Work as a collaborative, unified team no matter where you are.

The modern workplace is no longer restricted to boardrooms and office space. With more and more people working remotely, sometimes from all over the world, effective digital collaboration is critical to keep your business running.

Microsoft Teams (also known as Skype for Business) is a streamlined collaboration solution for a more flexible, dynamic workforce. It enables your team to work better together from anywhere, while simplifying your technology with our fully managed collaboration services.

The workplace can be wherever you are with Microsoft Teams. PCG is a Teams and Collaboration Specialist and we can help you create a connected, engaged and efficient workforce that’s unhindered by geographical location.

The benefits of our customized collaboration solutions include:

  • Improve teamwork and engagement – When your staff is at home or on the road, they can feel isolated from their colleagues and work environment. You can keep them connected and motivated by having face-to-face virtual meetings so everyone still works together as a team.
  • Unlimited productivity – Use Teams and collaboration tools to discuss ideas, share files, engage with managers and supervisors, and have meetings with clients and vendors – just like you would in the office.
  • Ongoing monitoring, maintenance and support – PCG will build a Teams and collaboration solution that’s tailored to your business, and keep it running smoothly for you at all times. With our expert managed collaboration services, we handle the technology so you can work from anywhere with ease.

Our Teams and Collaboration Specialists would love to speak with you about what your business needs and how we can help. Contact PCG today to streamline your collaboration technology and create a more connected, productive team.

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Introduction to Microsoft Teams

Teams is Microsoft’s answer to collaboration. It is their new tool, in the last year or two, to allow companies and users to chat, incorporate video functions and teams, or collaboration for files, so that they don’t have to use Outlook all the time for messaging and memos and things of that nature.

The real goal is to try and stop doing things like, “What do you want to have for lunch?”, or “yes”, “the package is at the door.” Simple communications like that Outlook is not really well suited for, so Teams fills that area.

You can chat with people. You can create one time conversations. You can store files. It connects to OneDrive. You can create teams for your different groups — so, if you have a marketing group, if you have an admin group, say you have a project that you’re working on that has a specific need, you can use it for those types of things. It’s really an all-in-one collaboration tool for companies to use.

Features of Microsoft Teams

Important features for Teams that you should be aware of are chatting channels, that you can use for particular topics, document storage, video conferencing, the ability to tie your own phone system into your video conferencing. You also have the ability to message people within it so that you can put attachments into your chat logs. It’s really an all-in-one collaboration system.

So a few of the things I want to talk about on those topics — your file access, if you want to share files, it’s connected to One Drive. So it really keeps that cloud seamlessness going. You can attach files to chats, to teams, and to onetime communications between users.

For video, you have all of the abilities that many have become used to in terms of video chatting and conferencing. You can call people either within the organization or outside the organization. You can create meetings. A new feature in Teams has really expanded the number of camera spots that are on your screen. It used to be only four. It’s now up to nine, and they’re going to be up to larger numbers of that.

So you can also do video conferences where you send out a link to people who aren’t in Teams. You can have they can either access it via the web, or just do what is called a conference bridge and just listen to the meeting.

A few other important options are of course the namesake for the app, which is teams themselves. You can create teams within the app for different users, such as maybe you have a marketing team. Everyone in that team you can assign and can do just marketing, and no one else in the company is either a part of that or is aware of what’s going on with it. You can do it for particular projects. If you are working, say, if you’re an architectural firm, you’re working on a particular bridge project, you can do a team for that, assign the specific members, and they can collaborate within that team, sharing files, doing conferences, chatting amongst each other. And they do not even need to be in the same building, the same company. They can be in different companies, different parts of the world.

So it’s really a powerful, powerful way of communicating and collaborating that ties all of the different parts of the cloud structure of Office 365 together in a way that Outlook really doesn’t. And that’s really what we’re trying to get away from. Outlook is great for larger messages where there needs to be a communication between the people and maybe there’s a large amount of content, and Teams is going to be your better choice for one off, very quick communications.

So I hope that helps. That’s a little bit of the features that you can use and take advantage of within Teams.

Microsoft Teams Video & Etiquette

Teams has now become the go-to meeting app, especially within the Microsoft ecosphere. The ability to call different users in your company, coworkers, regardless of their location, has become critically important in this pandemic era. So the ability within Teams to call up a user’s name, because they are part of your system, and call them instantly and get either a call-back — you can do video, you can do sound, or the ability to leave them a voicemail if they are not available — is critical now.

PCG uses Teams for almost everything we do at this point. And it’s actually supplanted both the telephone that’s on our desk and Outlook, which is on our PCs. It’s much easier to just send the file but immediately have a video call to anyone of my coworkers to talk about what it is that might be challenging at that moment.

Company meetings are now almost exclusively handled in Teams. We have a Thursday morning huddle where the entire company arrives and each person has their own camera and their own video that we are seeing them in. And it really allows us to keep that teamwork aspect together that’s so critical to what we do, while also not requiring everyone to come into the office and have to deal with the rules of masks and social distancing.

So it’s really become almost immediately…we were using it a little bit before, but now for a lot of companies and for us, it is indispensable, indispensable. And it’s all part of your Office 365 subscription. It’s not a new subscription; you don’t have to purchase it again. You get it for free, if you think of it that way, because you’re already using Office 365.

So Teams is really a no brainer — your ability to get in front of the camera and talk and really get that facial recognition for the point that you’re trying to make is so important. There are etiquettes and rules that you want to follow. And it’s always a little funny to discuss these things. We’ve all seen the memes. You try to dress for it. If you really try to wear what you would wear if you were standing in front of them. If you’re not, if you’re wearing something different, they’re going to notice that on the camera.

Okay. Another important thing that we always try to teach and most people just don’t really think of, turn your microphone off. If you are not speaking, understand where the microphone mute button is, mute yourself. It prevents the noise in the background, maybe in your home, maybe you have children or your dogs, or just even motorcycles and cars driving by, that can impact the meeting. So understanding where that mute button is, and then turning it off so that you can speak when it’s your turn to speak, or you feel like it’s time to speak is really critical and so useful for meetings.

Understanding how to invite new people to the meeting is a very good skill. You may be in a call with one of your other coworkers and your third coworker comes up as a, “Oh, you know, they were also working on this.” Knowing how to, and taking advantage of the ability to just add them to the video call is a really powerful ability, and it’s worth exploring.

Other than that, not a lot of noise in the background, be aware if you need to try to make people in your home aware that you’re about to do a call. Letting them know that maybe they don’t want to be on camera. So giving them little hints that this is going to be a video meeting is coming up is really, really useful.

So hopefully that helps with some of the etiquette and points, but it’s so powerful. And if you haven’t done it yet, you really want to start to use the video conferencing because I really feel like that’s really the future of companies communications.