Chances are, if you have been working with Office 365 for a while or following the tech announcements you will have heard of Microsoft Teams.
Many people are confused as to what Microsoft Teams actually is and what it can do for them.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is an app that is part of your Office 365 subscription. It is used for Chatting, Calling, Online Meetings, File and document storage -Teamwork and you can add other apps to it to make the work more relevant.
If you are used to using Skype for Business, you may be thinking that Teams is simply a replacement for Skype for Business (Microsoft are on the way to ditching Skype for Business).
You would be right and wrong at the same time.
Whilst Microsoft Teams can be used for Chat, Calls and Video Calls and Meetings it has a whole lot more to offer that Skype for Business does not.
Here is an example of how it can be used. I can create a Team called Admin to which I invite all the administrators across the company. Within Admin there are three Channels. One for the Christmas Party, one for Travel and one for Entertaining.
In each of the Channels there will be a Posts area a Files area and a Wiki.
This is where you have Team Chat. Conversations can be held here. All team members are part of the chat and can dip in and out at will.
This is for storage of team documents. Anything can be stored here. Reports, working documents, receipts, spreadsheets, presentations, pdfs in fact anything that everyone in the team need to access.
A Channel Wiki can be used to contain useful links and announcements.
How would you use it – Let me set the scene?
You are in charge of organising the Christmas Party. You create the channel and then invite suggestions from team members. This is done in the Posts section where Channel chat takes place. When one person – let’s call her Jane comes up with a brilliant idea, that post can be “liked” or “loved” just like on social media.
Once you have reached the idea for the party, tasks can be assigned. The Planner App can be added to the Channel so that the plan can take shape. Add a Microsoft Form to capture information and a plethora of other apps can be added too depending on the need and suitability.
Set up the file structure within the files section, a folder for Venus a folder for quotes etc. Then start to add your files.
Documents, spreadsheets and presentations are stored and can be accessed by any team member.
Documents can be worked on collaboratively as they are automatically shared with everyone who is part of the team. Documents can be opened right there inside Teams or they can be opened online or on the desktop app.
Now that you have your file structure set up, your team members invited and suggestions coming in, you decide that you need to have a team meeting.
Head over to the calendar and create a meeting, choose which channel to hold it in and add the details: time, date, agenda any notes and go ahead and schedule the meeting. The meeting will appear in the Channel and any one can join direct from here. Simples!
When in the online meeting, you can share your screen, share an application, share a document or a presentation, give control to others to get their input and even share a Whiteboard for brainstorming sessions.
But what if I want to chat with Jane and not everyone else?
A personal chat is the answer. Start a private chat with Jane. This lives outside the Team/Channel and is only visible to the two of you. You can add more people too if you need to expand the conversation.
What about External Members
With Microsoft Teams so long as your administrator has enabled it, you can invite external people into your Team. They can do just about anything a full member can do. Guest members are usually not able to create new Channels or Delete Channels but otherwise they have the same access to everything in the Team. They can access the files and add files too.
This is just a brief outline of what Teams can do. There are many more scenarios. How will you use it?
Shelley Fishel is the owner of tomorrow’s VA an online training platform for Microsoft Office and a well published author on Microsoft Office. She has been working in the IT Training arena since 1998 starting out working for a training company before setting up her own company which she sold in 2019. Shelley now works predominantly online – delivering courses and webinars and speaking at events and conferences.
Shelley holds the COLF and CDOL qualifications from the Learning and Performance Institute of which she is a Fellow.
This article first appeared in Executive Secretary Magazine, a global training publication and must read for any administrative professional. You can get a 30% discount when you subscribe through us. Visit the website at www.executivesecretary.com to find out more or to get your 30% discount email email@example.com and tell them we sent you
The whole point of a Team is to work with others, right? So, you have set up your shiny new team and want to add members – but then it gets confusing. What kind of members should you add? How do you add them and what if you just want to host a meeting with others who are not part of the team? Are they guests? And what is a guest member?
Read on to find out.
Team members are people who work at your organisation. They have the same email address ending as you so they are @yourcompany.com . You can invite them into any team that you set up in your organisation.
In fact, as you set up the Team you are prompted to invite members in. I always skip this step and only add people once I have set up the Team with all the different things I want them to have access to.
To add a member:
Click on the three dots to the right of the Team name and choose Add member from the list of options.
Add Team Members
Next you need to add their email address – as you start to type Teams will suggest people at your organisation. You will see in the dialogue box that it tells you that you can also add Guests to your Team. More on that next.
Type email address
So – what or rather who is a guest?
A guest member is someone who does not work at your organisation and does not have an email address that ends @yourcompany.com like you do.
You have the ability to add guest users to your Team so that you can work with external people.
What can a Guest member do?
A guest in your team can do almost anything a fully-fledged member can. They can participate in a Chat, join a Channel Meeting, have a one to one chat with other members of the Team, and access files and folders in the Files section as if they are @yourcompany.com
Do I need to do anything special to add them?
Yes, you do. The Team administrator will need to enable certain settings in order for guests to join
Turn on Guest Access in the Teams Admin Centre at the Organisation wide level
Configure Azure Active Directory Business to Business Settings to allow access
Configure Office 365 Groups
Configure Sharing in Office 365
Verify the Sharing Settings in SharePoint
Set up Guest User Permissions in the Team
The six steps to enable guest access – slide from my course – How to Use Microsoft Teams
Wow that sounds complicated Shelley
It is, and it isn’t. Think about it for a moment. Let’s think about what a Team actually is and how it is used.
A Team is a Communication Hub. Primarily for those at your organisation. However, on any project you may need to work with external people, suppliers, Virtual Assistants, collaborators from other organisations.
Anyone in a Team has access to all the functionality set up.
Applications in the Channels
Files and Documents
When you invite guests into your Team you are giving them access to any files stored in the Team. Now this may be exactly what you need to do, and that is fabulous. But if you simply need to have a meeting with external participants – like a Zoom meeting for example, then you don’t need to invite them in or add them to your team.
So, how do I host an online meeting with people outside my organisation Shelley?
There are two methods to create the invitation.
Method one – inside Teams
From the Calendar in Teams click Schedule Meeting, give it a title, set the time and date and type in the email addresses of the invitees, just like you would in an Outlook invite.
When you are done, click Send.
The person Invited gets an email invite and when they accept it will be in their calendar.
To join your meeting, they open the invite and click on the Join Microsoft Teams link in the body.
Side note – I am writing this on my Mac, the steps are identical for both Windows and Mac and I use both.
Create a meeting request in Outlook and add the Teams meeting link to it.
On Windows – click the new Teams Meeting icon on the Home Ribbon of the Calendar.
On Mac – click New Invite on the Home Ribbon and then the Teams Meeting Icon
Create a Microsoft Teams Meeting in Outlook – the Mac version
On Windows – you will see the Join Teams Meeting link in the body of the email straightaway.
On Mac – the Join Teams Meeting Link will be added after you send the invite.
Join the meeting via the link
On both Windows and Mac, the attendee clicks the Join Teams Meeting Link in the body of the email.
What happens next?
When they click the meeting link, they will be taken to their browser, it is preferable to use Chrome or the latest version of Microsoft Edge. They will be able to join the meeting in the browser (just like Zoom) and may need to enable the Microphone and Speakers via a pop up in the browser.
If they have the Teams app installed, they can choose to open the meeting in app (like Zoom)
Once in the online meeting the attendees can see whatever you as the organiser share.
The difference between attending an online meeting in Teams or on the Web
If you join an online meeting as an attendee via the Teams App (so you are not a guest in the organisation) you will be able to use the full functionality of your Teams App. You are not accessing the host’s Team and you do not have access to any of the hosts files or other resources but you do have access to all of your own resources.
If you join an online meeting as an attendee via the web browser, you will be able to see whatever the host shares. If you are presenting in the meeting, you will be able to share your screen and have the choice of whether to share your desktop of any other application that is open. You must have anything you want to share open and ready.
How many people can be seen on screen?
At the time of writing Teams has just been updated to show up to 9 people on screen and Microsoft are working to increase this to more.
Back to Members and Guests
Now when you are working on setting up your Team you can make an informed decision of whether you need people to be invited in as Guest members so that they have complete access to all your Team resources or whether you want to simply invite them to an online meeting.
Remember Guest Members like full Members have access to anything stored inside the Channels they are in.
Want to know more? Take my online course: How to Use Microsoft Teams which will show you how to set up your Teams and how to use all the functionality.
At the time of writing I am creating another course for Trainers Speakers and Coaches, you can sign up to find out when it will be ready here.
Are you using Microsoft Teams? Has this article helped? Do comment and let me know 🙏
In their latest analysis report, they announced a new daily record of hosting 2.7 billion meeting minutes across the planet in ONE single day. This figure trebled their previous record of 900 million.
Students and teachers are also turning to Microsoft Teams for distance learning. It’s being used in 175 countries around the world to keep education going.
Obviously we, as humans, love face-to-face contact. We prefer to communicate in person with other people.
Microsoft have been researching the way we are all interacting now to uncover some new trends. It makes for interesting reading.
Because we love face-to-face, it’s no surprise that the use of video in Teams meetings and conferencing is on the rise. Global video calls in Teams rose by more than 1,000 per cent during the whole of March. Users in Norway, Australia and the Netherlands were the most active with video communication.
Microsoft Stream, which powers live events and meeting recordings in Teams, has also seen a huge upsurge in activity. A five-fold increase took place in just one month.
With the increasing use of the platform, Microsoft is making changes to make using Teams an even better experience for people. These include:
Custom backgrounds – which means you can replace a cluttered or dowdy space with a fresh, new office backdrop. A neat way to create an even more distinguished and professional look.
Raise hands – a function which allows participants on a video call or in a virtual conference meeting to indicate they wish to speak.
End Meeting For All – The host of a meeting is now able to end the meeting for all participants with a single button click.
Participant Report – Meeting organisers, especially teachers, can see who joined, at what time and when they left the meeting.
Real-time Noise Suppression – a feature on its way to reduce distracting background noise, such as loud typing or a dog barking.
Different working hours
Microsoft’s research also suggests that people are adjusting their working hours while they work more remotely, typically from home. People are logging on earlier and logging off later.
This, say the researchers, does not mean people are working longer hours. It means they are breaking up their work day into different chunks. This may be to work around family, household tasks or caring for others.
You may have found you have had to make some adjustments to your working day or week, too.
What is clear is this. More and more companies and individuals are turning to Microsoft Teams. They will expect employees and external people they work with to know how to use the application.
For the motivated VA, now really is the moment to get your teeth into Teams and make sure you know it well enough to serve clients with calm and confident efficiency.
If you know you need to get up to speed, take a look at my online course on How to Use Microsoft Teams. It covers all the essentials. That means you can worry less about working out how to do stuff and focus on delivering superb service to your clients.
Don’t get left behind. Microsoft Teams is here and only going to be more popular. I’ll show you step-by-step all the clever stuff it does so you can handle it like a dream.