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March 6, 2021

Microsoft Teams Best Practices & Etiquette Tips

There are over 250 million daily users of Microsoft Teams. This just goes to show how widely adopted this application has become and will continue to be. So the degree of seamless collaboration that Microsoft Teams facilitates for so many organizations and individuals, must be maintained with well-thought-out and tested best practices. Let’s take a look at some tips and tricks that give you a smoother Microsoft Teams experience

MS Teams: Where it All Began

Microsoft Teams has been an all-encompassing platform that promotes communication and collaboration through multi-faceted characteristics. It combines the traits of Skype, SharePoint, and OneDrive, OneNote, Planner, Stream, along with in-app tabs that bring together tools like GSuite, MailChimp, Salesforce, and more. With an all-in-one access point, Microsoft Teams helps cut down on a lot of internal sprawl, for example, simplifying the hassle of email threads and attachments.

Screenshot Desktop View of Microsoft Teams Virtual MeetingImage: MS Teams - Virtual Meeting

MS Teams Best Practices You Must Follow

Simply installing Microsoft Teams will not be enough to reap its many benefits. Proper change management strategy and hands-on involvement will go a long way in enhancing your overall experience in MS Teams. Here are some helpful tips on managing your Microsoft Teams experience:

  • Download the desktop MS Teams application: the modern experience of using MS Teams is only reaped via the desktop app. Features like popup windows are not supported by web apps and therefore may offer you a somewhat less user-friendly experience.
  • Personalize your MS Teams notifications: the many notifications from all your teams and channels can be overwhelming. Customize notifications to your requirements, such as making use of the toggle feature to control notifications and ignore redundant topics, people, or channels. Additionally, native notifications are now being made available across operating systems, so you no longer have to switch between apps!
  • Utilize browser profiles: the act of maintaining multiple Microsoft Teams accounts has been frustrating. Luckily, there is a better way to maintain multiple accounts or a multiple-tenant system. Creating browser profiles makes it simpler to navigate between accounts without any confusion using each browser profile as a unique area to login to a single tenant in the browser.

How To Ensure Your Conversations Are Hassle-free?

This is all about managing communication within a team and how to manage the information being circulated and stored. Let’s take a look at how you can get maximum efficiency from your conversations:

  • Using the @mention feature: Only @mention the concerned individuals in group chat, ensuring that individuals are notified when a question or task is directed at them. Do not @mention teams or channels unnecessarily. Avoid doing that to not create unwanted disturbance or diversions to the conversation at hand.
  • Formatted conversations for optimum readability: A pro tip is to make use of subject lines! Subject lines are really helpful from both a visual and search perspective.

ms teams tips - use subject line in channel conversationsImage: MS Teams - New Channel Conversation using Subject Lines.

  • Understand the reaction emojis: thumbs-up is more of an act of acknowledgment, while the other emojis are used for purposes like morale boost.
  • Match your meme, gif, and stickers to your work culture: be conservative in how you use such media files to maintain professionalism. Do not overdo their usage so that actual work inputs are overlooked.
  • Awareness of guest access: all team and channel members must know if a channel or team has external guests added. This allows them to know what kind of information to share or not share on the particular channel or team.
  • Guest renaming: guest user names can default to their email or other abbreviations. Always change it to their first and last name. A little tip to differentiate guests is to add “guest” after their name or include their company name.
  • Forward email to teams for internal discussions: easily share an email on your team and the software drops the email into the files tab while also automatically importing any attachments. Additionally, each channel has an email address that you can share and get emails delivered to directly.

Overall just be a good team owner and explore the manage team settings to set up your team properly.  

ms teams tips - managing a teamImage: MS Teams - Managing Team Settings.

Maintain Channel Productivity Throughout MS Teams

Channels are vital to any team and their smooth functioning is extremely important to the overall performance of Microsoft Teams. Here are some Microsoft Teams tips for managing your channels better:

  • Do not rename channels without informing your team: renaming channels does not rename the corresponding SharePoint file that it is associated with.
  • Channel naming policy: do not make use of acronyms in names as they can create confusion for new members and maintain consistency in channel naming across teams. You can do this by having a governance center that contains suggestive channel names with some descriptions.
  • Limit the number of channels: audit your channel requirements to keep things reasonably organized. Make use of MS Teams templates to help tackle such issues.
  • Reserve one channel for the “fun” stuff: use this channel for all things gifs, memes, and other informal modes of communication. This allows you to have a space for informal discussions while keeping things work-related elsewhere.
  • Use of the General channel: it is not something you can get rid of so make sure you are using it for important things only like team-wide announcements or any other topic unfit for existing channels.
  • Understand the complexity of private channels: have adequate knowledge of areas like team ownership, file storage, etc. to make the most of them. Ensure you are well-versed before creating and using such channels.

Clean & Efficient File Sharing in MS Teams

A communication platform like Microsoft Teams obviously has users sharing a lot of information, including those in files and folders. Thus, to avoid unnecessary sprawl and easy access for all, you can take some simple steps for how you share and store files in MS Teams.

Use links for file sharing to enable easy access, collaboration, and clarity so that every member knows which file is being referenced. Also, maintain file size to under 100GB. You also need to be mindful of how deep you store a file, try and limit file storage to up to three folders deep. This way it is easy to know your way within and around folders. At the same time, it is important to be mindful of the character limit of file-sharing URLs. For more tips on this check out:

ms teams tips - file sharing best practicesImage: MS Teams - Using Links for File Sharing.

We know that all files and folders are stored in SharePoint, so make it your one-stop shop for all data. SharePoint also allows you to keep their respective permissions and control access in case any information is confidential.

Moreover, to avoid chaos around which storage service to use remove extra cloud storage options altogether, and you can make use of OneDrive to sync files for offline access.

Know Your Private Chat Protocols

One would think there isn’t much to do around private chats when it comes to best practices. But you shouldn’t forget that you are maintaining these chats within your workspace platform, so you need to ensure that a certain system is followed throughout. If you are constantly adding new participants to your chat, make sure your chat history is reviewed beforehand. You can manage chat history visibility for new members depending on the relevance and importance of the chat history to the new member. However, if you notice your private chat has too many members, maybe it is time to consider creating a team around that topic.

Begin with keeping your conversations ad hoc. Conversations on a private chat are not necessarily the most work-related conversations. At the same time, you need to avoid side conversations at all costs to maintain transparency in the organization.

We are bound to share files through private chat, so you just need to make sure you alter the link setting to limit visibility or editing rights for other team users. Most importantly, do not assume privacy just because these are private chats. The data is still accessible through IT cells and hence professionalism must be maintained at all costs!

Efficiently Conduct Meetings And Video Calls In Microsoft Teams

Meetings and calls are a highly valued feature of MS Teams, making the entire collaboration experience more meaningful and effective. Therefore, there is no doubt that one needs to conduct them as seamlessly as possible for the best results.

Did you know you can schedule a meeting by choosing to have it within the channel? This way the channel will maintain the meeting appointment and will appear on your calendar as well.

During a meeting, you should use the chat feature in meetings to share resources and information without creating any distractions for attendees. Additionally, these meeting conversations are also retained in the channels.

Many people refrain from turning on video call during meetings but use videos when circumstances and the network permits, it really helps show your attentiveness and active participation. You can stay on mute when you are not speaking to avoid any unwanted distractions or noises.

Microsoft 365: MS Teams application: Live meeting on mobile and feed display on desktopImage: Office 365 - Microsoft Teams - Desktop & Mobile View.

Furthermore, screen sharing is crucial during meetings, to ensure that all attendees have a good experience during the meeting, make sure you zoom in for clarity. This is a simple act that you can do to make it better for those on the other end!

For more Microsoft Teams Best Practices and Etiquette Tips, check out our on-demand webinar with Matt Wade of Jumpto365.

Customize Your Microsoft Teams Practices with Orchestry

The tips and tricks are not a one-size-fits-all system. Customize these tips to best suit your organization and needs. You can also make use of third-party change management facilitators like Orchestry to implement Microsoft Teams tips and maintain the Teams environment.

creating orchestry workspaces with microsoft teams templatesImage: Using Microsoft Teams Templates from Orchestry

Orchestry’s core capabilities equip you with pre-configured Workspace Templates, intelligent Self-Service Provisioning, transparent Microsoft 365 Governance features, and more. All this put together can be a powerful force towards running an efficient Microsoft Teams environment. With Orchestry by your side, you will be utilizing Microsoft Teams to its full potential.

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