Optimize Microsoft Teams with These 3 Simple Rules

Pictured: The Microsoft Teams icon on the menu of an iPhone. Other apps, like Gmail and Signal are visible around it.

If your organization has just switched to Microsoft 365 in an effort to transform digitally, Microsoft Teams will be your new bread and butter for communication.

How your organization uses Microsoft Teams will make or break your organization’s Digital Transformation efforts.

We talk a lot about Digital Transformation here at TechHouse because we think it’s important.

The Benefits and Pitfalls of Digital Transformation

Successfully moving your organization to the Cloud can provide many benefits, some of which are:

A chimp bashing a stick into a tree. Is this how the reader's organization uses Microsoft Tools?
How does your organization use its tools?
  1. Increased Productivity
  2. Easier Collaboration
  3. Improved Security of Organizational Assets
  4. Improved Data Analytics

As a Cloud-based messaging app integrated with the rest of Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams can help with Productivity and Collaboration, but that doesn’t mean that it will.

Microsoft Teams is only a tool, so it is limited by the knowledge of the group using it and especially the person or team responsible for implementing and managing it in an organization.

Does your organization have guidelines for how to use Microsoft Teams or is it a “free-for-all”?

Failure to implement guidelines and best practices can lead to decreased productivity, hindered collaboration, and can even create frustration amongst users and resentment towards not only the technology but management itself.

If this is the case, your organization will fail to digitally transform (and miss out on all the other benefits that brings).

How TechHouse Uses Microsoft Teams

TechHouse has been remote for the last 10 years, and we’ve been using Microsoft Teams since its inception.

Many of our employees live and work in Florida, but we also have employees in other states.

For all intents and purposes, Microsoft Teams is our “office.”

We are able to successfully work together because we follow our own best practices for both internal and external communication.

Our 3 Simple Rules for Microsoft Teams

We follow three rules when communicating internally:

  1. If it’s super urgent, call in Teams.
  2. If it’s urgent, message in Teams.
  3. If it’s not urgent, send an email.

These three rules may seem simple, but they’re important for our business,

For example, if an engineer is working on a project for a client, we don’t want them to be disturbed by a message that isn’t urgent. When that happens, the engineer has to take their time and attention away to address the internal concern, and then it may take them up to 15 minutes just to get their head back in the project after the disturbance.

We use our calendars with intention at TechHouse, and it’s important that we be mindful of others’ schedules.

Organize Contacts by Skill Not Department

Another way we optimize Microsoft Teams is to organize contacts by skill not department.

For example, I created a group that I can message anytime I need help writing a more technical blog, so I don’t have to message the whole Operations team.

You will also want to control the creation of Teams, especially if your organization is larger. If you don’t, you could end up with a proliferation of Teams which will confuse employees and hinder both collaboration and productivity.

Valuing Work Life Balance

We’re also aware at TechHouse, that our employees have lives and responsibilities outside of work.

Work/life balance is important to us, and so we do our best to let Microsoft Teams provide our employees with more flexibility.

With Teams on their phone, employees can still attend meetings in the car, waiting room, or wherever.

A Few Examples:

Our employees who are parents are able to go drop off and pick their kids up from school during the day.

If our employees have a contractor coming over to do work on their house, they can let them in and have Teams in their pocket if something urgent comes up.

Our employees are able to go to dental and medical appointments during the weekday (non-urgent care is harder to get on the weekends.)

Okay, maybe if you have a meeting, you can attend in the waiting room, but I wouldn’t recommend speaking while a hygienist is drilling into your teeth.

Example of the flexibility Microsoft Teams can provide when used correctly
Or sneezing in your mouth… In which case, you should probably find a new dentist

Is your organization providing flexibility or rigidity with Microsoft Teams?

Nobody enjoys being chained to their desk all day

Management of organizations that have always worked in an office building may be uncomfortable with providing this level of flexibility with their employees, but if your new tech guidelines are creating more rigidity, why?

Do you really not trust your employees?

A lack of trust in your employees will build resentment and cause churn which ends up becoming more expensive for the business in the long run.

Trust in your employees, and invest in the technology as well as them, so your organization can thrive sustainably.

Need More Help with Microsoft Teams?

If you have just made the switch to Microsoft Teams and aren’t sure how to use it to maximize your organization’s productivity and streamline collaboration, I hope this article has helped guide you down the right path.

Feel Free to Download this Infographic as a Reminder

If you would like further Teams coaching, customized training, or need help with configuration, feel free to contact us to learn more.