Although states have begun reopening, many of us are still working from home to combat the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Since the beginning of the pandemic, the portion of American workers who’ve done their jobs remotely because of the coronavirus has increased by 46 percentage points, according to a May 19 Gallup article titled “How to Show Up Consistently for Remote and In-House Workers.”
Even when it’s safe to return to the office, most employed Americans (59 percent) say they would prefer to “work remotely as much as possible,” according to Gallup. Working from home could become the new standard for many organizations: For instance, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey already told his team they can keep working from home indefinitely, BuzzFeed News reported earlier this month.
For companies that have temporarily or permanently transitioned their teams to working from home, ensuring everyone has the necessary tools to stay productive, communicate with coworkers and clients, and maintain security and compliance is vital.
Not long ago, we published a blog entry explaining how the Microsoft Office 365 suite of business applications can make life easier for remote workers. This article will expand on how Microsoft Teams can make a huge difference for distributed teams, thanks to the app’s range of advanced features that drive effective communication and collaboration.
Teams Overview: An Ideal App for Remote Workers
Teams replaced Skype for Business a couple of years ago as the Office 365 suite’s Unified Communications (UC) app. It can serve as an advanced UC as a Service (UCaaS) platform for your team, bringing together one-on-one and group chats, voice calls, audio and video conferencing capabilities, and file sharing in a single program.
Teams integrates with the rest of the Office 365 suite and includes enterprise-grade security and compliance features. It also has a mobile version, which means you can install it on your smartphone and stay in the loop even if you’re away from your desktop or laptop.
Ultimately, it has a lot of advantages over traditional desk phones. It’s not hard to see why many businesses turned to Teams for their communication needs, even before the pandemic made working from home the new normal.
5 Cool Teams Features to Make Your Professional Life Easier
Aside from the standard UCaaS capabilities, here are some useful Teams features everyone should know about, especially people working remotely.
1. You can send GIFs and emojis via the chat function. One of the big downsides of virtual communication, compared to face-to-face interactions, is the loss of tone and facial expressions that can clarify the meaning of your words. Teams helps you compensate for that with GIFs and emojis: Just look for the smiley face and GIF icons below the box where you type messages.
2. The search and persistent chat features let you refer back to old conversations. If your boss gave you instructions for an assignment a couple of days ago via Teams and you need to jog your memory, you can find them using the search box in the app.
3. There’s a dark theme available. Some people find dark themes easier on the eyes. If that’s the case for you, the Teams app has you covered.
4. You can @ people to get their attention. If you need someone to look at something, you can summon them by name, just like you can on various other social media platforms/apps.
5. Typing a slash or @ in the search box brings up a list of commands. In Teams, the search bar is also the command line, according to the ZDNet article “Microsoft Teams: How to master remote work beyond the basics.” Learning to use the command line can save you time on tasks you perform frequently, like sending brief messages to coworkers or changing your status.
Overall, Teams is a handy tool that can keep you connected and productive, whether you’re working in the office or from your couch at home. If you’d like more information about Teams, the Office 365 suite or remote work solutions in general, our technology advisors would be happy to help you. We have a lot of experience with work-from-home tech from suppliers in our partner network, and we can help you determine which products make the most sense for your business.
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