Since the pandemic began in 2020, many of us have been forced into getting to grips with using Microsoft Teams. It has been a saviour for many, keeping us connected with colleagues and external contacts.
Teams is great for that team chat or video call – but are you aware of it’s many further capabilities and features?
Microsoft Teams applications are the hidden gems that Microsoft uses to enhance the user experience and tie in all of the different aspects of the Office 365 toolset. Using apps allows users to complete many tasks they need all within Teams itself.
Here are a few of our favourite apps:
Karma is an app that allows you to give “kudos” to your fellow employees. Since many of us aren’t able to spend the time we’d like to with colleagues, Karma can help employees to say ‘thank you’ more often and bond with each other as a team.
- Share micro-feedback instantly
- Set real-life perks and rewards
- Engage with your team and gain valuable insights
- Analyse appreciation and praise activity through reports
- Reinforce long-term vision and goals
- Enable and propagate your company values
Polly is a survey app that lets you create surveys in your Microsoft Teams channel or group chat. It offers a simple way for your teammates to quickly vote on a specific question. The only thing you need to do is provide questions and answers, and Polly does the vote-counting analytics for you in real-time. Simply mention @polly to create and send your survey, and watch the results appear.
It also allows advanced options for extra customization such as anonymity, scheduling, displaying or hiding results, and multiple votes. If you want to hear what your colleagues have to say, turn on comments, and an easy-to-use discussion board will appear. It can be used by any department to keep employees engaged with the company’s everyday activities such as – when to have a meeting or where to go for lunch? By adding the Polly tab, you can reach colleagues in context without distracting them from their tasks.
The Wiki app comes as a default app for Microsoft Teams, which is included when you create a channel. This productivity app can be used as a dedicated workspace to keep notes for your team members within Microsoft Teams. It is a smart-text editor where you draft, edit, and chat all in one place. Using Wiki, you can store an easy how-to guide so everyone can follow basic rules and be up to date.
It presents a central, easily accessible location that comes in handy for FAQ. You can write down guidelines and best practices for a team and make their collaboration more productive. It is easily accessible, so you don’t have to go further into your documents and search for a specific article to share it with your colleagues. Instead of deleting this default app, find a creative way to use it.
MeisterTask is a collaborative application designed for task management of agile teams. The app helps team members to increase efficiency in day-to-day task management. It allows teams to brainstorm with mind maps that can eventually turn into the tasks assigned to specific team members or groups. With a simple design and built-in statistics and reports, it is easy to monitor specific project processes.
The app adapts to your needs as it offers a personalized dashboard and allows each teammate to have an overview of any open tasks, their tracked time, and notifications from other team members. Now, managers can automatically receive an email when some task gets moved to a specific column, and the team members stay in the loop with everyone else’s work.
You don’t have to be a member of Microsoft Teams and Office 365 to connect via Teams. Microsoft provides secure guest access, so that people in a business can connect with individuals outside of their organization.
Anyone with a consumer or business email account can join a chat. There’s also the option to view files and participate in meetings.
Guest access in Microsoft Teams is turned off by default, but it’s easy to access. Microsoft provides a complete how-to guide to help you navigate the process. Once you’ve configured your guest access, team owners can adjust rules and permissions.
Sync your SharePoint sites
One of the best things about Microsoft Teams is how easy it is to connect with tools you already use. For instance, if you have SharePoint team sites that you want to bring into Microsoft Teams, you can. Users can:
· Add SharePoint pages and lists into Teams channels
· Use the SharePoint news connector to stream news directly into channels
· Add full SharePoint sites in Teams via the website tab
· Include SharePoint document libraries as tabs in Teams
Often, the best Teams apps are those built-in to Teams itself.
Tabs in Microsoft Teams allow businesses to display rich and interactive web content to their teams. There are two kinds of tabs on Teams:
· Static tabs: These support individual users. For instance, you might have a tab that allows employees to make personal notes as they work.
· Configurable tabs: These are part of your Teams channel. They offer ongoing information and guidance to teams.
It’s challenging staying productive when your eye is always on the real-time chat feed in Microsoft Teams.
Fortunately, you can filter the content you see with @Mentions.
This allows you to separate your personal messages and to-do lists from other less relevant conversations.
The activity filter ensures that you stay up to date with the right information without facing the threat of information overwhelm.
Want to make sure that you can find the information you need in a hurry when you’re working on a project?
Microsoft Teams comes with the option to bookmark specific pieces of content, whether it’s a message or an attachment. You can classify the content is important to you and spend less time searching for crucial data.
In many businesses, there’s a constant stream of information moving through a chat app at any time. Bookmarking your content helps you to cut through the noise and find the data you need. See the below screenshot where the final message has a pink highlight on the right hand side.
Teams Search and Filter is useful for finding content too.
Speed is important in today’s agile workplace. If you want to get work done fast, then you need to make sure that you’re navigating Microsoft Teams as efficiently as possible.
One way to do this is with slash commands. For example, you can use a slash command to set your status to “online” or “away”. Alternatively, you can make sure you’re not missing out on anything important with /WhatsNew. This takes you straight to the Release Notes tab on the T-bot channel, so you can check out new features.
Some of the best slash commands include:
· /Files – Shows the most recent files shared with you on Teams.
· /GoTo – Lets you jump straight to a channel
· /Call – Initiates a call with someone else on Teams
· /Help – Delivers assistance via T-bot
· /Saved – Takes you to your saved messages
Type / into Teams to see other options.