No matter where or how your employees work, productivity remains critical to your organisation’s success. Whether your staff work from home, at remote offices, at company headquarters, or a combination of each, technologies are available that encourage collaboration.
Microsoft 365 for Business is one of the leading providers of efficient working tools, offering a suite of applications that enables your teams to communicate, meet, collaborate, and streamline business processes.
7 Microsoft 365 For Business Productivity Boosting Collaboration Features
As a recognised Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP), Trinity has a wealth of experience in all things Microsoft 365 for Business. Here are our picks of seven Microsoft 365 for Business features the have the most impact on staff efficiency, boosting productivity and collaboration across teams.
1. The Power of Chat
In the world of fast-paced business, chat applications are an agile and often overlooked way to boost productivity. Microsoft Teams instant messaging enables team members to communicate on the fly. Rather than exchanging lengthy emails and phone calls, staff can participate in one-on-one or small group chats throughout the workday.
No matter their location, co-workers can stay connected throughout the day and converse with real-time chat. They can also share screenshots and other files through the chat app for quick reference. Should chat messages contain important information, users can organise and store conversations and files for later reference. The chat app works seamlessly on desktops, laptops and mobile phones.
The video feature with screen sharing allows individuals and groups to conference and remark on shared visual information. This is ideal for impromptu reviews and other meetings throughout the workday. The instant messenger also shows the status of fellow teammates, indicating whether they are away, busy, or in a meeting.
While other communication channels are better for larger or more formal file sharing and screen sharing, the Teams chat tool provides an informal, easy way to connect with teammates. While instant messaging is often an overlooked feature, it is a robust tool that promotes collaboration, team culture, and connectedness in a remote work environment.
2. Efficient Voice Calling
Microsoft Teams offers reliable and feature-rich voice calling. Employees can make traditional person-to-person voice calls as well as video calls with screen sharing if needed. The same features apply to group calls. MS Teams calling also comes with features such as reverse number lookup, do not disturb, voicemail, and delegation.
Essentially, these are all the features you’d expect of a traditional phone system. However, with cloud-based calling, you’re not bound to a physical location to make and receive phone calls. Whether users are remote or in-office, to be on the same cloud-based phone system. Even when a team member moves between working remotely, travelling, and in the office, phone contact remains the same.
Your IT support team can remotely and securely manage voice services, making it an efficient and effective way for your remote workforce to make calls from anywhere using MS Teams, Outlook, or any mobile device.
3. Feature Rich Video Meetings
With Microsoft 365 Teams video meetings, virtual meetings are more accessible and easier than ever to deploy to significantly increase productivity in the virtual workspace. When COVID-19 forced offices to close in 2020, the video meeting feature of Microsoft Teams became a vital tool to conduct coherent and seamless business operations.
Even though the most basic version of Teams offers video conferencing, screen sharing, and audio-only dial-in, the enterprise version is more feature-rich and scalable. For example, you can hold secure video conferences and webinars for up to 1,000 attendees or host virtual events for up to 10,000 participants.
With Teams video conferencing, you can meet with colleagues or customers face to face. Screen sharing allows participants to see your presentation in real-time. If needed, you can switch controls over to another participant. Those who are on the road can dial in from their cell phones using audio-only. A recorded version of a meeting can be saved and made available for those who could not make the live meeting.
As with all Teams tools and applications, remote employees can collaborate just as they would if they shared the same physical office, even if they are on the road using a mobile phone.
4. Access from Anywhere Storage with OneDrive
OneDrive is Microsoft 365’s cloud storage solution that allows you to create and manage a secure resource repository for your employee’s working assets. From shared networks to personal working folders, your staff can access their files from anywhere and from any device.
Most often, your IT team will set up shared folder structures where staff stores working and finalised documents. You have the option to secure files to one user at a time or create file-sharing permissions so that more than one person can work in the file at the same time.
OneDrive’s Files on Demand feature stores documents safely in the cloud, eliminating the worry that you’ll lose your files due to local device failure. Furthermore, those files won’t take up valuable local storage space as users can save private files to their individual personal vault.
Document scanning is another valuable feature that allows staff to scan personal and business documents from your device of choice and save it to OneDrive. Finally, sharing files using OneDrive is easier than ever before. Rather than attaching and sending file copies through email, users can share the link to the file or folder in OneDrive, preserving document integrity and secure version control.
5. Seamless Email and Calendar Integration
It may feel that email has been around since the beginning of time and that there is little improvement to be had, not-so. Our clients have discovered it’s the seamless and intuitive integration of email and calendar functionality between the various Microsoft 365 for Business applications that boost efficiency.
Exchange is still the backend email service that integrates your email, messaging, calendaring, Office suite, and other MS Teams applications. It’s also what allows users to access mail through webmail when using a device that does not have Outlook installed.
The calendar functionality built into Outlook, Exchange and Teams streamlines collaboration by allowing staff to seamlessly schedule internal meetings and meetings with clients.
This powerful calendar feature is more than a way to schedule tasks, events and to-do’s. Staff can integrate the video conferencing into the meeting event, so the link and dial-in number are embedded in the email for one-click access. The calendar is also accessible within MS Teams so that users can reference their meeting schedules without switching applications. Furthermore, co-workers’ status reflects in Teams as well because the calendar synchs to their Teams profile.
6. Keep Organised with Teams Connect
Teams Connect is a fantastic way to promote cross-organisation collaboration. This valuable feature allows a team ‘owner’ to add individuals and groups to a single channel within a team. This can include internal staff as well as third parties or clients.
Users can create a sub-team within a team with private channels, giving members access to targeted resources specific to them. You can bring small or large teams together, keep everyone notified of current events, and ensure everyone has a clear and open channel for communication.
Teams Connect enables your staff to share channels with anyone inside or outside the organisation. Members can chat, collaborate, meet, share, and co-author content in real-time. This goes a long way to keep your teams organised, enabling members to store files, apps, and conversations in one place.
7. Seamless Collaboration with SharePoint
While OneDrive is an online document storage platform that makes sharing and versioning easy, the primary purpose is storage. On the other hand, SharePoint is a more robust collaboration tool for businesses that have multiple teams and individuals working on documents and other digital products at the same time. SharePoint is now an integral part of the Microsoft 365 cloud platform.
SharePoint gives your organisation a workspace complete with calendars, dashboards, tasks, and notifications and keeps files located in a central portal associated with company sites. You can tailor SharePoint sites to your needs, whether that be for individual teams or company-wide libraries.
SharePoint offers added encryption and regulatory security compliance, and your IT teams can customise those security settings. In addition, it includes resources that enable your marketing team to have your website and social media links within the shared space. You can publish documents and files directly to your public website or make them accessible for customers to download. There’s also a handy feature that allows your IT team to quickly set up a local intranet site to match your company’s branding.
Today’s Microsoft 365 for Business is a suite of integrated tools that streamlines all your business communications to promote collaboration and productivity across your organisation. It’s a single solution with multiple features that work seamlessly to keep your teams together no matter where they work.
Microsoft 365 for Business, and especially MS Teams, is the ideal tool to boost business productivity and collaboration. Trinity is a recognised Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP) with a wealth of experience in all things Microsoft 365 for Business, and we can guide you every step of the way.