Microsoft Teams: Tricks You Don’t Know But Should

As remote work became mainstream last year, many of us found ourselves leveraging collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams more than ever before.

In fact, in just six months last year, daily active users of Teams jumped more than 50 percent to 115 million people worldwide. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella attributed this rise to the increase in remote work and the need for collaboration tools to support this shift.

Microsoft Teams and other collaboration tools allow users — typically coworkers — to easily chat, share files and collaborate on documents. They also enable organizations to quickly and easily share company-wide news and provide a platform for teams to gather and share their work.

But are you using tools like Teams to their full potential? Here are a few tricks you might not know but definitely should if you want to maximize your collaborative capabilities:

Leverage search — The search functionality in Teams is powerful, allowing you to quickly find the pieces of conversations or critical files you are looking for. This functionality is essential if you leverage Teams for a lot of your regular conversations or file storage.

Know your shortcuts – The search bar at the top of Teams also does more than just search. Users can also input commands, which start with a “/” and allow you to jump to recently used files, calls, unread messages, and more. Microsoft has compiled a great cheat sheet of Teams commands here.

Teams also has several keyboard shortcuts that allow users to jump quickly to where they want to go. For instance, “Command+E” will route you to search, and “Command+N” will start a new chat. To see a full list of keyboard shortcuts, check out this list.

Tag to engage — Want to notify a person that it is their turn to engage in a conversation or process? Tagging is the way to go. Using the “@” symbol and typing the person or channel’s name, Teams will push a notification to those associated users to check-in. To take this to the next level, you can create a “tag” group within a channel to quickly alert a particular set of people to tune into the conversation, perhaps to pick up where you left off on a task or submit a project for approvals.

Document collaboration — Sharing a Word Document, Excel file, or PowerPoint presentation in Teams allows you to do much more than just send it to a coworker. Once shared in a one-to-one chat or Team channel, associated users can each open the file and collaborate with updates shared in real-time for version control. Hitting the “Open in Desktop App” button allows you to continue this collaboration in the native app.

Changing your availability — While there are certainly perks to being “always on,” there are also benefits to changing your availability. By marking your status as “busy” or “do not disturb,” a user can better signal to others when they need to focus and when they can connect.

Keep it fun — Work doesn’t have to be all serious. Teams incorporates many features, such as emojis or gifs, to allow users to mix up their conversations or share a joke. You can select these features by choosing the icons below the “Type a new message” box or hovering over a colleague’s comment until an emoji option appears.

Microsoft Teams is a great tool to help small and medium organizations collaborate in a virtual world. While all these tips and tricks will help make collaboration quicker or more efficient, it ultimately comes down to the people and teams involved in driving tasks forward.