Expert roundup: Empowering team communication and collaboration

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Empowering today’s anytime, anywhere workforce is more business-critical than ever. We spoke to our friends in the Microsoft community to get their expert advice on how to ensure effective communication and collaboration across your organization.

Everything we know about how teams collaborate has changed. Collaboration now happens through an integrated set of tools, not in meetings. And async communication has increased, giving people more control over when they communicate with their teams.

At the root of continuous innovation, Microsoft’s ecosystem of integrated apps, tools, and services is designed to allow all this to happen seamlessly. 

What’s important is for IT admins and their teams to have a clear strategy in place for how Microsoft 365 will evolve with their organization and support its needs.

We spoke to Microsoft MVPs to see what the experts had to say about what’s happening in the world of productivity, including what tips they could offer for effective collaboration and communication in the workplace.

On balancing collaboration and decision-making

What is collaboration? According to Microsoft, “collaboration as a team means having as little friction as possible”. Whether you’re working remotely or in a different time zone, the ability to seamlessly work together as one to reach a common goal calls for modern tools to make that happen.

The era of widespread distributed work requires new methods of virtual collaboration—and Microsoft 365’s all-inclusive productivity suite is a cost-efficient solution to accomplish that. 

When done right, collaboration can make a business and its teams stronger.

Things like having clear guidelines for how tools should be used, end-user training, and keeping self-service enabled enhance productivity and boost end-user adoption.

Antje Lamartine 1

“It’s really important for me to make sure that you don’t overwhelm the people. So whatever new is coming, whatever you want to introduce in the organization, make sure it works within the culture you have, and make sure that you don’t overwhelm people. We’re excited about all the new stuff, but not everybody necessarily is. So just make sure that you’re taking it in stride, you’re listening to your end users, and you really introduce what’s important for them.”

Antje Lamartine
Microsoft 365 Adoption and Change Management MVP (@antjelamartine)
Freese Luise 1

“The most important part is enabling hybrid work. To ensure that people who are working from home or working from elsewhere can still participate and contribute is really, really crucial.”

Luise Freese
Microsoft 365 Consultant and Office Apps & Services MVP (@LuiseFreese)

“Make sure that people are given the opportunity just to do that kind of knowledge exchange base stuff, the kind of things we used to do around the coffee machine.”

Simon Hudson
Founder of Kinata Ltd. (@simonjhudson)

On future-proofing your internal communication strategy

Communication is already a challenge in the workplace, and virtual meetings can make it harder. Each team or person will have different communication needs. You want to administer the right tools that will support the way your users work and help them stay in sync.

For example, getting users to view Teams as the hub for teamwork enables them to apply daily forms of communication–such as chat, email, and calling–to their Teams conversations and workflows in a way that can drive higher adoption.

Liz Sundet

“We have new technologies that everybody can take advantage of, including the employee experience that enables people to be able to work from home. Bringing new features into Teams that enable the entire workforce to be able to work together.”

Liz Sundet
Program Manager, Microsoft
Maarten Eekels 3

“Invest in good cameras at home, not the crappy laptop…

In the office, make sure you have proper tooling, proper team room systems in place that you can actually facilitate a hybrid meeting. I still see often that people who are dialed in are not as participating in a conversation as the people who are in the room at the office maybe.”

Maarten Eekels
Microsoft MVP and Microsoft Regional Director
Marc Anderson

“When we’re bringing people together to accomplish a specific thing based on the skills that they need, communicating out the successes or failures from that, and then disbanding and going on to form the next thing.”

Marc D Anderson
Microsoft MVP, Co-founder and President of Sympraxis Consulting (@sympmarc)
Simon 1

“I come from a SharePoint background and that’s great for collaboration around documents. It’s not great for communication in terms of conversations, chats, and that’s where Teams brings that together.”

Simon Doy
Owner of iThink365 (@simondoy)

This wraps up part two! In the next article of this series, our experts expound on Microsoft 365 governance best practices for secure collaboration.

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