Group of workers collaborating at a table.
In distributed workplaces it's often not possible for employees to meet face-to-face, but today's collaboration tools foster a culture of teamwork. PHOTO: Photo by Climate KIC on Unsplash

Collaboration is a worthy investment: It optimizes individual efforts, enables productive outcomes and fosters an environment conducive to innovation. 

As an executive, there are times when you want to adopt solutions not only because they work, but also because they satisfy the preferences of your employees. You base your decision not only on effectiveness, but also on culture compatibility.

For example, if your workforce is made up of baby-boomers, you can’t deploy a solution tailored to millennials and expect a fast adoption. 

Similarly, if your team has a playful culture, it’s not ideal to give them a collaboration platform built for teams that has adopted a culture of formality. 

The market is flooded with collaborative tools, making it hard to know which options are right for your employees. For this reason, it’s wise to let your employees experiment a little to find solutions that are right for them. This also enables organic decision-making.

Trying Out Collaborative Tools and Workflows

A common trap many executives fall into is providing their teams with an aggregated set of solutions. In other words, they add products and services on top of others. This disconnected amalgamation of tools and workflows won’t lead to successful adoption or productive collaboration because they inevitably result in complexity.

Complexity rarely helps anybody. It consumes too much time and demands considerable efforts. Integration works because it creates simplicity. Microsoft Teams is one example of a platform which successfully integrates many popular tools and workflows in one workspace, allowing employees the choice of which tool is right for the job.

Most collaborative projects are mainly driven by conversations and file-sharing. Below are the most common conversation workflows and the essential file-sharing tools that are already integrated in this digital workspace.

Microsoft Teams Integrates Different Workflows for Conversations

In different scenarios, individuals prefer different ways of communicating. To share ideas and exchange feedbacks, some people may prefer to start with text chat, others may prefer audio chat and many other may prefer video chat.

With Microsoft Teams, you have three ways to connect with a colleague.

1. Text Chat Workflow

Microsoft Teams' interface helps you exchange written words with your interlocutors in real-time by allowing you to accomplish the following:

  • Experience a well-integrated instant messaging capability similar to Skype for Business.
  • Infuse your mood into the conversation by using GIFs, likes, stickers, emoticons and memes.
  • Revisit your chat history later as needed and so on.

2. Audio Chat Workflow

Audio chat is just another word for sophisticated telephony.

If you dislike typing and prefer to talk, Microsoft Teams makes it easier for you to participate in collaborative projects. Besides, there are types of exchanges that work better when you're talking to someone. When text chat seems too mechanical and video chat too distracting, audio chat will do.

In this Office 365 workspace, the audio chat and video chat capabilities share the same mechanics. Below are some of the things you can do with both audio chat and video chat. To make it an audio chat, just turn off your video.

3. Video Chat Workflow

In the key stages of a conversation, many team members simply don't have confidence in communication sessions unless they also see body language and facial expressions. The scenarios that need face-to-face meeting can find video chat in Microsoft Teams as the closest alternative.

The highly hyped new Microsoft platform allows you to have meetings with your remote colleagues using the following features.

  • The built-in calendar simplifies scheduling a meeting.
  • The intuitive interface helps you join a meeting with the click of a button.
  • The Calls feature gives you the option to get into a conversation with one person or a group.
  • The desktop-sharing capability enables you to give presentations to your colleagues without the need for projectors.

As your employees get familiar with Microsoft Teams communication capabilities, they will quickly discover workflows that work best for them. 

Microsoft Teams Integrates Different Productivity Tools

Different organizations use different applications and services for different tasks. Every team has a favorite tool for a task. With Microsoft Teams, your team has the freedom to continue using that tools or try new ones.

Microsoft Teams integrates many popular productivity applications. And many more are gradually being added to the platform. You can add your own favorite applications.

This integration enables you to work with many applications and services without having to exit the Microsoft Teams interface.

Below are tools that are already integrated to the workspace:

  • All Office 365 applications: OneNote, SharePoint, Excel, Yammer and more.
  • External applications: Dropbox, Wrike, Excel, Smartsheet, Zendesk, Google Drive, HootSuite, Intercom, Polyscribe, Power BI, PowerApps, PowerPoint, SharePoint, Trello and more.
  • Most popular services, including: YouTube, RSS feeds, Twitter and more.

Discovering Favorite Tools and Workflows

What are the right collaboration tools and workflows for your employees?

If in doubt, consider encouraging them to experiment with Microsoft Teams.

The integration of different applications and workflows will give them the freedom to play around and hopefully discover the right solution.

When a team member finds a favorite tool and a preferred workflow for collaboration, collaboration is no longer a chore. And with Microsoft Teams, your team may just discover a new productive way of working together.