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Is Microsoft Teams Suitable for Remote Managers?

by Albert
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With remote and hybrid working become increasingly commonplace, managers around the world need the appropriate means to manage their teams from afar.

In business, a team’s work environment plays a major factor in the productivity of said team. For the majority of the history of modern business, teams have worked, and been managed, entirely on-premise (i.e. in the company office). However, owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, now many businesses have either converted to hybrid working (after a stint of remote working), or gone entirely remote. This means that the work environment of teams has radically changed for many – so, how an managers continue to work with their teams and guide them in the right direction without the benefit of in-person communication?

Microsoft Teams has been the answer for many. The collaboration platform from Microsoft offers videoconferencing, instant messaging, and a litany of handy productivity capabilities that tie in with the rest of the Microsoft 365 stack. One company we spoke to, that has been providing Office 365 consulting services for many years now, said that Teams is considered to be the hub of Microsoft 365 productivity – because of the way it brings communications, and both group and individual work into the same space.

Anatomy of Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is built around the use of teams and channels. But what exactly are teams and channels in the app? Firstly, a team is a workspace in the app users can be added to; they act as a space to segregate work – whether that be by department, by project, or by workgroup. Within teams, you have channels. A channel is used as a way to organise conversations within a team. Channels each come with their own chat tab, their own document & file library tab, as well as the ability to add various other pages and functions in additional tabs.

Microsoft have worked hard to develop these aspects of the platform so that they can be used by a wide array of industry to maximum effect – a company providing IT support for Construction firms told us of how Microsoft Teams has a construction site template; there are many other types of templates for different types of businesses, too.

How can Microsoft Teams be used for Remote Team Management?

Microsoft Teams undoubtedly has a wide range of capabilities; and, as the name shows us, it is designed to be used by teams. But, more specifically, how can it be used for remote team management? The Microsoft 365 consultant that we spoke with gave some examples of techniques and methods used to optimise team management within the platform.

  • Use Channels to Organise Conversations

The worst thing that can happen with a team is for conversations to get muddled and confused – files and content getting sent to the wrong chats, resulting in users taking several minutes to find the content or information they need. Managers should create channels dedicated to specific topics, where teams can have conversations, store and share content pertaining to specific topics, etc.

  • Create a Wiki for the Remote Team

Setting team and project guidelines is an important step for managers to undertake – but it might be harder to enforce guidelines remotely. This is why utilizing the wiki tab in team channels is a good idea (every channel comes with one). This ensures that remote team members know where to find information on protocol.

  • Utilize Team Notebooks

Every team channel also comes with its own OneNote notebook. OneNote is a cloud-based note-taking app, and supports all kinds of note taking – including rich text, lists, graphs and tables, drawings, pictures, videos, links, etc. Notebooks are a great way for teams to collaborate and brainstorm.

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