Four Practical Steps to Get Employees All-In With Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams is now the gold standard for business collaboration. While there are some popular alternatives for certain collaboration functions, like Zoom or Slack, only Teams brings together the best of chat, video conferencing, and file collaboration in one simple and easy to use platform. What’s more, Microsoft Teams is included with Microsoft 365, meaning there is no extra cost if you are already using Microsoft for cloud-based email and calendaring.
Driving broad-based utilization of Teams is a big priority for Protek Support. Many of the other popular platforms have been under the microscope lately due to security risks in their software. Security is one of the most important features for Protek, so we encourage out clients to use Teams. Here are four practical steps leaders can take to drive the adoption of Microsoft Teams internally.
1. Get the Right Hardware
The video conferencing market has been developing for nearly two decades. But 2020 has become a game changer, due to the increased use of video conferencing during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Slack, 16 million US knowledge workers started working regularly from home during the crisis. Nearly all of those employees turned to video conferencing to keep teamwork and collaboration flowing.
Video conferencing is impossible, if employees don’t have the right hardware to make it happen. The best way to ensure that Teams video conferencing and calls occur regularly is to deploy video and audio capabilities everywhere. Depending on the type of hardware your employees are already using, they may have this capability already. Most business-grade laptops come with an integrated camera built in. For those that are using desktops, a high quality webcam and headset will need to be deployed to the employee.
In the office, it is vital to upgrade meeting spaces to support video. In addition to standard conference room setups, lunch rooms can be great spaces for larger team meetings and all-hands gatherings. And now more than ever, huddle spaces – small rooms for 3-5 employees – are the key location for video collaboration in the workplace.
2. Establish a standard: all meetings on Teams
Microsoft Teams is deeply integrated with the rest of the Microsoft 365 stack, making it simple to standardize on Teams across an organization. Microsoft makes it super easy to organize a Teams meeting, since the application is deeply integrated in Microsoft Outlook and the Calendar function. With just a few clicks of the mouse, any meeting becomes a Teams meeting instantly. Participants in the meeting can join from the native Teams app, the web, or from their mobile device.
Ease of use and deep integration with Outlook is not enough. Company leadership, IT staff, and team leaders all need to embrace a single application for productive internal meetings and collaboration. It is important that there is an executive sponsor and that a deliberate meeting standard is established and communicated. Naturally, all staff need to be adept at working with external collaborators on different tools, such as Zoom, GoToMeeting, and WebEx. But for internal meetings, it is best to establish a standard and stick with it.
3. Chat, don’t email or call
Real-time chat is once again the most timely and effective means of internal business communication. For those who have been around awhile, chat has come and gone as a major business communication tool over the past two decades. However, it seems the near universal adoption of texting and SMS on mobile has brought the medium back with a vengeance in the workplace.
Chat allows busy knowledge workers the chance to multi-task and keep communications flowing in a fast-paced environment. It also cuts down on the volume of email in the workplace, while leveraging the benefits of app integration and context for more relevant conversations. The beauty of chat on Teams is that it is integrated with the rest of Microsoft 365 experience. This enables seamless internal collaboration with group chats and posts around special projects, teamwork, and shared files.
4. Cameras on and lead by example
Lastly, when management leads by example, buy-in can happen naturally. For instance, leaders throughout the chain of command should always join meetings with their video camera on. To take video conferencing to another level internally, organizations should require employee engagement and participation by joining meetings with cameras on.
The network effects are obvious. If individual or small groups don’t use video, it creates odd imbalances in meetings. Is everyone paying attention? Are they contributing? Are we on the same page? Conversely, when everyone participates in video conferences with cameras on, it levels the playing field and creates a more collaborative environment where all the benefits of video conferencing get unleashed.
Check out our “How-To” videos on using Microsoft teams and share them with your employees. Protek invites new and existing clients to reach out Michelle Lawson to learn more about how to leverage Microsoft Teams for improved employee collaboration. Please hop on video call with Michelle today.