How Microsoft Teams can help with remote working

  • Photo: Microsoft's Pouneh Kaufman (Photo by Aleenah Ansari | Showcase)

    Microsoft is encouraging employees to use its Teams platform to support remote working. 

    Pouneh Kaufman is a manager in Microsoft Core Services Engineering and Operations (CSEO) and leads the internal deployment of Teams across Microsoft.

    She and her colleagues have used Microsoft Teams to hold a 500-person live global meeting that connected employees from 48 different countries.

    “Face-to-face connection is very valuable, but when that’s not practical, we want them to feel heard and included,” said Sarah Lundy, the business programme manager in CSEO. 

    “We have a set of tips that we share with employees when they need to work remotely in large numbers—things like turn on video to help everyone feel connected, pause to give people on the call a chance to speak, and remind people to mute themselves when they’re not talking to cut down on distracting background noise.”

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    Teams’ cloud recording captures the audio, video, and screen sharing activity for anyone who missed a meeting or needs to refer to what happened, which Kaufman noted was important. 

    She also commented that it’s helpful to send an agenda in advance, and to identify a facilitator for the meeting that can monitor questions and make sure everyone’s voice is heard.

    She said: “When everyone remembers to make a few adjustments, remote meetings can be as effective as being in person.

    “When you make it a Teams Channel meeting, then everything is captured in a single channel conversation for your reference.

    “All the documents, all the chats, and of course, the recording of everything everyone said is in one place, and much of it is searchable.

    “Channel meetings are highly effective for reoccurring meetings, where keeping track of a project over time is crucial.”

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    Lundy suggested using features such as background blur when working from home if you’re unhappy with your backdrop such as a messy room.

    She added that Teams’ live captioning feature can detect what’s said in a meeting and, in real-time, present captions to anyone who wants them.

    Lundy suggested also downloading the Teams mobile app, managing notifications to avoid missing important conversations, and setting one’s status message to include their current location (such as “working from home”) so that people know where they are.

    “There are lots of trips and tricks that we use to help employees get more out of working on Teams,” she concluded. “There’s a lot that they can do to stay effective when they need to work remotely.”

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    Source: Lukas Velush for Microsoft

    About the author

    Niamh is a Sync NI writer with a previous background of working in FinTech and financial crime. She has a special interest in sports and emerging technologies. To connect with Niamh, feel free to send her an email or connect on Twitter.

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