“Microsoft Teams” – A great tool to support a vibrant remote work culture
What is “Microsoft Teams”?
Microsoft Teams is a technology for communication and collaboration with others. This powerful platform lets friends, colleagues, clients, or other teammates connect by chat, video conference, file storage, and sharing.
Microsoft Teams was introduced in March 2017, as a result of Microsoft losing so many clients to Slack. Slack, one of the world’s fastest-growing tech companies, has powerful integration with Google’s G Suite, Microsoft’s main competitor.
What you will get with the free version
With the free offering of Microsoft Teams, you get unlimited chats, audio, and video calls, and 10GB of file storage for your entire team, plus 2GB of private storage for every individual. With this setup, you can communicate and collaborate with co-workers, colleagues, and any other contacts, free of charge.
If you run your own business or are part of a working party within a bigger company, you probably need somewhere to speak and collaborate with people inside and outside your organization. With Microsoft Teams’ free version, you can, without having to worry about pricey collaboration tools like Office 365 and SharePoint.
Microsoft Teams integrates with all the Office Online apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, and with around 140 business apps. Add as many as 300 people to your network of contacts, who can be inside or outside your organization.
If you’ve got an Office 365 subscription and still want to use Teams’ free version, you can simply check in with a special email address, you’ll just need one that’s registered as a Microsoft account.
Free for 6 Months to support work culture in COVID-19 period
As we’re all aware, COVID-19 has inspired the work-from-home culture more than ever before. So, Microsoft has come up with a great offer to support businesses during this hard time by making its paid version of Microsoft Teams free for 6 months, as announced by JP Courtois, Microsoft’s Executive Vice-Chairman. In a recent tweet and blog post, Courtois talked about the necessity for an option like Teams as employees increasingly work from home, especially in Asia, to safeguard against Coronavirus. The free Teams trial is part of a replacement six-month Office 365 trial for enterprises (an Office 365 E1 trial), consistent with a Microsoft representative.
It includes “full meetings, collaboration, and workflow capabilities”. Microsoft says “…our top concern is the wellbeing of our employees and supporting our customers in handling business impact during this challenging time. For many individuals and organizations, Microsoft Teams video-conferencing, chat, and collaboration is playing a crucial role in helping people still work and collaborate. By making Teams available to all or any, for free of charge for 6 months, we hope that we will support public health and safety by making remote work even easier”.
Though the free version of Microsoft Teams is remarkably full-featured, there are some differences between this and the paid offering. Key paid features include a Terabyte of storage per user (consistent with an Office 365 subscription), scheduled Teams meetings, meeting recording capabilities, phone calls and audio conferencing. However, scheduling Teams meetings for audio calls will also be permanently added to the free version of Teams on March 10, according to a Microsoft spokesman.
Clarification: a number of the paid Teams features are going to be available as a part of the free license, but not all of them.
Get started with Microsoft Teams
To get started with Teams for free of charge click here, or you can go through Microsoft’s website, or via a search engine. You can sign in or create a new account there in a few easy steps.
Microsoft Teams can be used on any platform i.e. the online web version, a desktop application for both Windows and Mac OS, and Mobile Application for both Android and IOS versions. However, the desktop version is recommended because of its amazing features and flexibility. You can download this even after the initial setup, connect from the Download Teams website and choose the version for Windows 7+ (which includes Window 10) or Mac OS X 10.10+, which allows you to use all the features for virtual meetings, like screen sharing and therefore the whiteboard.
Once you are done with the initial setup you can enjoy its super amazing features, like Create Your Organization, invite your team, and Start a Conversation, with fun features like emojis and gifs.
You can share a file from your Microsoft Teams site, from OneDrive, or your computer, with everyone on your team. If you share a Microsoft Office file such as a Word document, Excel spreadsheet, PowerPoint presentation, or OneNote notebook, everyone on the team can click on the file and modify it within the Team’s interface.
Instead of chatting with the whole team, Microsoft Teams allows you to chat privately with another person or group. It also has a built-in tool for audio and video conferencing which works when you’re using Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, or running the Windows Teams app.
By clicking on the meeting icon on the left corner of the Teams window, you can have virtual meeting options like regulating the video and audio feed, casting to a different screen, editing other settings, and ending the decision.
While Microsoft Edge and the Teams desktop application support both video and audio chats, Chrome only supports audio chats for now.
Finally, you can add and integrate different apps and services into Teams to expand its functionality. Teams can integrate with various Microsoft and third-party services, like project management apps Trello and Asana, productivity apps like Evernote and SurveyMonkey, and others like Polly, GitHub and beyond.
If you wish to get vendor-neutral advice on if MS Teams or Slack are better for your business, then please click here to book a free strategy session.
You can also contact Microsoft Office support for further information and questions about Teams.
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