We examine how you can get to grips with the popular videoconferencing platform
Does your team use Zoom instead? No worries – find our ‘How to Use Zoom’ guide here.
COVID-19 has changed the way that we work. Remote working has become to norm for most office jobs, and many people don’t expect to ever return to the office full time. The new normal will likely include blended and flexible arrangements with regards to when and where staff are working.
New working trends and expectations are leading to new ways of working. Digital communication tools like Slack, Zoom, Skype, and Webex make it easier for charity employees to speak to one another across distances.
For many charities, Microsoft Teams is the way to go when choosing software for the new digital environment.
Charities are already reaping the benefits of Teams. For charities not familiar with the platform, our step-by-step guide makes it easier to navigate and see the benefits of the platform.
Microsoft Teams is an all-in-one solution for many organisations. Teams has chat, video conferencing, file sharing and storage tools. For charities using Microsoft 365, Teams is automatically integrated into existing apps. Outlook, for example, will block out diary times for appointments made on Teams.
For charities, Teams is available for free, or, can be purchased as part of a package.
Third-party vendors such as Class Networks have enhanced the offering further. Teams Voice allows users to make and receive external phone calls, or otherwise take control of their telephony, from the platform.
Teams packages and Teams Voice can be downloaded directly onto desktop computers. For those on the go, Teams also includes a downloadable mobile app.
Before making the leap to Teams, charities should review the packages available.
The free version of Teams includes the chat functions, file sharing, file collaboration, and guest access to the platform. For charities looking to trial how they can make use of the digital tool, the free option comes with no commitment.
Upgrading to paid-for subscription services offers a lot more functionality. These packages do come with a commitment term. Microsoft offers tiered levels of functionality at increasing cost.
You can find information on Microsoft 365 for Nonprofits subscriptions here.
Make the most out of Teams by using the multi-purpose chatbox. Teams allows users to chat bilaterally or add others to form a group.
To initiate a chat, select the chat function from the main panel. This should open a window with all your contacts. Select the person you want to chat with and send the request. The chatbox will appear and you can begin typing your message. Teams also has built-in emojis for more expressive users.
Adding participants to the chat is just as easy. From the right-hand side of the chatbox, select other participants to join the chat. Once sent, they can see your request and enter the chat room.
For more advanced users, channels are also great for mass communication. Channels group people together and allow everyone in that group to be in constant communication. Posts in the channel can be seen by everyone who has access to it.
Video conferencing works just like the chat function. Select the video icon within the chat or telephone function, and the person you want to contact. Recipients receive an invitation to video conference. They can also choose whether they turn on their video and audio on entry into the meeting.
If you’re less happy sharing your physical background, you can blur or amend your virtual background. Within your meeting pane, select the three dots labelled ‘More actions’ and apply background effects.
Scheduling meetings with Teams is easy. Start by opening the calendar function. By double-clicking on a chosen time, an appointment box appears. Users can customise the appointment and add invitees. Note, for contacts not on your list, external email addresses can be added manually.
Once you’re happy with the appointment, send away. Recipients receive an invitation which appears in their Outlook calendar. A customised Teams link is also included, so others can use the same chat, screen sharing, and videoconferencing.