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How to Use Microsoft Teams to be “Work-From-Home” Ready?

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1.    Getting Started: Set Your Environment

First suggestion that I would make, if possible, try to define an appropriate workspace for yourself. You want a place where it can be quiet, a place where you can think so something like the kitchen table, dining room table; in some cases that may be the only option that you have. But if you can try to dedicate some workspace inside your home where you can really focus on the work part, and treat that just like you would treat that as your office space inside the company if you're going to work on a regular basis.


Next, dress the part. There are a lot of temptations to fall into some bad habits and I don't want you to do that. For myself, it's something that I've done to continue the feeling of going to work and that feeling of going to work it means dress the part: shower and shave. (I'm wearing my logo golf shirt like we all wear at TMC). Try to put yourself in that mindset of “I'm at work. I'm not at home” just kind of doing things the way I would do freeform.

With that, if you can try to set a schedule for yourself, and not literally perhaps, that mentally clock into work at the beginning of the day focus on work for the appropriate period of time and then clock out at the end of the day. One of the dangers of working from home is that boundary between work and home life gets either grade a little bit or dissolved completely. So, if you can clock in and clock out mentally you can maintain that separation between my work life and my home life.

This next piece is really key especially for you that are kind of forced into this work remote mode right now without a lot of planning a lot of thought your business for whatever reason has told you to go home and work from home. That was going to require all of us to be a little more patient than we normally would in terms of our interactions with our colleagues, the promptness that we might have expected, and replies. When you work side-by-side in two offices it's real easy to stick your head around the corner and say, ”Hey Brett, can you help me out with this real quick?” I may not be able to get that same immediacy of response though when we're working remotely. So you'll see inside team don't simply reach out to Brett with the chat that says “Hey, you got a minute and I want to talk about…” whatever my subject might be and I really should stop saying, “Got a minute?” because it should really be “Do you have five minutes? “Do you have ten minutes?” I need to be more accurate in how much time I'm going to request and if he pushes back and says, “No I need you to give me half an hour, I'm trying to finish something up.” That's what it's going to be, so be patient with one another, be respectful to one another, and you'll find that that empathy with one another goes a long way and smoothing out some of the kinks that we're all going to run into as we go through this transition.

Last you are working from home, so that means you're working in isolation but don't allow yourself to feel like you're now isolated. The best way to do that is to maintain or even increase your kind of regular communication habits and behaviors and you'll see as we go through the demo how Microsoft Teams can really help you do that on a variety of different levels.

 

2.    Microsoft Teams on a Browser 

When you access Microsoft Teams, you're going to start by going into your Microsoft 365 (formally known as Office 365) environment. So I'm logged in, I'm authenticated as part of this domain, I've got my resources, I've got my access, etc. and Microsoft Teams will be just one more link for me inside that list of apps on my office 365 homepage.

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I'll just show you briefly here in the browser, the kind of basic look and feel, of the Teams’ unit itself and then we'll dive deeper into this in just a moment because I want to work there from the desktop version of Microsoft Teams. But again, to participate all I need is a device that can support browser and access to the Internet, and I will always be able to connect to my teammates whatever we’re going to be working on.

 

3.    Microsoft Teams Mobile App

In addition to that right you can also pull up Teams with your own phone; get logged in and now I've got my team's interface wherever I need to go. So, the availability of Teams across all these different platforms can, as I mentioned a while ago, also mean you are always available. So, you may want to choose to set some times that you don't use or don't look at the phone version of it or something, but that's going to be something available. Depending on the activity that you're participating in that may be the best tool to use.

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4.    Microsoft Teams Desktop App

The actual desktop app for Microsoft Teams has the same exact feel as the Browser and Mobile App version because we want to minimize learning as you transition from one device to another, one operating system to another. Teams will always look and feel the same for you so that learning curve try to keep that as shallow as we can. The first thing that I want to talk about because it's the question that most people ask immediately and it's not always real obvious where to find this: “Where are my settings?” and it is going to be on top right of your screen (see image below).

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I'm logged in so I can see my photo. If I click on my photo, then I'll get my controls for how I want to work with Teams itself. At the moment, my status is set to in a meeting that will tie in if I have activities in my calendar either in my Teams calendar or in my Outlook calendar because I'm linked together with the same email address. I'm all part of the same Azure Active Directory in background then ok I can have that cross-platform cross program visibility. Teams knows based on my Outlook calendar what my status is and such that status available automatically. If I need to though I can change my status put a message up I’m in a meeting available whatever it might be (using the second option on the drop down menu “Set Status Message.”

5.    Where is the Setting on Microsoft 365 Teams?

What I'm really looking for here of course is my settings and the settings that most people will want to find immediately are going to be down here under the devices.

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This (shown below) is where you assign which camera do I want to use, this is where you assigned what microphone, what speakers you want to use, etc. You can see my camera there is previewing for me what it's going to look like with the camera that I have selected now as I said I've been doing work from home for about eight years now and I've invested in some good equipment I have a good high-definition webcam has this stereo microphone.

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For those that are making the transition very rapidly to working from home, you won't have that luxury you're going to need to use the devices that you currently have available to yourself. My suggestion here would be test your different devices you may discover that you have. For example, your best camera is actually on your cell phone and I may want to use the cell phone for doing my video calls and the microphone on my laptop might be very good and my colleagues can hear me just fine because of that good a noise canceling (20:50)

 

6.       Navigating Different Teams on Microsoft Teams

Now, you'll notice next to my picture up there I've got another drop-down I actually belong to multiple teams I've got different logins so right now I'm logged in as TMC but I'm also or my wife's the Hawaii plant gifts team and I can simply log in log out move from one group to another as I need to.

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Let's go through these different icons over here on the left-hand side panel quickly. I want to talk about Activity, this is very much as I understand it (I'm not a member of Facebook), but this is kind of like my Facebook feed, and it's going to just show me everything that's going on tied to a specific team or a specific conversation.

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I can navigate my way through that list you'll see that it's a chat function you can embed images within it. The controls across the bottom will also do things like allow me to add in files I can share files through this tool.

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Once those have been shared then we'll be able to work on to collaborate with them together you I can switch from the feed view to the my activity view and now I take a very personalized view of this this is everything that I have contributed into teams different conversations different chats different channels whatever it might be over time all that's based upon my chat history now I have a chat history panel on the left hand side that shows me all of my ongoing conversations.

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To create a new chat, I can simply use the little icon up next to the search command search. See below:

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The search command search bar could let me look through all my open chat boxes at home or in process or even things that have been archived. For example, I want to look for a particular word or phrase or something such as “Webinar”.

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We've been talking a lot about the webinar lately, of course, so now I can search through and navigate and find my way down into the Team's section itself. And this is where we start to add some differences between something like an instant messenger where all I'm doing is chatting with people and keeping that running total of the chat.

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Team's allow me to group together people. then once I group them together into that Team, we can work together share documents, have phone calls and video calls whatever we might need in one of your activities.

 

7.       How to Create a “Team” in Microsoft 365 Teams

First thing you'll need to do is create the Team, and I would recommend you do this as early as you get an opportunity just so you and your colleagues can start to practice with this. I can either build a team from scratch and that's going to take me through step by step everything I need to do or if I have existing groups at office 365 or an existing team maybe I had a project team that worked on a project a couple months ago we're going to start a new project I could use that existing 365 team as the starting point for my new project.

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Private Microsoft Teams

When you create a new Team, you can either create a private team where the participants need to be invited to join. I would typically organize something that was maybe job specific, project specific, task specific things like that would typically be set for private.

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For this example, I will keep it “Private,” and it's like might be the people that I want. I'll give it a name and some little description.

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Now I need to go in and start adding the members that I want to include in that so I will add my boss Brett, which I want to make sure he is added. And Matt, my coworker, I want to make sure that he gets added as well. Microsoft 365 Teams verifies that they're valid addresses. See below:

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Public Microsoft Teams

Public might be something that I'm doing across the entire organization where I want everybody to join everybody to participate and when I set my new team to “Public,” that new team will be visible over here on all of my colleagues teams and they can choose to join themselves.

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8.       Microsoft 365 Teams Calendar/Outlook

Continuing my way down the list of tabs along the left-hand side, the “Calendar” allows me to see both, the calendar for myself and all the activity that I have set up inside of Teams. Pictured below, you are viewing my life calendar for the week, but it also allows me to share things from something like Outlook. So if I have appointments, meetings, or other things scheduled in my Outlook unit, they relate just to me of no bearing on anybody else inside the Teams so I can still see that here. My colleagues can see that if they're trying to schedule me for something, they'll have visibility into my calendar, and I'll see when I've got time to book that particular meeting.

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How to Create a New Meeting on Microsoft Teams

If I need to schedule a new meeting I can do that up in the top right corner (highlighted in picture below).

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I'll just give it a title, add my required attendees, set my start, and end times by default. When we set up meetings in the Team's environment, they're set to not repeat, but if you want to set up recurring meeting (so daily check-in a weekly check-in monthly whatever) you can set those as recurring up as well.

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Add in channels if you want to include any of your existing channels so I can go into my “Webinar” on my Teams, say I want the “General” added; that would link this meeting to that channel. It shows up in the activity for it, members of the meeting would have access to the documents etc.

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I can add a location, but everything's going to be done remote now. So, I don't have to put anything in the location section. Finally, I can add in details of the meeting in the note box, topics that need to be discussed, or many attachments or things that I might want to include for that meeting.

 

9.    "Call” section in Microsoft Teams

The “Call” section is a pretty good telephone system buried inside of teams, and I can make direct dial calls to any of my colleagues. I can see their status, who's available, who's not available, either do a phone call, do a video call. When we communicate with our colleagues the more immediacy that we can include within that contact, the more meaningful it will be the more it'll stick. So, I would encourage you to use the call function, use the video call function, if that's available. It really will help to break down some of the distance that you might be feeling right now as we're all working remotely and don't have that ability to just kind of walk my way down to the hall and put my head in someone's office.

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10.       “Files” Tab in Microsoft Teams

The files tab is everything that has been shared, uploaded, download and all the different documents that we have and also what location they're being pulled from. We're trying to turn this into a collaboration tool and the best way to do that is to just be able to share those different tools out.

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Finally the little ellipsis button. This is all the “mores,” and I can add in a variety of Microsoft tools, some of them part of the Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365) experience already; whether that's OneNote, stream function, a wiki function that I want to add.

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And there is a “true well” of Microsoft developed and third-party developed applications and tools and programs that all work with or interact with Teams. Shown below:

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So depending on what activities you what you're looking for, for example, if I'm working in the sales department, maybe I need it to connect to my Dynamics 365, or if I need a different Live Chat, or maybe use Zendesk for your ticketing system and customer support. All these pieces have some interaction with and some capabilities with Teams; some of them will be free and some of them will be subscription. All the kind of typical Microsoft app source activities would apply in that regard. If you need a way to extend or connect to something you're currently using, check the app source it's a great resource for you then we'll have lots of lots of additional capabilities there for you.

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Original video here

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