating is that you cannot change permission settings for members of a specific team. In other words, all members have the same access rights for the team’s channels and files. But, Microsoft again is making changes and improvements on a constant basis to Teams. These types of issues are being resolved as the platform evolves with future updates.
Microsoft Teams is gaining popularity as a useful collaboration platform, especially right now. The service has seen tremendous growth since every business has been impacted by COVID 19.
If you are using Office 365 (recently changed to “Microsoft 365”) then it might be worth your time to look at Teams. It is not a solution that comes preconfigured, but with a little effort it can be a powerful business tool for your remote workforce.
Like to Find Out More?
Finding the right set of remote work collaboration tools for your team can be tricky. However, you don’t have to struggle with the challenge: Contact Zeta Sky today and we will put you on track to managing a remote workforce as effectively as you would in the office.