Making Microsoft Teams Your Own: The Secrets of Superusers Series, #3

As businesses and employees settle into the new routines of remote work culture, many users may find it’s time to start personalizing their Microsoft Teams experiences. Fortunately, Microsoft Teams has hundreds of tools and settings to personalize and customize to suit your unique workflow and productivity style. 

Go Dark


While competitor Slack enables custom color palettes for an aesthetic but seemingly pointless flair, Microsoft went the other way by focusing on accessibility and reducing eye strain, with High Contrast Mode and Dark Mode settings. High Contrast mode is helpful for users with vision impairments, whereas Dark Mode projects less of the harsh blue light that can cause eye strain and is said to negatively impact quality of sleep. Changing the display settings is simple! Users just need to click their profile photo at the top right corner of their Teams app, and then click Settings > General > Theme. From that menu, users can toggle between Default, High Contrast, and Dark mode. 

Read Receipts

By default, Microsoft Teams workspaces will have a Read Receipts function turned on, but your IT admin can turn it off. Read Receipts are useful for knowing when partners on a dispersed team have actually read a message that’s been sent, but that doesn’t always mean the recipient is ready or able to respond. Rather than expecting instantaneous response as soon as a message is “Read,” retrain your impulses by turning Read Receipts off for a few weeks. If you’re making a big push to cultivate a positive and trusting remote work culture, this simple act of faith may make an outsized impact on your team members’ overall stress levels while working from home. 

Leverage AI and Chatbots

Sometimes your teams may need to obtain information on the fly, without digging for what they need or having to wait for someone else to point them in the right direction. You can streamline that process using chatbots in Microsoft Teams Messenger. 

Chatbots relay targeted information in a conversational manner, which makes it a user-favorite interface. Your systems administrator or managed services provider will need to turn on the feature and perhaps create a custom bot for your exact use, but once turned on, the sky’s the limit to how useful Messenger can be. Third-party bots exist for programs like Adobe Creative Cloud, SurveyMonkey, or ScrumGenius so agile teams can manage projects and interact in a more nimble way than ever. 

Create Clear Boundaries with Status and Away Messages

It’s surprising to think that requiring your employees to go out of their way to do something could have a positive impact on your reputation as an employer, but creating an atmosphere of trust and communication relies on asking more of the team in small ways to empower individuals in much larger ways. The Status Message does just that. 

Having team members use Status Messages throughout the day increases transparency about who is working on what when, or who may be shifting their work hours up that day to accommodate a morning doctor’s visit. Status Messages can be set to automatically expire at a certain time, which makes using them effectively even less work. Preset intervals include one hour, four hours, one day, and one week, as well as an option to leave the status up indefinitely, or create a custom duration of your own. 

While a status is on, users can choose to receive messages that mention them by name, or put all received messages on silent until the status mode ends. Employees can also use an Away status indicator to signal to their team that they are “off” for the day. This simple indicator will bolster an atmosphere that is respectful of work-life balance and the boundaries of healthy work-from-home arrangements. If you’re going to trust your employees to do their work responsibly and without micromanagement, this small tool should be utilized by managers and team members to provide a low-friction update on the work getting done. 

The more you know the Microsoft Teams platform, the more it can do for you. Windows Management Experts is offering free webinars for business owners and managers who are new to Teams. You can learn these tips and more to supercharge your remote work strategy. 

Contact us today to reserve your seat at our next webinar session, or call us for more information at (888) 307-0133. 

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