Digital workplace
5 min read
8 March 2021

Microsoft Teams as your digital workspace?

Kelly van der Horst
microsoft teams

Some companies use Microsoft Teams as a chat or video tool and still miss the capabilities to deliver a true digital workspace. But as you might know Teams is one of the flagship products of Microsoft 365 and a lot of IT service providers and organisations have happily embraced Teams during the pandemic (over 115 million daily users). So, let's have a look on how you can transform Microsoft Teams from a simple chat solution to a true digital workspace.

How do you start your day?

Chances are big that you work in IT, Communication or HR.

What I want you to do is take a few seconds to think about the questions below from your own perception, but also from the perception of your colleagues.

What do you do to start your working day? What is the first application that you open? Is it your calendar? Is it your mailbox? Is it Microsoft Teams? Or is it a line of business application?

Note this down (mentally, digitally or on your sticky note).

What we have seen at customers is that many organisations have adapted the 'Scrum-methodology' while working from home. People start their day with a stand-up (short daily meeting to discuss their plans for the day). This has led many people to change their start of their day to open Microsoft Teams as their first application.

Great, so the answer is Microsoft Teams? Nope. While office employees have made a huge switch this isn't necessarily true for front-line workers. And front-line workers make up 80% of the global workforce. They still work like they do before and might have added Microsoft Teams to replace the shadow IT which was created with WhatsApp.

Impact of Microsoft Teams notifications on your 'productivity'

Email was seen as an interruption of your workday. With each mail notification people are distracted and have to pull their attention back to their task. Luckily, Microsoft Teams can help to reduce emails. However, it is another potential disruptor of your workday.

Quick question: Do you like switching between applications?

My guess is that you don't. Yet, people switch between applications 1,100 times a day according to a research by Pega in which they studied 5 million hours of desktop activity.

Now, there are many ways to reduce the notifications for Teams, and it is a huge help in collaboration. But it is another tool to which you probably switch to many times a day.

Imagine the impact of all these 'switches' on your focus and productivity. So, switching between applications is something you definitely want to reduce.

Transform Microsoft Teams to a digital workspace 

Just to be clear, Microsoft Teams is designed to be a collaboration tool. Its focus is on sparking collaborations between people. However, you can transform it to a digital workspace as Microsoft is very open to software vendors to create tools on top of Teams.

In this article I want to highlight three ways to transform Teams to a digital workspace by:

1. Using the Microsoft App Store

Within Microsoft Teams there is a huge catalogue of out-of-the-box integrations. The technical setup isn't usually all that hard. However, it does require you to research your organisational needs and which tools fulfil these needs.

A great thing about Microsoft Teams is that you are able to create workflows using one of the apps from the store or using Microsoft Power Automate. If you choose to go this route be prepared to have a tech-savvy team with people who are able to work with APIs. Here is a great source to develop your own Teams apps and a guide to publishing apps to Teams.

2. Contacting Microsoft Partners

If you don't have a team who is focussed on improving Microsoft Teams within your organisation it is very wise to book a consult with a Microsoft partner. This will increase your innovation speed.

All Workspace 365 partners are also Microsoft partners. A huge benefit is that these partners have helped organisations with challenges similar to yours. They have probably seen and experienced the pitfalls and can help you to prevent them (or in case you already started yourself, to overcome them).

3. Integrate Workspace 365 within Teams (easiest option)

Good news for Workspace 365 customers. You can integrate Workspace 365 and all its functionalities within Microsoft Teams. This will allow you to simplify access to all your applications, information and allows you to bring all the Micro Apps to Teams.

The goal of Workspace 365 is to conquer the complexity for people. We focus on increasing the amount of time people have for their primary task by delivering a personalised workspace that has one login to anything they need.

A huge benefit of Workspace 365 is that you can use it as the unified workspace for your organisation to create a single pane of access. Additionally, you can also integrate many of Workspace 365's features into your existing IT environment.

That being said, it doesn't matter if people start their day in the browser, their intranet, Microsoft Teams, their mobile, tablet or whatever. Wherever they start, they have a unified workspace that saves them time, reduces the amount of sign-ins, switching between applications and more.

The future of Microsoft Teams and Workspace 365

We are currently researching options to globally manage the rollout of Workspace 365 within Microsoft Teams. If this is something that you are interested in subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

Integrating your digital workspace within Microsoft Teams will boost productivity for your employees who are used to working from Teams most of their day. Additionally, we also integrate Microsoft Teams within Workspace 365.

1. Find your Teams channels

With the Microsoft Teams live tile you can easily search and access Teams channels. You can open the Teams channels using the online or local application.

2. Find and access your Teams Documents

In the live tile you are also able to open documents from the Teams channel. They will be opened using the Document App from Workspace 365. Here people will be able to easily navigate between their OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams and fileserver documents. All document storages have the same interface making it easier to use for anyone.

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