Even if you haven’t heard of digital overload, the chances are you’ve probably experienced it.
The number of communications, the duration of virtual meetings, and the length of the working day (from the first email or Teams chat in the morning until your last text at night) has increased exponentially over the last year.
Collaborative work management – giving employees the ability to choose how they manage their time, workload and communications, as well as collaborating with colleagues from any location – is an essential part of limiting digital load, helping teams self-manage, and making flexible working… well…work. Yet many are suffering without the proper tools to manage their digital load. In a recent study 71% of workers stated they wish they had a centralised way of seeing all work across their company, but 69% – almost as many – said they didn’t have such a tool.
Although hybrid working is a relatively new concept, and the modern workplace is still to be fully defined, the technology to deliver a complete package of support for workload collaboration and management is already well established with a suite of apps on the Microsoft 365 platform.
All of these tried-and-tested apps have been developed to support you to tackle and win against the three challenges of collaborative work management, specifically – how to organise your work, manage your work, and collaborate well with your teams.
Data, plans, ideas, concepts, tasks and more. Organising all of the content that surrounds your work can be time consuming and difficult – particularly if you want to share and work on projects with colleagues. Microsoft Teams was created specifically to hold and share your work content through dedicated channels that you can create for each project, task or work group, adding all the other organisation apps you need as integrated channel tabs. This essentially makes Teams the de facto hub for all your collaborative work, allowing individuals in the channel to locate and collaborate with you – and each other – on the right piece of work.
- Plan your Teams structure and keep it simple at first.
- Add teams gradually as needed and create your channels to support specific projects or big conversation topics.
- Name your channels clearly with descriptions that make it easy to see what each is about, so people can find topics and content easily.
- Use the Teams templates to provide a ready to use channel structure – try the project template to start with.
- Remember, Microsoft 365 unified search will always help you find what you are looking for.
Learn more about Teams organisation best practice.
Manage your work
The seemingly unending list of To Do items that keep us moving throughout the working week can become overwhelming without the proper tools to help. You can start your day with a neatly organised list and new tasks can pop up at any time. Managing these tasks means prioritising, delegating and scheduling, and with emails, chat, texts and meetings continually adding to the list, you need a way to keep on top of it. Microsoft apps give you the structure to bring order into everything from detailed activities (Planner) to personal tasks (To Do) and from project activities (Tasks in Teams) to creative ideas (Lists).
To Do is a simple app to primarily manage personal, individual tasks – those that you can execute yourself and tick off as you go. This handy app (for managing both work and personal activities) is accessible from anywhere – and particularly good on mobile. Create To Do lists under different headers to keep them separate, flag important tasks, and share tasks to delegate activities. Best of all, To Do integrates with Planner so you can manage your own task lists alongside those assigned to you.
Team tasks are assigned and managed through Microsoft Planner. Intuitive and easy to get started with, Planner centres around content rich task cards managed on Kanban boards. Create and assign tasks across the group, move them on to someone else as you complete your work, flag them to change status, and easily see due dates and run reports.
Use the Tasks in Teams app and you will bring both To Do and Planner tasks together within the Teams context, allowing you to create tasks from Teams chats or channel conversations and see all of your individual and assigned tasks in one place.
You can keep track of assets, ideas or anything where you need to create, share and manage a list in Lists. Use Lists to draft a risk register, brain-dump ideas for new product names, or build an event itinerary. View and collaborate seamlessly within Teams to manage your work, right there in the hub.
- Break down tasks into smaller activities in To Do.
- Prioritise tasks in Planner, and ‘group by priority’ to get a view of all your tasks by relative importance.
- Use Tasks in Teams to view all tasks and information in a List view, and filter or change multiple tasks at once.
- Ready-made templates get you started quickly in Lists.
Collaboration is sharing ideas, working through problems together, passing work between colleagues or working together on a document in real time. For this to work effectively you must have tools that are fit for purpose, efficient, secure, and reliable. OneDrive and SharePoint underpin the secure file sharing across Microsoft 365 and allow you to securely share files wherever you are working – in Teams, Office or even a List.
If you are working in Teams you can open any Office file and work on that document with Teams side-by-side, using comments and @mentions to keep collaboration tight. You don’t even have to send links to documents to your teammates as organising your assets in one place means that you can see everything in context.
- @mentions trigger email notifications to keep collaborators informed.
- Use Teams Connect to share channels with anyone, even outside of your organisation.
- Together mode brings teams together for an optimum large group meeting experience.