Microsoft Teams was launched in 2016 as part of the Microsoft 365 family of applications. This platform was designed to facilitate collaborations between individuals and groups. Teams provides a means of connecting with others via video, voice, chat boxes, and file sharing. There are currently more than 250 million Teams users around the globe who rely on this platform for work, personal, or educational use.

In the time since it was launched, Microsoft has regularly updated Teams to better meet the needs of its ever-growing user base. During the COVID-19 pandemic, as many work environments transitioned to the online format, there was a sharp increase in the need for effective and reliable collaboration tools that could keep everyone connected. That’s why many new Teams features were added in 2020 and 2021, sometimes on a weekly or even daily basis.

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Benefits of Working with Teams

More than ever, the ability to meet remotely is hugely important for organizations around the globe. With the help of platforms like Teams, which facilitate remote meetings and collaborative endeavors, it’s now possible for teachers to connect with students, for team members at companies to touch base about projects, and for those around the world to find ways to stay connected with family and friends. Microsoft Teams provides users with many helpful options to facilitate collaborative endeavors of all forms and varieties.

Here are just a few of the benefits of working with Teams:

  • It’s easy to implement. Similar to other Microsoft products, Teams was designed to be user-friendly and easy to learn. 
  • It increases work productivity. Because Teams provides a single interface through which all communications and documents can be managed, it saves users the time and hassle of having to search for information. 
  • It’s affordable. If your company already purchased a Microsoft 365 license, then it’s free for employees to use Teams. In addition, for those who don’t need advanced functions, there is also a free version of Teams available for general use.
  • It’s possible to meet with one other person in a Teams Channel or connect with 10,000 others using this versatile app.
  • Because Teams stores chats, files, and transcriptions of each meeting, those who were unable to attend or had to step out can retrieve anything they missed after the session has concluded.

Microsoft Teams Features

Teams is most commonly used for video meetings, but there are many other features it offers as well:

  • Channels. Teams provides users with the option to collaborate through many different channels. These can be standard channels that are public and available to anyone wishing to join, as well as private and devoted to a particular activity or topic. In private channels, the owner of the channel can decide whether to allow new users to join the team.
  • Bots. Teams provides an array of bots for automating tasks. T-Bot can field questions pertaining to Teams, and Polly Bot is able to create polls for coworkers designed to offer automated feedback.
  • Meetings. Up to 250 people can video conference in Teams in any given session. Because of the popularity of this app, Microsoft is determined to increase this limit. These meetings can be created on an as-needed basis, and can also be scheduled on a channel’s calendar.
  • Calling. Most users don’t realize that it’s possible to place outgoing phone calls via Teams. This option provides a reliable connection through which remote users can stay connected.
  • Chat. There are two kinds of chat options available in Teams: one-on-one and group chat. In addition, messaging features like emojis and priority flagging are available in Teams chats, which help meeting attendees to remain engaged and participating. Those attending Teams meetings can also share files and links directly with one another during a chat session.
  • Integrations. Recently, Teams began to allow third-party integrations with providers such as Asana, Polly, ZenDesk, and CalendarHero. These apps are available to users in live meetings, on their calendars, and in their channels. In addition to third-party integrations, Teams also integrates with the Microsoft 365 suite of apps. For example, content from Excel, Word, OneNote, and PowerPoint can be managed within Teams channels. In addition, Teams’ calendaring is connected with Outlook.
  • Data governance. Those who use Teams for work conversations can rest assured that data governance is occurring. Nearly all the data and metadata in Teams channels is recorded and accessible with Microsoft’s eDiscovery tools, thus ensuring that legal and regulatory constraints are followed.
  • Tabs. When using Teams, it’s easy to navigate the content of your channel. This app has three default tabs: Files, Wiki, and Posts. The Files tab stores the documents that were shared with those in your channel; the Wiki tab contains a smart text editor with which users can create and edit notes, as well as chat; the Posts tab stores all chats that occurred within a channel. In addition, users can add customized tabs to these three to tailor their Teams experience to their professional needs.
  • Storage. All Teams channels have their own file storage. Those who are searching for a specific file need not waste time searching through hundreds of saved files. Instead, they can use the Files tab to locate stored files. In addition, if a channel is deleted, its content remains stored in a SharePoint site, which means its content is not lost.

Whether you use Teams for class meetings, work meetings, or to connect with friends around the country, Microsoft Teams provides a convenient, reliable platform.

Start Learning Microsoft Office with Hands-On Classes

Proficiency in Microsoft Office can open professional doors across industries, as well as lead to upward career mobility. A great way to begin learning about Microsoft Office is to sign up for one of Noble Desktop’s Microsoft Office courses. These small group classes are offered in-person in Manhattan, as well as in the live online format. For students and professionals on the go, there are also in-person and live online Microsoft Office courses available through Noble Desktop or one of its affiliate schools. A variety of course options are offered, ranging in duration from three hours to three days and costing between $219 and $1,785. You can also browse in-person Microsoft Office classes in a city near you.