Productivity Challenges in Today’s Virtual Environment
Staying focused and productive can be a challenge in the modern workplace. Interruptions like constant chat conversations and notifications hinder employees from making the most of their time on the clock. These distractions can also cause projects to be delayed or incomplete. They can disrupt routines that help employees move through projects sequentially and focus deeply on a given task. As enterprises evaluate how to minimize productivity obstacles, it is important that the solutions they provide facilitate real-time collaboration. This way, employees can seamlessly engage with each other and their customers.
A recent report from Gartner found that high levels of fatigue caused by virtual overload decreased performance by up to 33%. It’s surprising to learn that many of the digital tools designed to assist with remote communication and collaboration can decrease productivity. Other tools, like Microsoft Teams, can be a tremendous asset for companies that want to drive productivity, help employees minimize distractions, and maximize efficiency. Let’s take a look at the ways that Microsoft Teams can optimize productivity in virtual work environments.
Enable Remote Working
Driving productivity through Microsoft Teams starts with giving users access to a tool they can customize. Built-in apps, integrations, and customizations in Teams give employees more autonomy. With more autonomy, employees can recreate the approaches that they had in the office while still maximizing the ease and flexibility of Teams.
One productivity benefit employees gain by personalizing Microsoft Teams to their needs is allocating time for deep, focused work. Employees can create boundaries for themselves as they navigate back-to-back meetings and company chat threads. For example, Microsoft Teams gives employees control of their schedules so that they can devote time to complex tasks and problem-solve issues without distractions. For teams and companies to thrive, employees need resources like Microsoft Teams that enable the essential components of the job while granting greater autonomy. Productivity will naturally increase as employees gain greater control over the way they work.
Utilize Microsoft Teams Integrations
One way for companies and employees to customize their Teams platform is through application integrations. With more than 200 bots and apps for users to choose from, workers can enhance their Teams experience through tools like Forms, Communities, and PowerBi. Enterprises can also boost productivity and streamline tasks with top-rated project management apps. Using these tools, team members can discuss and view to-do lists right within the Teams platform. Other apps make finding a time to connect with colleagues faster and easier by searching calendars for availability.
Remote employees do not have the opportunity for in-person collaboration, so they have to rely on digital tools for the bulk of their communication. Like we mentioned earlier, digital tools can introduce distraction through constant notifications. With Teams, employees can manage notifications and pop-ups that might typically pull their concentration away from a project or meeting. To do this, users can simply pause Outlook notifications for a set time to ensure their attention isn’t diverted. Teams users can also adjust their availability status to indicate to team members when they can connect.
Call, Chat, and Meet in One Place
While Teams is well known as a solution to chat and meet with your fellow coworkers, Teams can also be your phone system and contact center. Through Direct Routing and Operator Connect, Microsoft Partners add voice support with SIP trunking, which is basically a VoIP phone system that lives in the cloud. This is done via a partner solution like Hoot Connect for Microsoft Teams.
That lets you make all your calls from Teams, even if the person you’re calling is not a Teams user. All modes of communication live in one place, making it easier to collaborate with anyone, anywhere at the click of a button.
Power Employee Collaboration
Microsoft Teams is one of the best collaboration tools for companies with workers in different locations. Users can leverage key Teams functions to enable real-time communications capabilities such as collaboratively editing a document or gathering ideas during a brainstorm. These capabilities ensure employees have access to the latest updates, documents, or meeting times regardless of where they are working. This high level of information sharing is a powerful driver of productivity of in-person and remote teams.
Hold More Effective Meetings
Teams can help make meetings more effective and productive for groups with in-person and remote employees. Specifically, Teams lets users integrate more than one communication and collaboration tool into a meeting. This gives participants several ways to engage—such as through video or chat functions. Groups also gain the ability to integrate collaboration features such as presenting or real-time file sharing during meetings.
Employees can also easily record, share, and transcribe calls to help support quick and convenient information distribution. For example, companies that use meeting applications like Cisco Webex or Hoot Meetings can integrate these tools into their platform. This way, they can stick with their preferred software while getting the added benefits of Teams’ functionality.
Hoot Meetings supports a better online meeting experience and meets the requirements of any team concerned with secure and reliable collaboration. In addition, Hoot Connect Gateway lets users join a Microsoft Teams meeting from any device, OS, browser, or third-party app.
Master Document Management
Document management and version control has long been a struggle for office workers. With Teams, users can share and edit files directly through the platform. As a result, workers gain greater visibility into the status of a document. With this visibility, they can mitigate version control issues, avoid duplicating efforts, and put an end to overlooking teammates’ edits.
Employees can also manage and collaborate on files in different teams they belong to within the Microsoft Teams app. Users can add internal and external email domains to these teams and sync files with cloud-based OneDrive to enable real-time collaboration.
Teams is available in several Microsoft Office packages, which include different apps and features to meet unique needs. To find the best package for you and access discounts, talk to Intrado about a license advisory service.
Create and Use Discussion Channels for Internal Communication
One of the broader challenges of digital communication is being able to segment conversations or create team-specific channels. Creating individual communication channels makes it easier to locate specific information and tune in or out to different discussions when needed.
Microsoft Teams comes with built-in capabilities that give employees a way to prioritize their work and prevent information overload. In addition to giving large groups a place for discussion, Teams makes it possible for smaller groups to create their own channels so that employees can have separate conversations within larger groups. With these focused channels, employees can hone in on the clients, subtopics, and projects that are most relevant to them.
Teach Employees About Teams
While Teams can do a lot to improve employee collaboration, the product is only useful if your coworkers know how to use it. Many Teams features are quite intuitive, but it may help to offer training videos and articles to answer any user questions.
Intrado adds an e-learning portal to Teams, which houses more than 4,000 training resources. Because it’s accessible natively in the Teams app, Teams effectively becomes an instructor to train users on how to get the most benefit from Teams itself.
Improve Company Culture
Building and sustaining a culture of remote or hybrid employees can be challenging for enterprises, especially those that have recently shifted to one of these models. Maintaining employee engagement and satisfaction are key to helping workers stay connected to the company’s mission and vision. And when employees are connected to the company’s mission and vision, they are more productive.
Using Microsoft Teams, enterprises give employees the power to customize tools and workflows. These elements create a strong company culture that prioritizes employee preference and keeps virtual employees engaged.
Foster Employee Engagement
With unified communications, it can be hard to gauge how engaged or satisfied employees are with their work or the company. Engagement and satisfaction influence company culture, which can ultimately impact the company’s success. Thankfully, Teams integrates with tools such as SurveyMonkey, which employers can use to quickly check the pulse of employee satisfaction using a short poll. Through these surveys, managers can learn employees’ perspectives and implement changes to ensure their voices are heard.
Businesses can also take advantage of apps that ease some of the frustrations workers may encounter with remote teams. Apps like Microsoft Stream, where workers can record and send short videos to one another, allow workers to exchange tips and tricks so that they feel supported and set up for success. Power Virtual Agents is another app that lets enterprises create chatbots that can answer common or repetitive questions. By shortening the response time and quickly addressing needs, enterprise leaders can help foster engagement while also keeping productivity high.
Virtual Team Building
In addition to keeping employees engaged and invested in the company, Teams offers a number of ways for leaders and managers to facilitate team building. Video capabilities are ideal for informal meet and greets with new employees, customers, or clients. Integrating platforms like Miro provides a collaborative whiteboard option that groups can use for team-building sessions or brainstorms.
Launch Your Future of Work
As more companies adopt remote and hybrid work environments, productivity should remain top of mind. Employers can utilize Microsoft Teams’ features, apps, and integrations to overcome common productivity challenges like constant chat conversations or managing document version control. These tools provide employees with the resources they need to effectively execute their responsibilities. And employers will pave the way for employees to reduce distractions, collaborate effectively, and stay engaged with the company.
To learn about how Microsoft Teams can be an asset on your productivity journey, check out our website.