How To Use Microsoft Teams (With Benefits and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published March 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Keeping teams connected, especially when members are working remotely, can help improve a company's communication, build working relationships and increase teams' productivity. Microsoft Teams is one tool organizations can use to keep the members of their organization connected. Learning to use this program successfully can help you maximize its efficiency so you can support the members of your community effectively. In this article, we list the benefits of using the program, describe some of its most useful features, explain how to use Microsoft Teams for various functions and offer tips for using Teams.

Benefits of using Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams can be an incredibly useful resource. Here are some of its benefits:

Connect remote teams

Teams can be a useful tool for teams working remotely or using hybrid work models. Using the program, you can quickly connect with other team members, chat about upcoming projects and deadlines and share files or important information. Team members can opt to receive notifications, set away messages or sync their program with their calender, making it possible to communicate with others, regardless of their location or availability status.

Related: What Is Virtual Collaboration? Definition and Helpful Tips

Host impromptu video calls

With Teams, you can have one-on-one or group calls with anyone within your organization. This can be a helpful feature if you need to call someone quickly to ask a question or request information. You can also use video conferencing to work with team members who might be traveling, working from home or working from another location.

Send direct messages

Teams also allows you to send instant messages to anyone within your organization or to a group of people. You can easily see your message history and receive notifications when someone messages you. Instant messaging can be a useful feature for work teams because it might facilitate faster response times than traditional emailing can.

Related: Collaborative Activities and Strategies To Improve Learning In-Person and Online

Create unique channels

You can create channels within your Teams program to facilitate a specific project, connect team members or offer a social outlet for teams. By creating channels for joint interests, members of an organization can develop their relationships and get to know one another. Channels can also be useful if you need to communicate frequent updates or information to a select group of people.

Improve information accessibility

Teams stores direct messages, channel threads and company communications. Having all messages, files and conversation histories accessible can make it easier for organization members to find information they're looking for quickly. Teams also has a search features, meaning individuals can look for exact words, phrases or people to find specific messages or communications.

Integrate your calendar to prepare for important meetings or events

Another benefit of using Teams is that you can link the program to your Outlook calendar. This lets others know when you're in a meeting, and it can also make it easier to prepare for specific appointments or events. For example, you might choose to meet with a group preceding an important presentation or meeting. Having your calendar linked to your Teams window can make it more simple to coordinate schedules and remember important events.

Features of Microsoft Teams

Here are some of Microsoft Teams' most useful features:

Chat

Microsoft Teams offers an instant messaging feature. Using their chat function, you can message those within your organization instantly. Chat allows you to start a conversation with an individual, create a discussion thread with a group or resume an existing conversation. Chats are searchable, and you can save messages for later if needed.

Teams

Teams and channels are two other useful features of Microsoft Teams. You can create subgroups within your organization. These groups can be temporary or permanent, social or work-related.

Related: 10 Examples of Virtual Teams and Their Benefits

Calling

The program also has calling and videoconferencing capabilities. By searching for individuals within your organization and finding the phone or video camera icon, you can make calls to specific team members. Teams also allows group calling. Calling can make it easy to connect with team members regardless of their location.

Related: Virtual Meetings: A Definitive Guide

How to create a team in Microsoft Teams

If you want to create a team in Microsoft Teams to start using the program, you can do so using the desktop application. Here are some steps you can take:

1. Ensure you're an admin

In order to create a new team within the program, make sure you're an administrator for your organization. Being an administrator gives you access to the admin center, where you can also add and remove team members, change the title of your team and adjust the privacy settings for your teams. If you create a private team, the team owners control who can enter the channel. For public or org-wide teams, generally anyone within the organization can join.

2. Use the desktop client

To create a team, you have to be on the desktop version of your application. Make sure Teams is downloaded on your computer and that you have the most updated version of the program. Log in to ensure you can use your admin privileges.

3. Create a team

From within the desktop window, on the left-hand side, select "Teams." At the bottom of this list, choose "Join or create a team." Select "Create a new team."

4. Invite people to join your team

Once you've created your group, you can invite people to join. The program allows you to add individuals, groups or contact lists. You can view those within the team by choosing the "Members" tab within the team's window.

5. Choose a team owner

From within the team you created, you can assign an owner or multiple owners. These individuals can manage the team settings and add or delete new members. To do this, locate the team you created and select "More options." Next, select "Manage team." Go to the "Members" tab and find the individuals you want to make team owners. Under "Role," select "Owner."

How to add channels in Microsoft Teams

Within your larger team, you can create specific channels for groups, projects or others you want to connect with easily. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Find your main team page

Find the parent team you created and select "More options." Next, choose "Add channel." Alternatively, you can select "Manage team" and create channels from within the "Channels" tab.

2. Name your channel

Choose a name for your channel that team members can recognize. Try to pick a descriptive name that lets others know what to expect from the channel's content. As you add more channels, this can make it easier to stay organized and connected effectively.

3. Edit your channels

Once you've created your channel, you can perform functions that make it as useful as possible for your purposes. For example, you can favorite the channel for the entire group, ensuring they see updates and new shares. You can also keep specific tabs or messages pinned, for ease of finding, and link third-party apps if they're helpful for your needs.

Tips to help you learn how to use Microsoft Teams

Here are some additional tips that can ensure you maximize your success using Microsoft Teams:

Learn shortcuts

You can use keyboard shortcuts to access features and perform select functions quickly within the program. Here's a short list of some helpful shortcuts:

  • "Ctrl" + "Shift" + "O": This command turns off your camera.

  • "Ctrl" + "Shift" + "M": This shortcut mutes you within a video call.

  • "Ctrl" + "6": Holding these keys at the same time takes you to your files.

  • "Ctrl" + "E": This shortcut opens the search bar, allowing you to look for select words, files, conversations or people.

Mute your notifications

You can silence your notifications if you need to focus or if you aren't working. To do this, find your profile picture in the upper-right-hand corner of your screen. Choose "Notifications." From here, you can edit your notification settings to meet your preferences.

Save messages

If you want to save a message to make it easier to find later, hover over the message until the ellipses symbol "..." appears. Click the "..." and then select "Save this message." To view your saved messages, use the search box and type "/Saved." After pressing "Enter" on your keyboard, you can see the saved messages on the left side of your screen. To unsave the message, simply select the bookmark icon from the top-right corner of your saved message.

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