How To Utilize the Collaboration Tools in Office 365
Office 365, a Cloud-based version of Microsoft Office, can offer businesses several advantages. With Office 365, email, calendar, and contacts are all synchronized to work together, and employees can have access to the applications they use most, like Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Word in the Cloud, which means they can work from anywhere-anytime. Plus, they can collaborate with their coworkers in ways that will help greatly improve your workflows. Sounds great, doesn't it?
All of the applications within Office 365 are specifically designed to help us work smarter—both individually and as a company—in new and more efficient ways. Once users become comfortable with Office 365, they will wonder how they ever worked without it. Where do I sign up?
The reality, however, is that Office 365 is more than just a set of tools; to many of us, it’s a brand-new way of working, and there is often a learning curve when it comes to employees truly utilizing all of the applications within Office 365. Quite simply: The challenge that most businesses face after rolling out Office 365 is that their employees are not using the technology for its original, intended purpose, and in turn, are not collaborating as effectively as they could.
According to Tynan Fischer, Chief Operating Officer at NH Learning Solutions Corp., “Businesses are implementing Office 365 across their entire business, thinking that it’s going to solve a very real business problem that they’ve already identified, but because the expectations weren’t properly set for the use of the software, employees are not using the product to its full capability.”
Office 365 is Designed to Increase Collaboration (When Used Properly)
There is a pretty significant increased level of collaboration within Office 365, but if the business never expresses to their employees the capabilities and features of this new software, then the employees will continue to use Word, Excel, or PowerPoint in the same way they would in a standard desktop version of Office. And when it comes to newer tools, like Skype for Business, or Microsoft Teams, they might not know where to begin. Is it entirely your employees fault? We would say no.
To get the very most out of the collaboration tools in Office 365, we encourage your team to do the following, which will serve as a great starting point on your path to success:
▸ Use the Co-Authoring Feature
Office 365 was created to help businesses collaborate more effectively. There are several ways to work together smarter, and one of the best ways to do so is by utilizing the Co-Authoring feature.
When you and your coworkers want to collaborate on an Excel file, Word document, or PowerPoint presentation, take advantage of the Co-Authoring feature within Office 365. Co-authoring is when two or more authors are working on the same document simultaneously. This will allow you to see everyone’s changes in real-time, track and document activity, and even chat with your team instantly using Skype for Business.
▸ Edit Office 365 Documents Online
You will soon learn that the core application is Office 365 are bit different than the traditional Microsoft Office applications that are installed on your local machine. With Office 365, you are essentially working and saving online, or in the Cloud, and the idea here to get used to accessing, sharing, saving, and even editing popular online applications, such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
The “Edit Document” option within your Office 365 applications is a simple and quick way to edit any of your documents that are saved in OneDrive.
▸ Utilize OneDrive
OneDrive is great for storing your own work files online, granting you access to your data from any device with an Internet connection. But did you know that instead of attaching bulky files to an email, you can use OneDrive to share Office documents, photos, other files, and entire folders with your coworkers?
Any file or folder you have stored on your OneDrive can be shared, and the files and folders you store in OneDrive are private until you decide to share them, and you can stop sharing at any time.
▸ Make Video Calls Using Skype for Business
With 70% of communication known to be non-verbal, it is no surprise that much information is missed, or is found more difficult to grasp, when engaged within an audio-only call. Facial cues, head & shoulder movements, arm gestures & “the look of confusion” are all but lost via audio.
With Skype for Business, you can hold a video call with any of your coworkers who have a webcam. Plus, Skype for Business automatically detects your devices, such as a headset, mic, speakers, and cameras.
▸ Install Office Applications on Mobile Devices
We all love the convenience of apps on our smartphones and tablets. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to get Office 365 applications installed onto your mobile device, so you could stay connected and have access to all your files no matter where you are? Well, you can!
Office 365 apps are available to download for free and use on many of your favorite mobile devices, such as an Android phone or tablet, an iPhone or iPad, as well as Windows phones and devices. Having these apps installed allows for a more user-friendly experience with your Office 365 tools, and of course, allows access to the application you need whenever you want.
▸ Share Your Outlook Calendar
In order to better schedule meetings and appointments and to also let your colleagues see exactly what you have scheduled throughout the weeks or months, you can simply share your calendar within Outlook.
When you share your calendar with coworkers, they are then able to add it directly to their calendar view in Outlook, so everyone on your team is aware of your schedule.
Some Closing Thoughts & Recommended Learning Solutions
Office 365 is created to help businesses work faster and smarter, but if your employees are unaware of the advancements, and don’t know how to incorporate them into their daily duties, how will your business ever see a return-on-investment?
No matter the preferred delivery method, New Horizons offers several learning solutions to help your business learn to truly utilize all of the collaboration tools within Office 365:
- Power Hour—Short duration, live instructor-led training sessions for your team
- NHGO NOW—On-Demand training delivered by industry experts that never leave your screen
- Quick Reference Cards (QRCS)—Digital reference tools jam-packed with up-to-date content
And, if your business is thinking about implementing Office 365, we encourage you to review one of our most highly-acclaimed webinars, "An Insider's Look at Office 365 Migration."
Best of luck out there! P.S. If you found this article interesting, helpful, or useful, please use the ‘Social Share’ buttons below and spread the word across your networks.
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