Using MS Teams Keeps a Busy Office Connected

By Jane Sherwood, BES Administrator

How does a team of 8, managing 40 projects at once and constantly travelling to job sites, stay connected and organized? Microsoft Teams!

The Building Envelope Sciences Group of GRLA began using MS Teams in 2017, and the following benefits have now become an integral part of our daily project management. 

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1.     Message boards created per project, or per topic
        Each one of our active projects has a “channel” created where all team members can share notes, discussion, and files. The advantage of using a central location for communication not only lessens the burden of multiple emails, it organizes the information to be accessible to everyone who may be working on the project, and saves it to be easily searchable in the future.

        Other boards such as marketing and technical topics can also be utilized with similar benefits for all team members:  accessibility and searchability.

        Our channels are created by referencing our internal project number and name –  a simple way to quickly find and access the information you need.

2.     Real time communication

        All team members can be tagged by name and notified to join a relevant discussion or review information. In addition to providing a means to discuss topics in real time, MS Teams also allows individuals to manage their access according to their work preference and schedule. By centralizing and organizing each project by channel, team members can quickly catch up to ongoing job information and status updates the next moment they are available.

3.     Open discussions where all can benefit

        Organization by topic and project allows all team members to access project information and lessons learned on the public channels. The message board style of communication also facilitates and encourages questions and discussion among the entire team, with easy access to the knowledge of more experienced members.

4.     Private chat option

        Message team members and share files privately in real time, either individually or in groups. Like channels, this has the same advantages of an easily accessible and future searchable data bank while creating a custom audience for your information.

5.     Aggregate data

        A paperless office is more easily obtainable when electronic organization mimics traditional methods of information sharing, while adding the major advantages of flexibility and accessibility. Each project channel can be a place to share items for discussion and store relevant documents, or you can link back to file folders on your company network. Search function is available by channel, by private chat, or across the entire team site, thus making MS Teams a fully functional archive of information.

6.     File sharing and collaborative real-time editing on documents

        The full Office suite of software is integrated into MS Teams. Documents can be updated online, or downloaded onto your PC, for edits to be saved simultaneously as multiple team members work on them.

7.     Working remotely
        By allowing team members to work remotely as effectively as if they were in the office, MS Teams is uniquely supportive of busy and dedicated professionals who are required to travel. Enabling our team to have the flexibility to access and edit work files, and communicate easily with others, is invaluable.

8.     Can be utilized via mobile or desktop app

        Apps for Windows or mobile devices enable instant notification alerts for tags and chat messages. Icons on the main menu enable quick access to a list of all channels, current activity, all stored files, and chat history. Tabs can be set up on the project channels for saving important reference files for quick access.

If you use MS Teams and have any tips or tricks, let us know!

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