How to get organized and stay productive with Microsoft Teams!
Published Jul 22 2019 05:29 AM 17K Views




As a follow up to my last blog on How to get started with Teams, I had a few people mentioned they wanted recommendations on what to do once you have been using Teams for a while. Such as how to manage the Teams, organize them and find relevant content. Normally I take a more technical approach on my blogs but this one is focused what end users can do to customize Teams allowing them to be as productive as possible.


If you have not set up governance for Teams, please check out the 10 Questions to ask yourself when getting started with Teams, as it goes hand in hand with these recommendations.


If Teams has become popular in your organization you will start getting invited to many teams, some of them will be very relevant and provide a ton of value, where others are more of a nuisance. I have Teams that I use every day, others I only check 1-2 times per week, and then a few where I only go to them when I need something. But there are soooooo many, how do I organize them so I can limit the "noise" and keep focused on what is most important to me? This is the question I am going to attempt to answer below. 


Best practices on how to organize your Teams & Channels

First off, you can hide a Team, this means you are not leaving the Team, just simply moving it to the bottom of your list, or to the "Hidden teams" section at the bottom. The same applies to Channels, if you Hide a Channel it just goes to the bottom of the list, you can still access all the content. Also, Teams will automatically move a Team to the "Hidden Teams" section if you have not been to it in the past 45 days, you can always move it back up if you want. 


When you Hide a Team or Channel, it also limits the notifications you get, so if there is a Team that you only need to access every once in a while and don’t need to be pro-actively notified of the activities in that Team or Channel it is a good idea to Hide it, that way your notifications are limited to what is most important to you.


Just click on the ellipsis of the Team or Channel … and hide




That will move the Team to your Hidden teams section, but don’t worry, the Team will still show up bold when there is activity going on that you have missed, so a quick scan of your hidden Teams will allow you to know where to go.




Next, put your Teams in a logical order, by default Teams that are hidden will be in alphabetical order, but your primary Teams can be re-ordered by you. Just simply click down on the Team name and drag it up or down your list to put it in the most logical order for your productivity.


For example, I put the Teams I use the most at the top of my list. Or you could group them by subject, whatever works best for you.



How to set Notifications based on your work style

After you get your Teams organized, another area that can help is to properly set your notifications. Just like you would on your personal smart phone, you can alter how Teams notifies you for different actions or activities. It is important to set them to the level that works best for you.


In the top right-hand corner of your Teams Client or on the web, click on your Picture or Initials, click settings, and navigate to the Notification section. It should look like this;




As you can see there are a ton of settings here, if they were all on or all off, I don’t think any of us would be happy. Therefore, I want to call out a few options here to make your life a little better when it comes to too much noise that is overwhelming. Also, let’s make sure you are not missing important things.


Sounds, the first and most important option is right at the top, Notification Sounds, this is an all or nothing setting, basically it means; do you want Teams to chime or make a noise when you get a notification or just be a visual notification. I have mine turned off, but the choice is yours.


After sounds, there is an important section about emails, I recommend to users who are just getting started with Teams to enable emails for Missed activities because you might not be used to checking Teams on a regular basis, but if you get prompted by an email that will remind you that you might be missing something important. After you get more accustomed to checking Teams you can lower the frequency in which you get these emails and eventually turn them off. I have Teams open all day every day, so I don’t need an email to remind me, so I have mine off. Also, if you want a summary email of what happened in Teams each day you can toggle on/off the digest Email.


Next options is updating your notifications for different types of actions, some actions could be more important to you, like an @mention to me is very important, that means someone is calling me out by name, so I want that type of action to very predominate in my notifications, but I don’t really need to know when someone liked a comment I posted. I am happy you liked it, but I don’t need a big alert validating me each time someone likes my stuff, lol!


In this section you will notice are in the drop downs, there are typically 3 options;

  1. Banner and feed
  2. Only show in feed
  3. Off

But what do these mean?

  1. Banner is a bubble, the little red circles, they will show up when you turn them on for an activity. A small number will be displayed if there are multiple items. This is just like what you would see on your smart phone when you missed a text message.
  2. The Feed is when something is in the conversation tab of a Team. If you choose "only show in feed" then you will not get a badge but the Team or Channel will bold indicating there is activity in the Feed that you might want to go and look at.
  3. Off is just that, there is no visual indication for this item.

Last you want to update your notification on mobile device, Teams is supported on both Android and iOS, navigate to your notification settings and update them based on how you want to be notified by Teams on mobile. You can make these different than on desktop. 


How to organize contacts for chat and calling

Now that we have your Teams Organized and Notifications set, lets focus a little on organizing your contacts. 


Similar to Teams you can organize your contacts in Chat by Pinning your favorite contacts to the top. You are limited to only Pin 15 contacts so choose wisely. But you can also organize contacts in groups (just like you could in Skype, if you used that platform). Also, if you were migrated from Skype for Business to Teams, most likely your contacts and their groups moved over to Teams, so you should be good to go.


Another thing that makes Teams different than all other platforms is Group Chat, sometimes you don’t just want to talk to 1 person but a few people. I love that I can Pin a group chat or even Pin a Meeting Chat so I can quickly get back to it later. You can always unpin a user, group chat or meeting chat later when it becomes less relevant to your work. I pin and un-pin chats almost daily. This just depends on who I am working with or what project is most important that week.


How to use Teams Search

The last item I want to recommend exploring more is Search in Teams. As much as I would love to say that after all this organization, I can always find exactly what I need when I need it, that is not true. There are many times I need that one file that had exactly what I need but I cannot remember what Team it was on or who shared it with me. SO… I use search.


Search in Teams is very powerful, but we have done a poor job of showing there is a great filter feature. This filter can help you sort through the massive amounts of content in Teams to get to exactly what you are searching for.


First you must type in the search bar what you are looking for, hit enter and then you can filter.


As you can see here, I searched for "learning", then hit enter, and you can see I can choose to look at a Message, People or File. If I know I am looking for a file I can move to that tab, then hit the small filter icon, which brings up a powerful window allowing you to filter by Team, File type or date range. I usually know what type of file I want, like a PPT or PDF, so eliminating all other files types narrows my search results. If I need to filter further, I can pick a date range. This usually allows me to scan the remaining files to find what I am looking for.


You can also use this for content in a message, everything in Teams is searchable, if you know someone said something but cannot remember who or where that conversation took place, just search using a few key words and Teams Search will bring up all relevant messages so you can quickly find the content.




Thanks for reading, Shelly Avery |EmailLinkedIn

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‎Aug 16 2019 06:53 AM
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