How to stop your employees wasting 32 days a year

 In Digital transformation, Software, Tools We Use

How many applications do your employees use, on a typical day?

According to research by RingCentral, most employees switch between 10 applications every hour. It may only take a few moments to move from one application to the next, but all of those lost seconds add up!

Crunch the numbers, and your employees could be spending one hour every single day, simply switching between applications – that’s 32 days of lost productivity per employee, per year!

Want to reclaim all of this lost productivity? In this article, we’ll show you how to reduce application switching, by replacing 5 popular applications with a single Microsoft Teams account.

At Blackbird IT we don’t believe that simply replacing an application with an equivalent product is enough, so along the way we’ll also be sharing tips, integrations and automated workflows, to ensure your new Microsoft Teams account performs better than all 5 of the applications that it’s replacing.

Video conferencing: A complete online meeting platform

Your typical employee spends over 5 hours in meetings every week and wastes 12% of this time struggling with troublesome technology. By ensuring your employees have access to reliable, intuitive and user-friendly video conferencing software, you can reclaim hours of lost productivity every single week. This is the way many of us do work today and the ability to quickly schedule a meeting that is integrated with email and calendar provides a great user experience.

Using Microsoft Teams, you can schedule a video conference with any contact:

  • Log into Microsoft Teams.
  • In the left-hand menu, select “Calendar.”
  • Select “New meeting.”
  • Give your meeting a title.
  • Enter the email addresses of everyone who needs to attend this meeting.
  • Enter the date and time when this meeting should take place, and then click “Save.”

All attendees will now receive an email invitation, with all the information they need to log into this meeting.

Alternatively, if you’re midway through an instant messaging conversation when you realise this conversation would be much easier over video, then you can transform a text-based conversation into a video call.

To launch a video conference within the current context, select the “Meet” button.

IMAGE microsoft-teams-meet-now-button

 

Sometimes, you may need to launch a meeting outside of the current conversation, or perhaps your “guest list” spans multiple teams or channels.

You can launch a meeting now, and then add participants once the video call is up and running:

  • In Microsoft Teams’ left-hand menu, select “Calendar.”
  • Click the “Meet Now” button.
  • Select “Join Now.”
  • You can now add participants using the right-hand panel.

 

IMAGE teams-add-participants

File Manager: Host, manage and share any document

 Do you need manager approval for your PowerPoint presentation? Or perhaps you want to distribute notes from this morning’s standup meeting?

Microsoft Teams can serve as a complete file hosting and management solution, and provides several ways for you to share files with your team mates:

  • Post a file to any conversation

You can share a file by posting it inside any Teams conversation, including sharing a file with an individual contact or an entire channel.

To share, simply open the conversation where you want to post your file, and then click the little “Attach” icon (circled in the following screenshot).

 

IMAGE send-file-microsoft-teams

 

Alternatively, you can drag and drop your file onto the “Type new message” box.

  • Host your files in Microsoft Teams

Sometimes, you may need to share a file in multiple unrelated locations, for example sending a document to people who aren’t all members of the same channel. There may also be files that you share on a regular basis, such as an employee on-boarding manual, or the forms for your end-of-quarter reviews.

In these scenarios, you can host the file in Microsoft Teams, and then share a link every time someone requires access to this file.

To host a file in Teams:

  • Share the file with your first contact or channel, as normal.
  • In Teams’ left-hand menu, select “Files > Microsoft Teams.”

 

IMAGE microsoft-teams-files-tab

 

  • Find the file in question, click its three-dotted icon and then select “Get link.”

 

IMAGE microsoft-teams-get-link

 

You can now copy/paste this link anywhere within Microsoft Teams, and all recipients will be able to access and download the linked file.

Instant messenger: Send and receive messages in realtime

 When someone mentions Microsoft Teams, chances are one feature immediately springs to mind: instant messaging.

Microsoft Teams lets you exchange instant messages in realtime, and organise your conversations into teams and channels that are dedicated to specific departments, topics, projects, or any other characteristic that make sense for your business. For example, you might create a “Development” team consisting of channels dedicated to each development branch, such as “Version 1.0” and “Version 2.0,” or “macOS,” “Windows” and “Mobile.”

While teams and channels give your employees a clearly-defined place to discuss different topics, it can sometimes be difficult to monitor multiple conversations. By using Microsoft’s Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) alongside Teams, you can ensure your employees never miss an important instant message.

Let’s look at how you can send a push notification every time an employee is mentioned in Microsoft Teams.

 

push-notification-microsoft-teams

Note that this workflow requires the employee to have Power Automate set up on their smartphone or tablet, so they’ll need to download Power Automate for Android, iOS or Windows Phone, and then log in using their Microsoft 365 account.

To create this push notification workflow:

  • In your web browser, log into the Power Automate app.
  • In the left-hand menu, select “Templates.”
  • Search for the following template: Alert me when I am mentioned in Microsoft Teams.
  • Select this template when it appears, and then click “Continue.”
  • Now, you’ll need to specify the team where you’ll implement this workflow i.e the team that you want to monitor. Click to select the “Team ID” field and then choose a team from the dropdown list that appears.

 

IMAGE microsoft-team-dropdown

 

Next, you’ll need to choose a channel; click to select the “Channel” field and then select a channel from the list.

  • The “Send me a mobile notification” section contains the text that’ll be included in the push notification. You can change this text, as required.
  • When you’re ready to publish this workflow, click “Save.”

Now, your employees will receive a push notification on their smartphone or tablet, so they’ll know exactly which instant messages require their attention.

Wiki: Build, maintain and distribute corporate wikis

 Today, countless organisations use wikis to structure and share information both internally and externally. For example, you might publish your product’s documentation in a familiar wiki format, or maintain a wiki of all your policies and processes, ready to share with new hires.

While you could invest in third party software, Microsoft Teams already has everything you need to build, maintain and distribute a company wiki.

And, since you’re creating your wikis inside Teams, it’s easy to organise this information based on how your business is structured – in fact, every time you create a channel, Teams automatically creates a wiki specifically for that channel!

To view this automatically-generated wiki, open any channel and then select the “Wiki” tab.

 

 

In Microsoft Teams, wikis consist of pages and sections, so you just need to start writing your first section. When you’re ready to create a new section, hover over any empty space and click the little “+” icon that appears.

 

IMAGE microsoft-teams-wiki-add-section

 

 

Teams will now add a new section to your wiki.

To create a new page, click the “hamburger” icon, which opens a side menu.

 

IMAGE microsoft-teams-wiki-menu

 

You can now create a page, by clicking the “New page” icon.

 

IMAGE microsoft-teams-new-page

 

 

Keep repeating these steps to add more pages and sections, and build your company wiki.

If at any point you need to create an additional wiki, then click the little “+” icon.

 

IMAGE microsoft-teams-create-wiki

 

 

In the popup that appears, select “Wiki,” give your wiki a name and then click “Save.” Microsoft Teams will now create a new wiki, ready for you to populate with pages and sections

Meeting Recorder: How to record your online conferences

Do your employees struggle to remember who-said-what, during which meeting and when? Or perhaps your staff spend hours writing and distributing notes from all the meetings they’ve attended?

With the help of recording software, you can create a complete record of every single meeting, without any of that time-consuming transcription and admin work.

If you want to record your meetings, then don’t waste money, time and energy into setting up standalone recording software – Microsoft Stream is a video management and sharing service that seamlessly integrates with your existing Microsoft Teams account.

Once Stream is set up, your employees can record any meeting with the click of a button, and then store these recordings in the cloud ready to be accessed at any time, or shared with colleagues.

To use Microsoft Steam, you’ll need to enable the recording feature:

 

IMAGE microsoft-teams-meeting-policies

 

Select “+ Add.”

  • Give this policy a descriptive name.
  • Find the “Allow cloud recording” slider, and push it into the “On” position.
  • Find the “Allow transcription” slider, and push it into the “On” position.
  • Click “Save.”

Now, your employees can record any Microsoft Teams meeting that they initiate. They can also record meetings that they didn’t initiate, as long as the meeting organiser has recording permissions enabled.

To record a meeting using Microsoft Stream:

  • Start your Microsoft Teams meeting, as normal.
  • Click the three-dotted “More actions” icon, and select “Start recording.”

Once you’ve finished, end the meeting as normal, and your recording will be processed and uploaded to your Stream account automatically.

You can access all of your recordings, by logging into the Microsoft Stream application and then selecting “My content > videos.” From here, you can play this recording or share it with colleagues by clicking the three-dotted icon and then selecting “Share.”

 

IMAGE share-microsoft-stream

 

Summary: 5 Apps that will drive digital transformation and improve efficiency

Improve efficiency and employee productivity with the use of software like Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams. These are powerful, easy to use solutions and are integrated into most desktop and laptop environments.

The ability to record meetings, instantly get a response through chat or schedule a meeting with numerous external organisations with just a few clicks from your calendar provides a great and efficient user experience. Enable collaboration and a digital workplace through wikis and easy file sharing.

At Blackbird IT, we are focused on learning about every business we meet so we can provide recommendations and solutions to deliver results.

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