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Microsoft Teams: An Admin to User Guide

Jun 10, 2019 by Heather Trevenna

Microsoft Teams users, working together to improve productivity

Productivity in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a highly collaborative workspace which not only enables you to connect with your team wherever they may be globally but also creates a strong sense of company culture. However, as an Admin, you may find there is a challenge managing your many Teams and channels. Also, some of these Teams and Channels may not still be relevant to your organization and are no longer fulfilling their desired function. This then begs the question, is this productive for your users? In this blog, we will deliberate quick and easy ways to make the platform more efficient for you and your users.

Getting the reply right

One of the best features in Microsoft Teams is the ease of open discussion, where anyone in that Team can join the thread and add a comment. However, some users, you may have observed, haven’t quite grasped the ‘reply’ button concept.

Productivity in Microsoft Teams

What this means is their response is orphaned from the conversation and can, therefore, be easily missed. This reply could be a crucial bit of information about a project, or just a suggestion to try something new, either way, this simple mistake can be counterproductive so it’s worth communicating to your users.

At Quadrotech, we’re fans of a bit of light-hearted banter, and in this scenario, we often issue the ‘Cone of Shame’ GIF if the reply button is forgotten. You’ll be surprised at how effective this is.

How to Manage Teams, when it seems totally unmanageable

Microsoft Teams can sometimes feel like a maze for finding information, this can make the workspace idle if not managed correctly because important notifications can be missed. Here are a few top tips on organizing this to its full potential.

Do you need to be in this Team?

You need to ask your users ‘Do you feel like you’re in too many Teams and the list is never ending?’. If so, it’s time for them to make some changes.

First, you need to ask your users to think about whether they need to be in all their Teams. WAIT – this doesn’t mean they can start running for the hills and leave all the Teams they’re part of! Ask them to think about why they want to leave. If they’ve arrived at a decision they want to leave, tell them to consult this with the Team Owner. If the Owner is happy for them to leave, all they need to do is click the three dots to the left of the channel and select ‘Leave’. It’s important to communicate this to your users because with Teams everyone will see a notification they’ve left, so there’s no sneaking out!

Productivity in Microsoft Teams - leaving a Team

Is your Team still relevant?

Another top tip which will benefit both you and your users – ask them if they think a Team is still relevant? If your user feels like this is no longer required, encourage them to ask the Team Owner what the purpose of that Team is? It’s always good to get an idea of why Teams were created initially. When you first adopted Teams as an organization, it’s likely that some Teams and Channels were created to fulfill a specific goal at the time, but now aren’t necessary.

If it comes to a point where you want to delete a Team or channel, don’t forget that currently, you lose all the chat data and messages. Fortunately, files do remain in a separate SharePoint file, but still, be wary here.  If you delete the Team, you delete all the content in it. In some cases, this might not be a problem. However, ensure you or your Team Owner don’t act impulsively here and later realize there were important files saved within that Team or channel that they need.

Do you want to see all these Channels?

So, your users may find they still want to be a part of a Team, but don’t want to see the huge list of channels.

List of channels in Teams

In which case, you can advise them to try “hiding” the channels that they don’t need to be kept up to date on. This will mean they won’t get notified of any posts in that specific channel or see when the channel is bold (which happens when there are unread posts in there) unless you open the drop down of hidden channels.

List of channel in Microsoft Teams

See – much tidier!

You can also reorder your Teams by simply dragging and dropping your most frequently used Teams to the top. For the Teams you use less frequently you can “Hide” the whole team in the same way that you hide a channel – click the three dots to the left of the Team name and click “Hide”. Then, you can minimize your hidden Teams and you’re left with only the ones you need regularly.

Maintaining a work-life balance on Teams

So in this sense, we don’t mean “switching off Teams when you’re at home”, although, we do encourage this, which you can read more about in Paul Robichaux’s blog. But, what we mean here is Teams can get overcrowded sometimes, especially in the more company-wide channels. At Quadrotech, we call ourselves the ‘Quadrofam’ and enjoy sharing our pictures from the weekends, fitness challenges, our ‘Quadropets’, achievements and more. However, if these posts aren’t work-oriented, this can cloud Teams and create a lot of noise if done in the wrong place. For example, in the Marketing channel, I might post some important information about a new product update or process, and someone else might post a picture of their dog. This can be confusing as the important information can be missed by colleagues needing to see it.

A way to avoid overcrowding of Teams messages, so we can appreciate both our pets and important company bulletins, is to create a Team specifically for these posts that people want to share. If a lot of people in your organization share about traveling, then make a “Travel” channel. Or, if people just like sharing something interesting, make a “Tell me something great” or “Tech Talk” channel. If your users want to become Members of that Team, all they have to do is let you know or the Team Owner know.

We want to make your life easier

These simple yet effective tasks can increase you and your organization’s productivity in Microsoft Teams. If you would like to find out more about How to Manage Microsoft Teams, then check out our Admin guide here. It has top tips and tricks for using PowerShell, the Graph, Teams Templates for managing the platform, and also pointers on delegation of control.

So all these tips all sound great, right? But now it’s a matter of communicating this to your organization. We all know how hard it can be to firstly, create a digestible document for your users and secondly, to get them to adopt these habits. To make your life that little bit easier, let us do the legwork for you. Here is a downloadable PDF guide you can send to your Users, fill in the form below and we’ll email it over to you.