Working from home with Microsoft Teams
Updated: Sep 18, 2022
Many people will be finding themselves working from home over the coming weeks, perhaps for the first time. I shared the below tips about Micrososft Teams with some of our clients who are new to remote working, and thought it might be helpful to make these more widely available. I am by no means a Microsoft Teams expert, but I do use it on a daily basis, so these are just the things I thought may be useful to know. If you have some other tips, please do share in the comments.
What is Teams?
If you use Office 365, you probably have access to Microsoft Teams. It sits alongside Outlook, Excel, Word etc and used to be called Skype for Business or Lync. Teams allows you to:
Instant message people from your organisation
Make audio calls and conference calls through your computer (using the microphone and speakers, or you can use a headset plugged into e.g. your USB)
Make video calls and have video meetings through your computer using the camera on your laptop or a webcam
Share screens and work collaboratively
How do I access Teams?
If you have your Outlook email address and password handy, you can go to the below address to get started. In some organisations, the same password works to log onto your computer and to access your email. In others, you may have a different password for each. Its the one you use to access your emails that you need here, i.e. your Office 365 password.
You have the choice between downloading the program or accessing the browser (online) version. If you have accessed Teams before, or it is already downloaded on your computer, it may just open the application automatically.
Can I use Teams on my phone?
Yes, there is an app available that works in the same way as on your computer. You can download this from the Play Store or App Store.
How do I get started?
Once you have Teams open, the easiest way is to instant message someone from your organisation, using the Chat tab. Click the new chat icon (see screen shot below), then when the new window comes up, start typing their name, and they should appear. Then you can write a message and start chatting.
The screen shot also shows how you can then have an audio call, video call or share screens with that person. Look out for that same screen share icon when you are on an audio or video call with someone so you can start sharing your screen during calls.
If you want to have a group chat or call, you can add multiple names in at the beginning when you search for the person’s name. If you want to add an extra person after you have already started, then click the button labelled ‘add someone’ in the screenshot below.
What if I want to have a scheduled meeting on Teams?
Its even easier if you want to schedule a meeting in advance and use Teams as the place to meet. When you are setting up your meeting request in Outlook, just slide the ‘Teams Meeting’ toggle across (see screen shot below), and the meeting link will automatically be added to your meeting request.
Then when it comes to the time of the meeting, you can just click on the link in the meeting entry on your calendar, or calendar reminder. You can right click the entry on your calendar and select ‘Join Teams Meeting’, or left click the calendar entry to see more details and choose one of the Teams links as shown in the screenshot.
Can I use Teams with people outside my organisation?
This depends on your organisation’s settings, but if your organisation allows it, the easiest way is to include your external users on your meeting invite and they will be able to join in like everyone else. Depending on settings, the external users may be held in a virtual ‘lobby’ when they try to join, and you will receive a notification when you are on the call to let them in.
Why does my screen look different?
My Outlook screen shots are from the browser based version. If you use the application or mobile app, it looks slightly different, but these things are all still possible. Organisations can restrict some of these options, so you may find you can’t see some of the buttons. It is also possible for them to add in additional buttons to e.g. Outlook, so you may have extra useful features to what I have shown.
If you are new to Teams, hopefully this gives you enough information to get started. And don’t forget, you don’t have to be at home, you can use all these useful things in the office too!