One such app is Microsoft Teams, which is a collaboration and communication tool. It’s heavily integrated with Microsoft 365’s Office apps, meaning it’s a great choice if you’re using a Microsoft software ecosystem.
We started last week with an introduction to Teams and one of its main (and probably obvious!) features – the ability to create and manage teams. This week we’ll take a look at the options available for user profiles, as well as the channels and chat features.
Like many other chat and communication programs, Microsoft Teams lets you customise your experience by allowing you to choose the name that displays to other people, (although this is set by default to the name attached to your Teams account, you can change it to anything you wish,) and add a profile picture to your account. These will be shown to anyone who contacts you using Teams. You can also set a status message for people to see – perhaps if you’re at lunch or working on a particular project, for example. You can also choose between different statuses to show your availability; rather than just the three standard options, you have five instead – Available, Busy, Do Not Disturb, Be Right Back and Appear Away. Most important for a lot of people will be the first two – Busy signals that you’re busy to other users, but keeps your notifications as normal. Setting your status to Do Not Disturb mutes all but urgent notifications and those from your priority contacts.
Channels are a useful way to separate information. Your team has one channel by default (General), but it’s easy to add more. For example, for teams with more than one project ongoing at a time, you could create a channel for each project, to keep the information and comments organised and relevant.
Just like you can separate people into teams, you can also set an audience for each channel, so perhaps if a certain channel is only relevant to a few people on the team, only those particular people would have access to the channel. Channel messages are visible to anyone who’s in the channel. The General channel is, by default, visible to all members of the team.
Private chat is also a feature, and is the same basic one-to-one chat as you get in many other communications apps like Skype or WhatsApp.
Both channels and chat allow you to post images, links, and files; allowing you to share any necessary information (or perhaps a silly cat gif or two) with your team members.
Next week we’ll be taking a look at some of the more advanced features of Teams, such as SharePoint and other app integrations.