Following a huge surge in adoption triggered by the global pandemic, and now with 250 million monthly active users, it’s no surprise to learn that Microsoft Teams is being used by some of the world’s largest organisations. But how can Teams help create communities and support collaborative working across vast enterprise level businesses with thousands of employees and multiple geographies?
We can safely say that Teams has become the de facto front end for every type of business, across the globe, and has helped to make a significant difference to change the way we work. Hybrid working is now widely adopted in all sizes of organisation, from the small start-up with an inherent flexible working model, to the established international giant looking to boost productivity and engagement by responding to calls for a modern way of working. By bringing together all the tools needed for collaborative working – including chat, meetings, calling, document collaboration and many more apps and processes – Teams delivers a secure, compliant, and trustworthy platform on which any organisation can build a hybrid working model.
For large businesses – particularly those with multiple offices or sites across multiple countries – the desire to travel less (both for safety and environmental reasons) and give employees the flexibility to work remotely has meant they are looking for ways to connect large teams and break down barriers of location, time zone or even language. Using purpose-built tools such as the Yammer Communities app and Viva Connections, as well as Teams in-built Channels feature, can help these organisations build culture and relationships, accelerating innovation and driving multiple efficiencies.
Creating shared workspaces with Channels
Collaboration starts with being able to work together and Teams facilitates this by cutting through the complexity and bringing people together in a virtual space to start and join conversations; create, share, and co-author documents; organise shared information; and generate results together. Businesses deploying Teams will usually start by creating one or more teams – collections of people, content and tools usually centered around projects, departments, or divisions. Using Channels – which are dedicated sections within a team – you can create even closer working groups. Channels tend to be groups with common goals and channels allow them to work together in a secure space – even private if required – utilising all the tools and data they need.
By extending channels with additional apps to help the group work more efficiently, they become even more valuable and create a virtual work room where ideas can be shared through whiteboard sessions, documents can be developed, and shared plans drawn up. Team members can cross-post messages into multiple channels simultaneously making it easy to share company or department-wide information in an efficient and timely way.
Right now, you can create a team with as many as 25,000 participants which gives ample scope for most organisations to reach their entire business, and further. Microsoft is already talking about extending this scale even further as larger organisations adopt Teams to run across their business.
Use Communities to develop culture
One of the hardest things to tackle when you are running a business with a hybrid working approach is how you might effectively nurture the company culture. Without in-person meetings, random encounters, casual exchanges, and extra-curricular activities it can be challenging for employees to make real connections. Communities has been created to help your employees communicate, to have open conversations with their coworkers in public spaces, share knowledge and build relationships, and – essentially – create a culture. You can pin the Communities app to your Teams screens, making it ever-present and giving your employees consistent access to engage with leaders, watch live events, engage in Q and A, and stay up to date with news from Teams. Communities are scalable to include your entire company, regardless of size, allowing you to communicate to all your employees whenever and however you want. New features from Microsoft for large corporates include both broad and targeted sharing with notifications that can reach all users wherever they are including Teams, Outlook, and SharePoint.
Empower with Viva Connections
The latest addition to the Microsoft Teams universe, Microsoft Viva, is an employee experience platform with a focus on improving employee skills, engagement, and wellbeing in the context of their working day. Viva Connections is a personalised, branded window into your business, giving employees the information, news, resources, and connections they need to feel inspired and informed. Viva Connections allows businesses to streamline employees’ view of critical resources through a personalised dashboard that can be accessed with one-touch from their Teams environment.
Hugely valuable for big businesses where important news can get lost in the noise, Viva Connections makes every individual’s experience meaningful and gives them the opportunity to have a voice with the people who matter the most. Use audience targeting to reach specific departments, regions or even job roles and encourage employees to share feedback and become part of a company-wide conversation by sharing their unique perspective and expertise.
With all these unique features, and so many more, now available across desktop and mobile for both Teams and Connections, it’s no surprise that Microsoft Teams is dominating the collaboration space for businesses of all sizes.
If you’d like to learn more about how Teams can help your business, get in touch.