How to Use Microsoft Teams to Work from Home

By Gary Utley on June 18, 2020

Microsoft Teams is a great tool to use both in and out of the office. In the office, it gives you fast and ready access to your nearby coworkers. Outside of the office, it lets you seamlessly interact with those in the office, at home and elsewhere. Microsoft Teams is really a suite of solutions in one, including the ability to text chat, voice chat and conference, all with integration into the Office 365 system. But how do you start using Microsoft Teams to work from home?

Begin by Creating Your Digital Workspace

Your digital workspace will consist of the projects and teams that you need to stay in contact with. When using MS Teams, organizations should set standards regarding when Teams are built to avoid a proliferation of unnecessary Teams and Team Channels. Take time to familiarize yourself with the platform if you haven't used it before, or if you're using a different model of the platform now (such as moving from the Desktop version to the Online version). 

Start Connecting with Your Coworkers

When working from home, it's important to remain connected with your coworkers. Start attending online meetings. Have discussions with coworkers one-on-one about projects. Respond quickly when asked questions, and make it a habit to continuously check MS Teams for more information about the projects you're working on.

Avoid External Communication

MS Teams works best when it is a singular, consolidated hub for communications. When you can, try to communicate within MS Teams. You'll be able to find the information you need faster when you know where it is, and you'll be more likely to get a response if you're consistently using a single platform. Being able to limit your conversations to MS Teams is also a security improvement.

Don't Forget Your Etiquette

Remember: It's much harder for people to tell what you're thinking in text. Make sure to clarify things, and if you feel as though you're not expressing your emotions correctly, say so. Some businesses encourage the use of emoticons, and others don't. Follow your organization's requests, but consider using emoticons and emoji if allowed to do so. They can clarify tone, especially when speaking with coworkers, managers, or employees that you aren't otherwise familiar with.

Consolidate Your Calendar

One of the major benefits to MS Teams is that it integrates directly with Office, and therefore the Microsoft Calendar. To keep your team on the same page, make sure that you've consolidated your calendar and that you've successfully integrated your project management and planning solutions. The better organized your team is, the more effective it will be able to be.

Use the Right Tools at the Right Time

Microsoft Teams is a robust suite of communication tools, including video chat, voice chat, conferencing, and text-based communications. When communicating, ask yourself about two things: scope and urgency.

If your question has a broad scope, it may need to go in a team channel, or in a video conference. If your question has a narrow scope, it may need to be a one-on-one text, voice, or video conversation with a single individual.

Likewise, if it's not urgent, then a team channel or a text may be appropriate. If it is urgent, then a team channel conference, or a call, might be more applicable. Always use the right tools at the right time to get the answers you need when you need them.

Consider Team-Building Exercises

It's hard to foster good working relationships when you aren't in the office, but that doesn't mean it's impossible; it just takes a little extra effort. Try to have a quick chat with your coworkers and find ways to bring the team together.

Consider health-related challenges, or other things that you can participate in at home. Have meetings or video conferences to discuss the day and the ways that projects can improve. Consider running team-building exercises for everyone through MS Teams, and getting people thinking together and interacting with each other.

The more employees can interact with each other, the less working from home will present a barrier. But that does require in-depth knowledge of the technology, and it requires that employees be willing to embrace that technology.

Though Microsoft Teams may be a powerful in-office tool, it may be even better suited to those who are working remotely. Microsoft Teams remote work makes it possible to seamlessly interact with coworkers as though they were right there, and to manage employees with ease. For more information about the benefits of the MS Teams solution, contact the experts at Red River.

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