Working from home? This is how Microsoft Teams works

Many companies work with Microsoft: a Word doc for that article on the intranet, make that presentation in PowerPoint and send each other a message via Skype. Where many companies used to use Slack or Trello in addition to their work, Microsoft Teams is now increasingly used. This is what it means and what it will help you in collaborating with your colleagues.

Microsoft Teams is the Microsoft answer to remote working. In short, it is a kind of virtual meeting room where colleagues can consult, make video calls and more. It is possible to create groups, so that you can, for example, consult with the entire Accounting department, or only with the team that deals with the payment of salaries. An Excel with all employees and salaries is easily shared via Microsoft Teams, so that people receive fewer emails in their mailbox and less time is spent on all the unwritten rules that come with email correspondence.

Microsoft Teams: more than a chat program

Microsoft Teams is not a 'chat program' where you can send documents: it is a collaboration tool. Just like Google documents, Microsoft's documents can be opened in the browser and edited in real time by all people the document has been shared with (and who have editing rights). So there is no need to continuously send files and versions back and forth, because everyone always has the most recent version at hand. That in turn saves questions about versions and the responsibility someone must bear to keep track of all those versions and send them out.

It therefore stimulates working from home enormously and prevents silo formation. After all, there is more collaboration because it is easier to work with several people at the same time in one document. It's easy to work from home because you can find everything you need in most office jobs in Teams. You can simply call, video call, chat, share documents, view your calendar, view notifications and activity, and add personal apps.

Connectors

In addition, connections can be made with, for example, Mailchimp to send newsletters, or Salesforce, to keep track of contracts and customers. These connections, called connectors, can receive information from the Microsoft ecosystem. Dozens of these integrations are now possible and it is therefore not surprising that Microsoft Teams is not always free. In principle, it is free, but if you also want to use more Office 365 products, it quickly increases to a monthly price ranging from 6 to 12 euros per month.

However, if you don't need that much, you can probably get a lot out of Microsoft Teams with a free account: you can use it for free for up to 300 people, you can send unlimited messages and do searches, and even video calling costs you nothing. If you want to save something, there is 10GB storage per team.

You may be thinking now: that Microsoft Teams is only for businesses. That's not necessary. You can also use it in groups of friends or large families to, for example, share photos and receipts during a trip. However, participants must have a Microsoft account for this. That's free, but can mean yet another password to remember and another account to keep an eye on. If you want to use Microsoft Teams for your self-employed, for example, you will notice that you are not getting what you need out of it. As the name suggests, it is really a hub for teams, so groups of people.

Microsoft Outlook

The only thing we still miss within teams is the integration of Outlook. Now, on the one hand, Teams is intended to ensure that you spend less time in Outlook, but in the end - no matter how well Teams is used - e-mails will always continue to arrive from, for example, external parties and private individuals. So you still have to keep that good old Outlook, although the web browser variant would not be out of place within Teams.

What also makes Teams interesting for companies is that it also comes with the security that they are used to from Microsoft. It has two-factor authentication and data is encrypted, just like the rest of Office 365. As a matter of fact, Skype will increasingly fade into the background as Microsoft wants everyone to move to Teams, which is a much more integrated solution. Don't worry, companies have until July 31, 2021 before they have to switch to Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams certainly has a reasonable monopoly on collaboration for large companies, although there is certainly an opportunity beyond that. Many people already use Slack, Teams' biggest competitor. Curious about the difference between Microsoft Teams and Slack? Here we compare the two collaboration tools.

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