Working from Home? Here's How To Use Microsoft Teams to Stay Connected

Working from Home? Here’s How To Use Microsoft Teams to Stay Connected

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How-To

Are you suddenly being forced to work remotely? But have no clue about how to do it? Worry not here we are with a comprehensive guide on how to use Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams is a relatively new player in the communication, team collaboration, and video conferencing market. As the privacy and security concerns related to Zoom are rising, the hidden gems are brought to light.

Put simply, Microsoft Teams is a tool that integrates with Office 365, and it combines abilities like video conferencing, file storage, chat, etc.

Using it, you can create office online documents, share ideas and expertise, leverage bots, and do a lot more.

What’s important is you don’t even have to pay to use this fantastic tool.

Benefits – Microsoft Teams Free Tool

  • Unlimited chats, audio, and video calls
  • 10GB of file storage for the team
  • 2GB for every individual
  • It integrates with Office Online apps – Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and 140 more business apps
  • Can add up to 300 people to your contacts list (within or outside the organization)

Note: Free version of Microsoft Teams is available to only those who have not paid for commercial Office 365 subscription.

Highlights – Microsoft Teams

  • Pull together a team
  • Office 365 integration
  • Customize Teams through APIs and bot frameworks
  • Edit and open files at the same time
  • Azure Active Directory integration

Not convinced still want to stick to Zoom?

Here’s a quick comparison between Microsoft Teams and Zoom

Microsoft Teams VS Zoom
Feature Microsoft Teams Zoom
Integrated with Teams and Office 365 Yes No
File Sharing Yes Yes
Online Meeting Yes Yes
Chats Yes Yes
Screen Sharing Yes Yes
Simple to use interface No Yes
Secure Yes No
Price Free Free
Endless bots for integrating extra functionality Yes No
Video Conferencing Yes Yes

Overview – Microsoft Teams

To get started with Microsoft Teams, you need to visit: Microsoft Teams web page and creates an account. Once you have an account, you can compare both paid and free plans & decide which plan you want to use. Alongside this, you can also download the Microsoft Teams desktop application.

Teams and Channels

Now, that you have Microsoft Team installed, you need to set up a team by giving a name and description. Each team has subsections called Channels; a General Channel is automatically created. Whenever there is an activity, the channel will get highlighted.
teams and channels

Channel Tabs – Each channel has its default tabs – Conversations, Files, Notes, Team Services. If you want you can add tabs of your own.

Conversation – This is an essential and central feature of Microsoft Teams, and it works as a centralized discussion board where all communications are saved and made searchable.

marketing

Files – Teams window lets you perform different tasks within the window like chatting with the group, deleting, downloading, copying, the opening of a file, etc.  This helps in avoiding switching between different applications.

marketing general

Notes – This tab takes your team to OneNote. This means, you can edit and view OneNotes.

marketing note
adding tabs

Adding Tabs – Helps add Power BI dashboards, Planner, spreadsheets, etc.

menu

Menu – On the left-hand side within Teams, you get different options – Chats, Meetings, Files, and Activity. Most of which is self-explanatory. Those that need an explanation will be described.

Activities – Shows the last activities performed by Teams.

Chat – Provides complete chat history by storing Skype for Business conversation.

Teams – Overview of all teams and channels within the Teams.

Meetings – Pulls meetings from Outlook and allows scheduling meetings.

Files – View and search file across OneDrive, OneNote.

Now that we know about Microsoft Teams and what we can achieve from it. It’s time to learn how to use Microsoft Teams.

How to Use Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams combine four essential business functions into a single platform. Using it, you can send messages, coordinate with teams, make voice/video calls, and finally can integrate Microsoft 365.

1. Launch Microsoft Teams

You can use Microsoft Teams directly from a browser or can download a desktop application (Mac or PC) or on a mobile device (Android and iOS).

For this tutorial purpose, we will use a browser version. Since it has the same functionality, you won’t face a problem when using it as a desktop or smartphone application.

To use teams head to https://teams.microsoft.com/start

Here, you will get an option to Sign-up for free. You can create a Microsoft account at this time or can log in using an existing one.

However, if you are already using the business version of Microsoft Office 365, you will have Teams installed.

Once logged in, you’ll be asked the purpose for which you will be using it like friends, business, family, etc.  Each option customizes profiles accordingly but the fundamental functionality remains the same.

Since most of us are working from home due to COVID-19, we will take the ‘For work’ option.

Now, let’s create the first team.

team

2. Create a Team

To create or join a team, click Team section > Join or Create a team. If public teams are already created, you will see them, click it. However, if you want to join a special team, you can enter a code.

In this example, we will pick Create a team option.

Now, you can decide if the team is to be made public, private or Org-wide.

  • The public team can be used by anyone
  • Private is invite-only
  • Org wide automatically adds everyone in the business

Once you have decided on the type, your team that wish to create, next you need to name it and give a description.

3. Adding Teams

You can add people to Teams in several ways. But the simplest way is to send a link via email. Once the receiver clicks it, they will be enrolled automatically. Alternatively, you can add email addresses directly into Teams or can import names, email addresses from Outlook, People, etc.

Once the people are connected, you will see them on the Teams list and can receive the members and their activity.

By default, it has a General subsection called Channels. You can add one of these channels and can start interacting with others.

add channel

4. Add a channel

To create a channel, give it a title, description. You can decide to keep it standard or private. If you wish to have a private conversation, you can choose a private option.

Once the channel is created, you can load files, add posts and interact with team members.

5. Channel conversations

Chatting in a standard channel, it isn’t private; it is like a loud discussion. For example, if you have sent a message to Jim, everyone in the conversation can see it. But only Jim will be alerted so that he can focus on the message. Further, if you want, you can reply to a Channel even when not mentioned.

6. Video chat

At the bottom of the right panel, you will see the most important option: Meet. It resembles a video camera and reads Meet Now.

To initiate a video chat, click this icon. You can mute, disable video, share files, show attendees. You can also share your desktop or can use a whiteboard functionality.

7. Managing channels

You can join and leave any channel. If you join a channel and do not find it appropriate you can delete it. Before you decide to delete it remember once you do so all conversations, recordings and everything else related to that Channel will be deleted.

However, if there are any attached files, they will be retained on Sharepoint.

8. Adding functionality

For example, we explained only the core functionality. However, you can add various features and integrations to Teams like the calendar to schedule meetings and stay informed.

You can also connect to a vast range of third party products like Zoom, Trello, KUDO, etc.

This was it; using these simple steps, you can use Microsoft Teams and can collaborate with your team members. Not only this, but you can also even express yourself using stickers, emoji, GIFs. We hope you will give Microsoft Teams a try. Once you use it, please share your experience with us.

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