With a significant proportion of our team working from home, one of the challenges we find ourselves having to face is communication. When everyone is office-based, it's easy to pop to someone's desk and ask them a quick question, but this is somewhat trickier to do when their desk is an hour+ driving time away.
We've found that a combination of a VoIP telephone system and an internal messenger service is great for us, and stops the distance from splitting the team into office vs remote.
We've tried a couple of different messaging solutions, and Microsoft Teams is our favourite of the moment and here's why.
Teams brings a whole host of collaboration tools into the same place. Individual messaging, team conversations, online meetings, shared files, tasks and much more. There are also a lot of apps which integrate into teams, to make it into a central communication hub of sorts.
On a daily basis, we mainly use it to drop each other quick messages. 'Are you going to be long on the phone?' 'Such and such called' or 'I'm going on lunch can I transfer my line to you in a sec?'. It's also great for sharing positive feedback to the entire team - who doesn't love a little boost during the work day.
This is a very minor thing, but the communication capabilities also add to the team camaraderie. When someone shares some good feedback, you can reply with emojis and gifs which definitely adds a hint of humour to the conversation.
With the ability to create channels, it creates an opportunity to have little focused conversations which improves the productivity of team members who don't have to sift through information irrelevant to their roles. There are times when engineers need to ask each other technical questions which Admin don't need to be a part of.
This means that everyone can focus their attentions on the channels relevant to their roles, saving themselves a lot of time in the process.
We're all in the loop
As alluded to before, when an entire team or part of it work remotely, it's quite the challenge for everyone to feel like they are being kept up to speed. As a company we do have a monthly all-staff meeting, but teams allows us to share as a team and for others to chip in with their ideas.
Another really useful feature is the ability to screen share with each other. Whether we're going through presentation slides, or need to show a colleague how to do something, it's a really simple way of doing this.
It's in the cloud
Teams is fully cloud-based, which means it can be accessed from anywhere on any device. This is especially great for getting messages to engineers whilst they're onsite, as they have Teams on their mobiles.
It's a welcoming environment for new team members
It's easy for new team members to jump into the conversation and be included from the outset - wherever they're located.
If you would like to know more about how we use Microsoft Teams, or other features it has which could benefit your work place, then please do get in touch, we'll be happy to chat with you about it.
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