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How to be a better manager using tools and apps in Microsoft Teams

Team management has always been an essential responsibility in any business. But while the purpose is very much the same, approaches have changed over the years. As a manager, you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't get to grips with all the tools at your disposal. Managing employees with Microsoft Teams can help to streamline your responsibilities and give you back some valuable time.

Direct, frequent and effective communication and collaboration should be a top priority. You need to ensure our people are in the loop and up to date on shifting priorities and new projects. But it's also your responsibility to support and maintain wellbeing, employee engagement and team morale. As Grammarly's Head of Comms Senka Hadzimuratovic says, "Communication fosters connection."

There's certainly a wide array tools and services useful for different aspects of remote team coordination. But even so, Microsoft Teams is the one we've used for direct (and asynchronous communication) above all others. Microsoft Teams is very popular right now, having gone from 20 million daily active users to 75 million in just four months.

Communicating and managing employees with Microsoft Teams gives you a range of options

Microsoft Teams has a lot of options for communication. That's why it featured on our list of top remote work tools. It's most well-known as a video conferencing app. But it has a lot of great features, such as a direct messaging interface file-sharing courtesy of its OneDrive integration. And those are just the vanilla features. It also has integration with a bunch of optional third-party apps (including Weekly10, but more on that later). The only thing to bear in mind is that Microsoft Teams requires an Office365 account.

It's important not to underestimate the value of a good direct messaging system. Asynchronous communication is vital for remote collaboration. This is because it enables you to ask questions and share information without putting immediate pressure on. On top of that, employees have their chat histories. This makes it easy to double-check with employees about what's been discussed and catch up on their progress.

Just remember, as we can't see our people, we don't know what they are dealing with at any one time. Combined with social distancing, working remotely can be much more stressful and isolating than usual. The last thing we want to do is pile on at a bad moment.

Microsoft adapted Teams to pandemic demand

In Microsoft Teams, you can have up to twenty participants in a video call. Until recently, most people you can have on-screen at once was four. But Microsoft increased this to nine in a change that they started rolling out in April due to user demand. So larger group/team meetings are becoming a more realistic event as the platform grows. 

As a video conferencing tool, it's reliable and in our experience very easy to use. But we wouldn't recommend it to you if it was just decent. It's all the extra's it provides, plus the fantastic array of third-party integrations that make it stand out.

One great feature is the ability to record video meetings. You can then upload these recordings to Microsoft Stream for easy access. Even if you don't hit record, they are still available to be downloaded directly for twenty hours after the meeting. So, maybe don't plan any bank robberies in your weekly stand-up.

In all seriousness, this is fantastic because it enables video-conferencing to take a leaf out of asynchronous communication's book. It enables your team to go back over everything that was said. It could be that someone couldn't attend the meeting. Or perhaps they just want to double-check what you told them about the project you assigned to them. This way, people can catch themselves up without having to get a second-hand account from someone else, taking up their valuable time.

Microsoft Teams takes remote work to a whole new level

Obviously the people who stand to get the most out of the video-conferencing side of Microsoft Teams will be remote workers and those collaborating across different branches of a business. 

If you're using Microsoft Teams to manage remote workers, then daily 5-minute stand-ups can really make a difference. A connection to their team members can be essential for maintaining an employee's sense of social wellbeing. But really, that's always been true, contagious outbreak or not.

Now, though? It's more vital than ever, considering your morning meeting might well be the only spoken interaction they have all day.

Then there's the wide array of third-party applications available through Teams. Trello, Salesforce, Lucidchart, Adobe CC and even Zoom all have Microsoft Teams apps to supercharge collaboration and flexibility. 

And of course, there's the Weekly10 app for all your engagement, performance and OKR needs.

How Weekly10 makes managing employees with Microsoft Teams even easier

The Weekly app in Microsoft Teams go hand-in-hand. In fact, our roadmap is designed with Microsoft Teams-first features.

We created Weekly10 to rid the world of tick-box HR one company at a time. Our weekly check-in enables your employees to provide continuous feedback and updates on their wellbeing and satisfaction. You can also keep track of objective progress (via SMART goals or OKRs) and any work-related issues they might be experiencing. 

Weekly check-ins may sound like a lot. That's particularly true if you're used to employee surveys. But our check-in takes just 10 minutes each week.

Staff complete their employee check-ins and managers review them without leaving Microsoft Teams. This means they don't have to create new user credentials because it's SSO enabled. And they can get to grips with Weekly10 in an application they're already familiar with. On top of that, with an M365 management account, you can add Weekly10 to your employees' Microsoft Teams apps automatically.

Weekly10 also enables dynamic performance reviews and 360° feedback. Our tools and algorithms pull relevant data from the weekly check-in, the attitudes/perceptions of other employees and performance data together. That allows you to create reviews with genuine impact. Whatever you need from our services, you can do it all through Microsoft Teams!