6 Ways To Reduce Email Using Microsoft Teams
Whether you’re an inbox-zero “filer” or an inbox “piler,” we’re all fighting a never-ending stream of incoming emails.
While email can be a great vehicle for broad communications, team-centric and project-based communications can lead to reply-all nightmares and document sprawl. The reality is that teamwork-based communications require a more collaborative platform.
Enter: Microsoft Teams. Teams brings together chat, meetings, calls, files, notes, and tools into one centralized workspace. This notion of centralization is a key function in Microsoft Teams—it connects you with the people, content, and tools you need to do your day-to-day work, but makes it all much more easily accessible than digging through an overcrowded inbox.
Ready to get started with reducing your email and incorporating Microsoft Teams into your workflow? We’ve got 6 tips to make this platform work for you.
1. Forward emails for internal discussion using a Teams channel email address
In many project-based scenarios, emails from a vendor or client require some type of internal discussion before a reply is sent. Instead of forwarding an email to the entire team for feedback, you can forward this email to a channel in Microsoft Teams.
By forwarding an email to a relevant channel in Microsoft Teams, your entire team can view the email and provide feedback in a centralized thread.
2. Share and co-author documents in Microsoft Teams
Teamwork often requires collaboration on team or project related documents. Instead of emailing a file attachment back and forth between a group of people and tracking versions, share the document in Microsoft Teams. This allows your team to harness the power of co-authoring in the cloud. Co-authoring allows multiple users to edit a document at the same time, and by working in the cloud, everyone has access to the most up-to-date document. Even more, you can have a conversation around the document in Microsoft Teams with your teammates while you work.
3. Share meeting agendas in Teams
Unprepared attendees, lack of context, and decentralized locations for meeting materials are all dysfunctional characteristics of a modern meeting. Agendas sent via email often get buried, and when it’s time to start the meeting, users scramble to search their inboxes to locate the materials.
The solution? Teams.
4. Use group chat and “meet now” for ad-hoc conversations
Whether it’s distance due to a global pandemic or just the generally geographically dispersed modern workforce, using email to ask team members quick questions is just plain inefficient. Using group chats is a great way to run a question by coworkers, much like those in-office, desk-side chit-chats. Then again, sometimes text conversations don’t cut it, and you need to talk it out. In those instances, you can use the “meet now” feature to hop on a call and screenshare, to provide context to your conversation.
5. Use Teams and Channels for intentional collaboration
Then there’s all those team and project updates—how do you start organizing and filing those? Who do you copy? Who needs to be on the reply-all?
Microsoft Teams allows you to tune into the conversations that are important to you, instead of sorting through emails determining if it requires a response.
By posting project and team related communications in Teams, you can require the attention of certain members by using @mentions, while also providing visibility to the rest of the team if they are interested. The inherent architecture of your Teams and Channels requires communication to be “organized” in a relevant space, so if it needs to be referenced in the future, it’s accessible by the entire team, instead of buried in a folder in your inbox.
6. Work from home / OOO FYIs
Most employees are involved with multiple teams and projects at any given time, meaning multiple communications when alerting our teammates to the fact that we’re going to be out of the office.
By using Microsoft Teams, you can draft an OOO message and select “post to multiple channels,” which brings up a list of your Teams and Channels. This makes it easy to let everyone know about your availability without adding to their inboxes.
While these six tips are a great place to get started when it comes to pruning your email inbox, there’s also one final rule of thumb: if you’re drafting an email to a distribution group like sales@, marketing@, design@, this is your trigger to bring that conversation into teams!