What’s New in Microsoft Teams for 2018?
Celebrating its one-year anniversary, Microsoft reports that over 200,000 organizations have downloaded the Teams App. This chat-based workspace is part of Office 365 and developers consistently add new features to make the Teams App even more useful to businesses of every size across all industries.
Microsoft Teams is a great solution for meetings of any complexity and it’s available for all mobile devices, PCs and Mac computers.
The painless way to hold a meeting
One of the big changes to the way companies do business these days includes the manner in which their employees meet each week. Whether you run a small business or an enterprise organization, you’ve no doubt got lots of people in different departments with a strong need to get together on a regular basis. In fact, companies in every industry can’t function anymore without the ability to meet up and discuss their work. This has become crucial to a project’s success.
You may be building a new robot that can perform delicate medical procedures or you may be building an incredible concept car. But often, businesses are just involved in ordinary day-to-day activities like selling products and providing good customer service. No matter what your job, your teams will be more productive and more efficient when they can collaborate. And that’s one of the strong points of the Teams App.
New changes in the MS Teams App for 2018
One of the more popular features, Chat Message, has been improved to make communicating simpler. Any team member, including guests, can use the instant message feature. This is a great way to say hello to a new team member or ask someone a quick question. It works much the same as other popular instant messaging apps.
Now teams can have guests, as well as external members. These participants will have access to any features that the team leader permits them to have. And, they only have access to teams that they’ve received an invitation from. Microsoft makes it easy for team leaders to control the guest experience.
There are a number of SaaS services that can be integrated for use into the Teams App. Go to the “Add a Tab” page and there you’ll find a list of useful apps that can be added at the top of the channel so that all team members can access them.
For instance, click on “Survey Monkey” to add this app and then instruct team members to complete a survey about a current project or other relevant topics. There are dozens of helpful apps that most users are already familiar with including Hootsuite, Jira, Quizlet, and Zendesk.
Another fun feature just added to MS Teams is the Bot. There are all types of bots available in Teams. Growbot lets the team leader give kudos to a team member who has done an exceptional job. This is a unique way to build camaraderie in any team.
Microsoft has made it easier for users to locate the many helpful features in Teams by adding a link called “Store.” Click on Store to view all the available apps. You can also search for an app by name or category. You may want to find an app that deals with analytics, Adobe, or your calendar. Type a word in the search bar and all the apps related to this topic will show up.
The Teams app allows users to view a personalized version of the app so they can see exactly what tasks have been assigned directly to them. Completed tasks are shown as well.
The instant chat space now has the ability for users to include information from other apps. You may be chatting with a colleague and want to open a project from Visual Studio. Do this by clicking on the “More” dots located on the far right side of the icons at the bottom of the chat box. Once you click on More, this will open up all the apps, tasks, documents, and other items in your customized Teams app. Now you can attach these to your message. This feature is available for the channel or chat space.
The developers at Microsoft understand the importance of creating a space where team members from all over the world can collaborate. Though they originally designed Teams for business, this helpful app has found its way into classrooms and colleges, as well as casual get-togethers. Even individuals have discovered how easy it is to plan a birthday party or anniversary celebration using the Teams app. There’s really no limit to its usefulness.
Are virtual meetings the way of the future?
With so many companies now utilizing the power of remote workers, the Teams App can streamline meetings so it feels like everyone is “in the room.” Whether employees are just down the street or on the other side of the world, they can participate. Virtual meetings have become the preferred way for teams and organizations to get together.
In the past, an organization’s employees would often go to great lengths to attend important meetings. But this is no longer necessary. Most companies have accepted the fact that it’s quicker and less expensive to host virtual meetings. Much research has been completed to learn whether virtual meetings are just as effective as real meetings and the findings show that a virtual meeting can be even more effective than a real one.
Pros and cons of virtual meetings
In real meetings, people often feel uncomfortable. Maybe their chair isn’t set right or they should have dropped by a bathroom on the way to the meeting. When people can meet from their own location, they feel more energized and creative. This results in better meetings where important tasks are accomplished.
Virtual meetings save time and money and they reduce our overall carbon footprint, making them a big plus for the environment. It’s very simple to record a meeting so the contents are saved for later reference. And of course, you don’t have to worry about catching a cold from the guy sitting next to you.