10 tips to ensure you get the most out of Microsoft Teams

5 minute read

10 tips to ensure you get the most out of Microsoft Teams

Topics: Microsoft 365 IT Managed Services

By Calligo on 4 May 2020

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations shifted from office-based working to working from home, in many cases for the very first time. This made the introduction of technologies and collaboration platforms that help facilitate remote working a priority for most businesses.


One platform, in particular, that saw a considerable increase in adoption was industry-leading cloud-based collaboration platform, Microsoft 365 (formerly Microsoft Office 365).


Microsoft 365 provides workforces with secure, continuously-available access to their data and each other, on any device, no matter where they are, perfect for employees now working from home. And within Microsoft 365, at its very core, is Microsoft Teams.


What is Microsoft Teams?


Microsoft Teams is the collaboration hub of Microsoft 365 and is a customizable shared workspace that brings people and content together.


Teams enables users to interact by using multiple methods of communication such as IM, video and voice calls, schedule meetings, as well as improving productivity and collaboration through secure access to data to share and edit documents with colleagues, and even external guests, such as clients and suppliers.


In fact, Microsoft Teams has become so popular in recent weeks, that on 31st March 2020, Microsoft announced that it had reached a new daily recorded of 2.7 billion meeting minutes, a 200% increase from the 900 million meeting minutes recorded on 16th March 2020. Secondly, in March 2020, Microsoft recorded it had 44 million active daily users, however, in November 2020, Microsoft revealed that it had now reached 115 million active daily Microsoft Teams users.


However, due to the often hurried and rapid deployments, not all workforces have had access to training and are new to working from home, coupled with Microsoft's frequent updates to Teams, often means not everyone is getting the very most out of the platform.   


We have created a dedicated "How to get the most out of Microsoft Teams" guide to help users learn how to use Microsoft Teams to its fullest potential, boost productivity and stay connected while remote working.





How to get the most out of Microsoft Teams

Tips and tricks to boost productivity and collaboration, as well as how to stay connected while working remotely at home or in the office



We have also highlighted the top 10 tips everyone should know about Teams to help ensure they get the most out of the platform.

10 tips and tricks to ensure you get the most out of Microsoft Teams

To ensure you receive every message and activity notification, you can manage your notifications settings by clicking on your profile picture in the top right, then” Settings” and “Notifications”.
Remember notifications for individual Channels within your Teams need to be turned on manually within the Channels themselves. You can do this by right-clicking on each Channel and selecting “Channel notifications”.

Need to get someone’s attention?
You can grab someone’s attention by placing an “@” before typing their name. You can also do this for multiple people in a group chat – useful when assigning tasks. If you need to grab an entire Team or Channel’s attention, you can “@” the name of the Team or Channel. This ensures your recipients get a notification in their activity feed and, depending on how they’ve set up their notifications, a pop-up.

Need to make a quick call?
You don’t need to schedule a meeting with someone to have a voice or video call. You can call them straight from the chat. In the top right corner of you’re the chat you’ll see three buttons.
Teams-Chat-Audio-Video-and-Screen-ShareThese will enable you to have a voice or video call, as well as allowing you to share your screen with someone directly.

Change your background during video calls: Video calls are great for keeping in touch, however, you might be reluctant if you’re working from a personal space. Microsoft Teams enables you to keep your privacy with options to change your background. You can easily “blur” your background, and Microsoft has recently launched additional options allowing you to select a virtual background, either a pre-set background or enabling you to upload your own

You achieve this by selecting the “Background filter” option at the start of the call 
Microsoft Teams Meetings - backgrounds and webcamIf you’ve already joined the meeting and would like to update your background, click “…” and choose “Show background effects”.

Adding external guests to a Teams meeting:
You can easily include your external guests into your Microsoft Teams meeting. They can join either by voice or video and can even share their screen with all attendees.

You can do this by sending them a diary invite from Outlook and selecting the “Teams Meeting” button. This will auto-populate the invite description with a Teams Meeting link. Guests do not need a Microsoft Teams account to be able to join and will wait in the “lobby” until you’re ready for them to join the meeting.

Record your Teams Meetings:
This is particularly useful for long presentations or for late or absent attendees who can catch up at a later time. The recording captures audio, video, and any screen sharing activities. The meeting is recorded in the cloud and saved to Stream, meaning you can manage, download, and share.

To record the meeting, just click the ‘…’ and ‘Start Recording’. Once clicked, all the attendees will be notified that the meeting is being recorded by a message at the top of the meeting window.
Create a Team:
A Team is a collection of people, conversations, files and tools – all in one place. This is a perfect place for you to collaborate on tasks with key members of your team or project.
  1. Select “Teams” on the left-hand side menu
  2. Select “Create Teams” (note that not everyone has the permissions to be able to create Teams – you might need to ask your administrator)
  3. Select “Build Team from Scratch”
  4. Name your new Team
  5. Add your Team members (if you need to add people from outside the organization, use their email address to invite them as guests)
  6. Remember to select “Private” if you’re discussing and sharing sensitive content. If you select “Public”, the entire organization can see and contribute to it.
  7. Create Channels within the Team that is dedicated to the project or function to ensure everything stays organized and clear.
Pin your important Microsoft Teams Chats & Channels:
Want to easily find and have easy access to your most popular and important chats? You can do this by simply “pinning” your most important chat threads to the top of your Chat filter on the left-hand side of the Chat window. Just right-click the ones you want to prioritize and select “Pin Chat” and drag and drop to organize them further.
You can do this for your most popular Teams Channels too. Simply right-hand click on the Channel you’d like to pin and select “Pin”.
Sync your files to your desktop from Teams:
Files stored in Microsoft Teams and Channels can only be accessed if you are working online. However, you can make them easily accessible offline. Powered by SharePoint, you can sync your files with OneDrive, allowing you to work on the files (update and make changes) on your laptop/ desktop.  If you stay online, these will update and save in real-time.
However, if you’re working offline, just save as normal and when you go back online, the offline files that you have updated will re-sync, updating the files stored in Teams.
Microsoft Teams Shortcuts:
Learn to navigate Teams quickly and efficiently with the below shortcuts to help you get around.
  •   < > – These navigation buttons in the top left-hand corner enable you to switch between most recent screens
  • Ctrl + E – Moves you straight to the search bar
  • /Files – Shows the most recent files shared with you on Teams.
  • /Call – Initiates a call with someone on Teams – simply type the name of the person you’d like to call
  • /Mentions – Shows all your @ mentions
  • /Unread – View all unread activity
  • /Who – an intelligent search to find people by name, role or department across your organization.
  • /Help – Teams dedicated Help Centre
If you’d like to find out more about Microsoft Teams and to ensure you’re using it to its fullest potential, helping you to boost your productivity and how to stay connected while working from home, download our dedicated Microsoft Teams guide.