team huddle
PHOTO: Perry Grone

At VisualSP, we've seen a marketing department use Microsoft Teams to collaborate on a banner ad design and still use emails for the design approval process. We've been guilty of similar inefficiencies in our company as well.

It turns out a lot of companies aren't taking full advantage of Microsoft Teams.

There are ways to use Microsoft Teams effectively. The starting point is to move all applicable tasks to the platform, and create an integral cloud workspace for your teams, departments and entire organization.

Digital adoption isn't only about using a digital tool to the fullest, it is also about using it as intended. It requires understanding the native capabilities and knowledge of what is possible. With that understanding, you will be able to identify more tasks that can be completed more efficiently in the cloud, turning more of your physical workspace into a digital one.

Imagine Being Able to Work From Anywhere, at any Time

Your workplace can be an office, a factory, a production site or any well-equipped space shared by all your coworkers. The point of getting together in one place during a specific timeframe is to enable communication, production and collaboration. With a little strategic push, you can create a digital version of your workplace in Microsoft Teams. You can make it possible for your employees to do most of the teamwork without the limitations that come with commuting.

If you look closely, you will always find more tasks that can be done in the cloud — this will greatly improve the productivity of your colleagues who have to work remotely or prefer to work from home.

Related Article: Why Your Microsoft Teams Governance Plan Needs a Lifecycle Model

Don't Rely on the Uncertainty of Organic Discovery

For digital adoption, many companies don't go beyond deployment and employee training. They make Microsoft Teams available, run some training programs and expect users to increase and improve usage organically.

In my experience as a digital adoption consultant, this approach seldom leads people to discover additional or better ways of using the tool. You need to actively strive toward growing a shared cloud workspace and drive adoption.

Related Article: Don't Know Which Microsoft Collaboration Tool to Use? You're Not Alone

How to Bring Your Colleagues Into One Online Working Place

Here's how to get started creating a cloud workspace for your team, department or entire company.

  • Understand how they get things done using existing tools and workflows. Read this SharePoint article to learn detailed steps.
  • Make a list of all the tasks that can be done using Microsoft Teams. Deal with one department at a time.
  • Drive everyone to get the tasks done using Teams, one task at a time. For inspiration, check out Microsoft's productivity library.

Here are some examples of tasks we have seen companies successfully move to Teams.

  • Bringing experts, managers and executives in one workspace to co-create an employee onboarding program.
  • Running meeting sessions with people located in different towns and countries.
  • Gathering different bits of information about a new product from suppliers and everyone else involved in the manufacturing process: collecting specs, features, user guides, update logs, etc.
  • Planning a project, assigning tasks to team members, sharing a completion timeline, and keeping everyone aware of the progress.
  • Co-authoring blog posts and scheduling content updates.

Based on the main features that a task workflow uses, group the tasks in three categories: communication, production and collaboration. This helps you prioritize employee training content.

  • Communication tasks typically involve features like chats, meetings, calls and files.
  • Production tasks make use of the native integration with other apps and web services: OneNote, Planner, Trello, Smartsheet, SurveyMonkey, etc.
  • Collaboration tasks leverage the power of features such as Teams and Channels.

Once you have a list of tasks, identify their applicable features, and adapt your digital adoption programs accordingly.

The objective is to help employees master one feature at time, assuming that you are already implementing essential training programs.

Related Article: 5 Considerations for Your Employee Digital Skills Training Program

Take Part of Your Workplace to the Cloud

Many communication, production and collaboration tasks can be successfully accomplished in Microsoft Teams. Identify them and prioritize employee training according to their applicable features.

Create shared workspaces in the cloud and move as many tasks to them as possible.

Very soon, you'll find Microsoft Teams becomes the main hub where increasingly more tasks get done, liberating your business from the constraint of locations and office hours.