No one can deny that Zoom has been ascendant for collaboration in this video-centric world, but Microsoft Teams continues to be a go-to tool for many enterprises, which means a growing army of Mac users may need to learn how to get more done using it.

These tips should help users gets more from Teams.

Define an Urgent message

When inside a chat, click on the exclamation sign below “Type New Message” and select “Urgent” in the message options menu. This is best used sparingly, as once you create an urgent message its recipients will receive a notification that it exists every two minutes for 20 minutes; that can become annoying if abused.

Make an announcement

Another way to make messages stand out is to turn them into announcements. Tap the Format (pencil) icon and select Announcement in the new conversation drop-down menu you’ll see. You’ll be able to type a headline and add a background image or a colored background to make the announcement stand out.

Team tag to save time

Team managers can allow team members to assign specific tags to other members. So, you might have a 100-person team, with five managers — each of whom may be tagged with @manager; or you might have 24 people who work two separate (@dayshift, @nightshift) shifts. Once tagged, you – and anyone else in the team — can send a message or channel post to all the members of those groups using the tags.

Use titles, it is what they are for

When things get busy, it’s easy to lose important conversations in a sea of chat. Channels frequently carry thousands of conversations, so it’s worth taking the time to make each chat easier to find by giving each one a specific name: Project X, Enterprise Agility, Remote Working Strategy or Well-Deserved Pay Rise, for example. Not only do titles make conversations a little easier to find, but they are searchable.

To name a chat:

  • Select the chat you want to rename/name from the list;
  • Select the pencil icon and type the new chat name.

Pin those chats

Get organized by tapping the ellipsis beside the names of your most important channels and select Pin. Those channels will now appear in the pinned section at the top of your list, instead of the default order in which channels appear (based on when you added or created them).

Pinned channels can also be shuffled about – click and hold the channel name in the list and drag it around that section until it’s where you want it. (You can also hide unimportant channels by tapping the ellipsis and choosing Hide).

[Also read: You’ll get more done with these 10 Mac tips]

Forward email into Teams

Teams works well with email, with tools to forward any email into a Teams channel. Open Teams, tap the ellipsis to the right of a channel name, and choose “Get email address.” This will create an email address for that channel that you can use to forward items to it. This is as easy as using the Share to Teams button in Outlook, or creating a Zapier shortcut in Gmail, but Mail lets you automate this.

If you use Apple’s Mail, you can create a Rule to automatically send conversations to your Teams chat: Open Mail Preferences>Rules, Add Rule and give it a name. You can set up a rule with multiple requirements, so if an incoming message is from a specific person and also has a specific Subject line, or involves a mix of other requirements, the message will be auto-forwarded to your Teams chat. Or just set that chat up as a contact and manually forward email. This should be quite helpful if you want to keep your entire team in the know.

Bring external partners into your Team

COVID-19 has proven the importance of working closely with others: employees, external employees, suppliers, partners, logistics, and customers — all have something to bring. So it makes sense to invite them to join you in Teams. You can provide anyone (internal or external) with guest access that lets you include them in specific chats about projects and tag them into relevant channels to ensure everyone is up to speed.

Record Teams meetings and calls

Microsoft lets business users record Teams meetings and group calls to the cloud using Microsoft Stream. This is helpful during important conversations or long presentations, though there are some requirements and limitations as explained here.

Learn the keyboard shortcuts

It is always useful to learn keyboard shortcuts. The top three you’ll need include: Tap R to reply to a chat, Option-A to attach a file to a message and Option-/ to see all the keyboard shortcuts available to you. You can explore every available Teams shortcut here.

Use do not disturb

Tap your profile in Teams to set your status to Do Not Disturb so you can focus and get work done. Doing so is always hugely satisfying. Asynchronous work means most things can wait a little while.

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Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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