• Amanda Sterner

How you can use Microsoft Teams for a small/medium-sized business

I wanted to share a blog post about how my company started using Microsoft Teams a little bit more than before in "working from home" times like these. Maybe you’ve seen this image on LinkedIn or Twitter, I find it funny and it seems true for many companies. I don’t think this is the case for my company, but it definitely created some urgency around using Microsoft Teams in a broader way.


What we had before:

  • An intranet on a SharePoint communication site

  • A dead Yammer (don’t get me wrong I enjoy Yammer in the right organization, but for a company with ~350 employees I don’t believe that's us)

  • Private teams in Microsoft Teams per business unit/department

  • A leadership email on a monthly basis


What we needed:

  • Somewhere where we easily could communicate with everyone at our company

  • A place to mix business with fun


What we came up with:

As we are ~350 people we decided to use an org-wide team in Microsoft Teams. Org-wide teams in Microsoft Teams is an easy way to handle permissions for a team for organizations that has less than 5 000 users. Here you can read more on how org-wide teams work.

We decided to start with three channels besides the general one. Let me first talk about the idea for the general channel and then I’ll show you the extra ones we added 😊.


General channel

We wanted to keep this channel only for information, so first step was to change the moderation settings. We decide that only owners can post messages.

Besides that we added a few tabs, we added our intranet (too bad the navigation from SharePoint isn’t included yet in Microsoft Teams) and a tab for all our intranet news. Adding a SharePoint intranet as a tab in Microsoft Teams will not give the full experience – but it will enough for now. Here’s an uservoice you all you should vote on for adding the SharePoint navigation 😉.

As our intranet isn’t built on the team SharePoint site, we used the website tab where the correct links where added.

I also had this idea of adding a tab with a recording with our CEO, this could be added as a tab and also as a conversation (an announcement to make it even nicer – link to blog post about announcements).

Added as a tab
Announcement with a link to the stream video


The rest of the channels

The three channels we added have the same content but with different themes. When it comes to settings, we decided on no channel moderation – we wanted the channels to be alive.

The only tab we added was a PDF with the purpose of the channel. Until you can pin conversations (actually I’m not sure if I want that…) I think this is an easy way to help your co-workers.

If you’re interested these are the channels we added:


Questions – questions about well anything work-related


Fun together – just a silly channel for gifs, memes, and stuff (I’m a firm non-believer of a fun channel but I can’t argue against that people seem to like it)


WFH tips and tricks – this channel is probably the most one related to the pandemic, but still handy for giving each others any kind of tips for working from home

General settings

Other settings we decided on was member permissions, and we basically turned everything off besides being able to edit and delete messages.

Another nice thing to remember is that you can change a private/public team into an org-wide afterwards. This meant we created a private team, set it up as we wanted and then changed it into org-wide. Feels a little better fixing a team in private and then making it available for all 😇.

How you can use Microsoft Teams for a small/medium-sized business

Conclusion

It all comes down to two things to make this work:


  1. Engaged and active leadership

  2. A few engaged employees to show it’s ok to write stuff and be here (and the rest will follow along after)

We are still in the beginning of our journey of creating a vibrant and active org-wide team in Microsoft Teams, but we are on our way. As I use to say, the only way is up 🚀.


If you’re interested in changing your intranet completely into using Microsoft Teams, I recommend this session: Intranet with Teams dos and don’ts from a real life customer case from Karoliina Kettukari 💜.

Welcome to my blog about Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and collaboration

© 2020 Amanda Sterner

amanda@amandasterner.com

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