Businesses everywhere have put Microsoft Teams at the core of their digital workplaces. The platform has unrivalled potential to support effective and efficient modern collaboration, bringing together remote and on-premises employees, and giving them the tools they need to work together and be productive.

However, there’s productive and then there’s productive. In this article, we’ll look at how to use Microsoft Teams effectively and really make the most of this powerful business enabler.

how to use microsoft teams effectively

From Survival Mode to Thrive and Grow

Many organizations fall short of harnessing the true potential of Teams. Some are just happy enough that their staff are using Teams at all. After all, back in early 2020 when the world embarked on the largest ever remote working experiment, the priority was just to enable remote working – any remote working – ASAP. Improvement was something that would come later, after the pressing matter of ensuring business continuity.

But now the dust has settled, it’s time to take stock and move into a different phase. This next stage is all about expanding Teams’ usefulness and ensuring it’s being used in all the right ways (and for all the right purposes). In other words: now it’s time to really see what Teams can do.

Here are the steps you need to take to ensure Teams delivers all it can for your business:

  • Create a usage plan to define how Teams can be used most effectively
  • Set governance policies and control how sensitive data is shared 
  • Tailor Teams with templates customized for your business needs
  • Harness the power of workflows with Microsoft Power Automate  

1. Create a Usage Plan

First of all, consider what Teams should enable for your business, and how poor usage could cause problems.

Think about your departments and projects:

  • Do they need their own Teams channels?
  • Who should be in each?
  • What kind of activity should occur there?

The more rigorously these things are planned out, the better starting point you’ll have to shape your organization’s Teams usage.

Without careful consideration, your Teams deployment can easily become a victim of its own success. It can sprawl beyond your needs and intentions and become a mess, with new channels being created ad-hoc, users becoming overwhelmed, and information getting lost.

You can gain valuable insights for creating your plan via Teams’ analytics and reporting functionality. That also allows you to adjust your plan later on as your organization’s Teams usage evolves.

2. Set Governance Policies

The best usage plan in the world is no use if it can’t be enforced. So, the next step is to set policies defining how Teams are created/joined and how data is shared.

Here are some controls you can set within Teams:

  • Who can create teams/channels (e.g., administrators or security group members)
  • Whether or not guest users from outside your organization can be added to Teams
  • Appointing Team owners to take on the day-to-day administration of each Team
  • Levels of access provided to data, identities, and devices
  • Team/channel naming conventions for an orderly, easily understood environment
  • Lifecycle management so that unused teams are automatically deleted

These are just a few options available to you. With careful and considered Teams management, aligned with your usage plan, you can ensure Teams runs like a well-steered and maintained sportscar – not a ramshackle runaway train.

3. Tailor Teams with Templates

Now, it’s time to start doing some groundwork to prepare for the future and create customized Teams templates. With Teams templates, you can quickly and easily roll out collaboration spaces that are perfectly tailored to particular business needs or circumstances, ensuring every team member can access the relevant channels, software integrations, bots, and so on.

For instance, if a new project has started, you can use a template that caters for all the requirements that similar projects have had. This way, you can ensure that none of the vital tools or information employees need are missed out, and they have everything they require to hit the ground running.

A collection of carefully curated Teams templates can become a very valuable asset for your organization. Having the right templates makes a huge difference in terms of how to use Microsoft Teams effectively for growth and seizing new opportunities.

4. Harness the Power of Workflows

Integrating Teams apps and workflows into your deployment is the final vital step – and it’s crucial for turning your employees into true Teams power users. Time to streamline and automate key business processes with Microsoft Power Automate.

Microsoft Power Automate allows you to cut wasted time by automating laborious manual tasks and expedite business processes. And now it’s been deeply integrated in Teams thanks to a new integration.

Flows can be created to cater for a wide range of scenarios, such as:

  • Starting an approval process when a file is added to a pre-defined SharePoint library
  • Posting messages when tasks are completed to update Team members
  • Scheduling calls in response to certain pre-messages from team members

Power Automate makes it simple to build your own automations, but there’s also a wealth of useful Power Automate Templates provided by Microsoft. With Power Automate, it’s easy to start transforming your processes into smart, innovative digital workflows that raise your organization’s Teams usage to an entirely new level.

Confident in how to use Microsoft Teams effectively?

We hope this article has helped you in understanding Microsoft Teams’ full potential for your business, and how it can be used most effectively to deliver the best results.

Like many things in life, your Teams deployment is best viewed as an eternal work in progress. It will evolve along with your usage and your organization itself. Plans and policies will be tweaked and improved, and new templates and workflows will be crafted and implemented.

With the right approach, your carefully-tended Teams environment will flourish to deliver ever-greater value for your business – a digital workspace to be proud of, and one you can be sure that employees will love.

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Want to discuss more about this topic? Get in touch with Worksighted today. We’ll help you make sure your Teams deployment does everything it can for the future of your business.