12 Ways Microsoft 365 Helps You Be More Collaborative with Your Peers During the Holidays

by | Best-Practice, Cloud, community, Technology

We here at CyAs Tech have been transferring a lot of our clients over to Microsoft 365. By doing so our client’s businesses are becoming more agile, and safe because of the secure cloud storage that Microsoft 365 offers. Agility and safety are not the only reasons why so many businesses are making this switch.

After spinning up new 365 profiles for business leaders and their employees, we recognize that Microsoft 365 may come off as a hulking beast. There is a wealth of new apps and features that boast new and upgraded features for creating a more collaborative work environment.

Collaboration is more important than ever given the global pandemic and more and more people are working from home. Surprisingly though, the collaboration software market has become oversaturated and only 20% of organizations affirm that their collaboration tools work well. At the same time, almost 40% of businesses admit that their collaboration stack requires substantial improvement.[i]

We have compiled a list of 12 collaborative aspects of the Microsoft 365 suite that we find to be the best choices for you and your peers to get through the Holidays and beyond seamlessly and with less worry.

#1

Microsoft Teams: Team and Channels

Within Microsoft Teams, you have the option to create a Team, which is a collection of people, content and tools surrounding different projects and outcomes within an organization. Within that Team can be Channels, which are dedicated sections within a team to keep conversations organized by specific topics or projects.

This is a great way to bring a project together in one place, where all the team members can work collaboratively and effectively. There are a lot of tools (tabs/connectors/bots) the admin of a Team can put into place to create a functional and optimal experience based on their business or project needs.

Click on the link to learn more: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/teams-channels-overview

#2

Microsoft Teams: Meeting Notes

A great way to take notes during your Teams meeting is by using the Meeting Notes tab in the meeting channel.  Only people who are in the same organization as the meeting organizer will be able to start or access meeting notes, and only people who are invited to the meeting before notes are created will have access to them initially. Others can request access and the owner can approve or deny access.

There are a couple of great aspects to keeping your meeting notes in a channel. It allows all the members to stay on the same page, you can access the notes after the meeting has ended in case you need to reference the information again, and for recurring meetings the notes will be continuous with a new section for each new meeting.

To learn more about Meeting Notes, click here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/take-meeting-notes-in-teams-3eadf032-0ef8-4d60-9e21-0691d317d103

#3

Microsoft Teams:  Together Mode

Together mode is new from Microsoft Teams. Backed by decades of research and product development, Together Mode creates an environment where the participants come together in a virtual space, giving the impression that everyone is looking at the entire group in a big virtual mirror.

This is an important development as it works with the spatial awareness system in the brain and makes it easier for everyone to tell how they are responding to each other, and helps reduce fatigue, and provide more cohesion to the group.

For more information, visit: https://news.microsoft.com/innovation-stories/microsoft-teams-together-mode/

#4

Microsoft Teams App: Whiteboard

                Microsoft’s Whiteboard fosters collaboration and brainstorming in the workplace. Whiteboard helps run effective meetings, visualize ideas, and work creatively with notes, shapes, and templates. Whiteboard can be used during a meeting and is still able to be accessed long after the meeting is over to continue to work from and reference later. It’s a great idea for Teams who need to get pen to paper, so to speak.

To learn more about Whiteboard click here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/use-whiteboard-in-microsoft-teams-7a6e7218-e9dc-4ccc-89aa-b1a0bb9c31ee?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

#5

Microsoft Teams App: Tasks and Planner

                The Tasks and Planner apps that are build into Microsoft Teams can be used to organize your tasks by adding one or more Planner tabs to a team channel. You can then work on your plan from within Teams or in Planner for web. You can add, assign, and delete tasks or plans, and get notified whenever anyone within your team or channel makes an action.

Planner and Tasks give Teams an intuitive, collaborative, and visual task management experience for getting work done.

Check out how Tasks and Planner could help your team here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/organize-your-team-s-tasks-in-microsoft-planner-c931a8a8-0cbb-4410-b66e-ae13233135fb

#6

Microsoft Teams App: Polly

                The Polly ai app collects data voluntarily or anonymously, analyzes trends, and visualizes data so you can improve your meetings, workflows or how your team is managed. It isn’t strictly a collaboration tool, but it does allow peers to give honest feedback to their employers or other teams. Receiving simple, clean data visualization allows people to act on it without skipping a beat- thus upping the engagement for both parties. Polly makes it simple to empower your team and transform one-way presentations into rich interactive in-meeting experiences.

Learn about Polly here: https://www.polly.ai/instant-engagement

#7

Microsoft Teams App: Karma

                Karma is a bot to add to your teams and channels that helps ensure a fair reflection of performance that cheers colleagues up and keeps them motivated. It is a great way to pump-up team morale and celebrate the excellence of your peers through simple acknowledgement for often overlooked or unsaid appreciation.

It is also a great way for a business to track the performance of its employees and motivate your team. Some members have reported an increase in happiness and connection after the implementation of this tool. What’s not to like about that! [ii]

To see if this could work for you team, check out this link: https://karmabot.chat/ms

#7

Microsoft Teams App: Yammer

                Yammer was acquired by Microsoft, who has since breathed new life into the once solely collaborative and communications tool. One of the major areas that Yammer now focuses on is building community at scale, across organizations. Along with sharing and leveraging knowledge and ensuring leader and employee engagement.

Microsoft sees Yammer as a great way to share long-tail information that may be useful six months or even a year down the line. Yammer is important for those businesses that need to communicate with people across teams, and to more broadly connect people to form relationships that form a sense of engagement and belonging.

Check out this link here, to see if Yammer could help your business communications: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/use-the-yammer-communities-app-for-microsoft-teams-930c86f1-e1e2-4e45-a66a-ce8faca71a21

#8

Microsoft Teams App: Delve

                Delve is a great app to use to manage your Microsoft 365 account, and to discover and organize the information that is likely to be most interesting to you. Permissions never change, so others will not see your private documents, or vice versa.

Everyone in an organization has their own profile page in Delve, which can be used to find information about people and through people and to help others find you. From your own page you can easily get back to documents you’ve worked on; go to other people’s pages to see what they are working on and keep your personal information up to date. All the files you may be working on in Delve are connected to your OneDrive account and/or SharePoint.

Check out Delve for yourself: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2015/03/16/office-delve-discover-exactly-what-you-need-when-you-need-it/

#9

Microsoft Teams App: Sway

Sway is like a modern-day Power Point. Some might say that it is likely the most undervalued tool with the greatest potential within Microsoft 365, especially now that you can integrate it with your Teams account. Sway is different from Power Point in that it is a presentation tool, but also a platform for the distribution of information. The format becomes interactive, and when used in conjunction with PowerApps, Flow or Forms, the possibilities become nearly endless.

Sways can be created collaboratively too! By allowing viewing and editing permissions to certain people or groups, teams can work on a presentation together all while being in their own offices or working from home. You can share your Sway with certain people, groups, or organizations, and if it is shared beyond your intended audience, they wouldn’t be able to access it. This determines who you can collaborate with.

Are you needing to work on a presentation collaboratively? Check out Sway here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/getting-started-with-sway-2076c468-63f4-4a89-ae5f-424796714a8a

#10

Microsoft 365: SharePoint

If you already know of or use SharePoint, then you know there are a lot of tools to use within SharePoint. The number one thing that SharePoint offers though, is collaboration between groups of people. It is a multipurpose platform that can be an ERP, a learning management tool, and a document management system at the same time.

The SharePoint collaboration features are what make it so competitive though. You have enterprise collaboration, team collaboration, social collaboration, and external collaboration all in one place. These differences are what keep Microsoft on the cutting edge, and why SharePoint can be a great collaborative tool for your business.

To learn more about the many aspects of SharePoint, start here: https://www.itransition.com/blog/office-365-sharepoint-collaboration

#11

Microsoft 365: Link SharePoint with OneDrive

An important addition to SharePoint is that you can link it with your OneDrive account. When your employees use OneDrive, they can access their SharePoint or Microsoft Teams files on the web or in the mobile app without ever leaving OneDrive. Because individual libraries in OneDrive are powered by SharePoint, users can easily move files between locations. When you have these accounts synced, any changes that might be made in SharePoint, will apply to documents in OneDrive, and vice versa. This is a great way to keep productivity up, and make sure collaboration is easy and streamlined all while accessing enterprise-grade security.

To learn more about syncing your OneDrive to SharePoint account, click here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sharepoint/intro-to-file-collaboration

#12

Microsoft 365: Groups in Outlook, with Office 365

If Teams seems like too much to implement right now, creating a group within Outlook through Office 365 can be a comfortable starting point to improve your team’s communication and collaboration. It is an often-overlooked feature, but powerful enough to get the job done for some. When you start a group in Outlook, Office 365 automatically provisions multiple applications; an Outlook inbox records conversation between group members, Outlook calendar posts meetings, events and appointments for groups, a SharePoint library is created for the group, OneNote collects all notes in a central repository, and Planner organizes or allocates tasks, project plans and provides access to a project status. Choosing to start your collaborative and communication efforts here is a great way to get your business out of the dreaded multiple email chain cycle so many of us have found ourselves in at one time or another.

To find out more click here: https://echopath.com/office-365-groups-collaboration/

 

As you can tell, there is a wealth of tools available to boost a team’s collaborative capabilities through Microsoft 365. We understand that managing the multitude of tools that Microsoft offers can be daunting, but fret not, we are here to help!

Next month we will be talking about what CyAs Tech offers for businesses that may be wanting to make this transition, or who have collaboration stacks that fall short of their business needs.

If you don’t want to wait until next month to find out about our services, click the button below to set up your free consultation with our Virtual Chief Information Officer:

or visit our website www.cyastech.com to learn more.

 

[i] https://www.itransition.com/blog/office-365-sharepoint-collaboration

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