Tools Guide: Microsoft Teams

Microsoft’s ‘Hub for Teamwork’ brings people together, no matter where they are. Teams makes it easy to start conversations, discuss projects, hold meetings, and even socialise in the virtual space. 

With remote working fast becoming the norm, businesses are facing new challenges. And one of the biggest is ensuring team members can continue to communicate, collaborate, and support each other, even when they’re working from different places. The good news? Microsoft Teams can help. 

What is Teams?

First launched in 2017, Teams is the most collaborative Microsoft 365 app to date. Microsoft’s ‘Hub for Teamwork’ brings people together, no matter where they are. Teams makes it easy to start conversations, discuss projects, hold meetings, and even socialise completely in the virtual space. 

Teams has been developed to replace an older Microsoft product: Skype. It takes the chat and video conferencing elements that Skype has become known for, and combines it with Slack-style workspace features to better support businesses. The result is a platform that empowers teams to communicate via text, voice, or video call while simultaneously working together on their projects. 

As of 2022, there are understood to be more than 270 million monthly active users across the globe. As Teams is compatible with a range of operating systems and devices, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, it’s naturally become the go-to collaboration solution for today’s workforce. 

How to get the most value from Teams

If you’re investing in Microsoft 365 and Teams, it’s important to ensure that you’re optimising your investment and getting the most out of your tech. That means ensuring you’re aware of all the different Teams features, and how they can help your business thrive. Of course, there are some standard tools within Teams that most organisations will already know about. These include:

  • Basic chat functionality
  • Video conferencing
  • Audio conferencing
  • Telephony

However, there are some additional features that may prove valuable, such as…

Channels: Channels are ‘conversation boards’ that can be set up between users. They can either be public (available to everyone) or private (available via invite only). The great thing about channels is that you can create a new channel for each different topic of conversation: brainstorming, individual project work, budgeting, and so on. It’s a way to organise your conversations and stay focused. 

Meetings: The meetings function in Teams allows you to hold virtual meetings with the same effectiveness as in-person meetings. There’s a wide range of tools that can help make this happen. For example, backgrounds, viewing modes, screen sharing, text chat, and break rooms for when it’s time to step away and clear your head. Meetings can easily be recorded and shared after the fact, too. 

Built-in apps: Microsoft Teams comes complete with a selection of integrated apps to help you customise how you and your employees use the software. Planner, Lists, Tasks, Praise, and Approvals all come as standard, and you can utilise as many apps – or as few – as you need. There’s also the option to add more into your Teams setup from a library of Microsoft-certified third-party apps. 

 Integrations: As Teams is part of the Microsoft 365 productivity suite, it integrates well with other 365 tools. For example, when using Teams, employees can work together in real time on a document within one of the Office products (Word, Excel, or PowerPoint). Users can also view their Outlook calendar to schedule future meetings, and share files with teammates using OneDrive or SharePoint.

Why use Teams?

Ultimately, Teams drives efficiency. And it does so in a number of ways. Firstly, it helps remove many of the roadblocks that stand in the way of remote/hybrid productivity by creating office-like environments in the digital space. Secondly, as Teams collects, stores, and makes accessible all conversations relating to projects, it provides leaders with insight into workplace processes. This makes it easy to adapt and optimise ways of working to maximise productivity and boost outcomes. 

The big question: is Teams secure?

One of the most pressing questions businesses ask is whether Teams is secure. After all, if it’s holding all your critical project information, it needs to be. Fortunately, Teams is very secure. As part of the Microsoft 365 suite, it’s built upon the same security and compliance standards as other 365 tools. 

You can keep Teams even more secure by adopting Microsoft 365 best practices. At Reliable Networks, we can help you optimise your protocols to keep your tech performing at max efficiency.


Gregory Olczyk

Gregory Olczyk