19 May 2020

Using Microsoft Teams Effectively

By Forid Alom, Head of Improvement Analytics

Since Microsoft Teams was made available to the whole NHS through NHS Digital, we have seen a massive upsurge of teams adopting the platform for collaborative working. As we transition into this new era, we face new challenges.  

How do we use the platform effectively to manage communications within and outside of our teams?  

How do we get the balance right between Outlook and Microsoft Teams? 

You will often hear that using Microsoft Teams will help reduce emails. This is not always the case, as it relies on the people using the platform. A reduction of emails is a benefit of using Microsoft Teams, but it requires clear guidelines

Change must come from the whole teamAs the name suggests, Microsoft Teams is for teamwork. It is not as effective if only some of the team change their way of communication and the rest stick with the old way of communicating. This could create chaos and uncertainty.  

Steps to support teams to adopt MS teams  

  1. Teams/Departments need to agree collectively that they need to use Microsoft Teams for sharing information, news, or requesting opinions as opposed to outlook email. This should be required from everyone working in the team.  
  2. Leadership within the team should set an example and make a concerted effort to adopt this new way of agreed working. 
  3. Microsoft Teams should be used for all non-private communication. It is important that every team member also requires this from each other.  
  4. If someone in the team sends emails to others send a gentle reminder of the correct platform for communication.  
  5. Identify a few champions that are on hand to help the team with this transition 
  6. Create a Q&A channel to share learning regarding this transition with the team. This will help those team members who are less tech savvy, and who may need some extra reassurance.  
  7. The team will enquire, when is it appropriate to do you use the chat feature, and when do you use the channel feature?  

Even though chat and channel are they are similar in function, they are designed to support different purposes (Table 1).  

When it becomes clear which function to use when, there are some recommended best practice principles (Table 2), to assist in using the platform effectively, and efficiently.


Some Useful Tips And Tricks When Using Microsoft Teams

 

 

Adopting Microsoft Teams, and using it effectively, does not happen overnight. It takes time, and team effort. Using some of the guidance highlighted in this article, however, will help you optimise your use of the platform to streamline communications, and increase your team’s efficiency.

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